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Why Gay Men Love to Brunch

It's not just about the mimosas. No place else offers such stylish socializing.
By Todd Johnson |
illustration by Jonathan Carlson

For weeks, our editorial team brunched, munched, and debated which restaurants serve the best brunches in Dallas. But beyond whose French toast was the most manifique and which bacon was da (fat) bomb, one thing became clear: brunch is the gayest meal of the week. Our dining editor asked during one particularly contentious meeting, “Why is it that 80 percent of the people who I’ve seen at brunch are gay men?” The question was directed at me, the lone gay in the D Magazine village and, apparently, the resident expert on “the love that dare not speak its name.”

I hadn’t ever thought about it in those terms, but the question was a good one. Yes, brunch is gay. No, not the “gay” of schoolyard taunts nor the “gay” of rainbow-clad pride parades. But gay men do love to brunch. But as for why, I was stumped. So I gathered some friends at one of our favorite restaurants one Sunday to hold a focus group. After spirited discussion—and by spirited I mean fueled by Bloody Marys—I concluded the following:

1. Brunch is effortlessly stylish. Breakfast is for the everyman. Dinner can be showy. But brunch has a casual elegance to it. It’s a challenge. You don’t don your Barneys best for brunch, but it certainly deserves more than shorts, flips-flops, and a t-shirt. Unless said t-shirt is a Givenchy ribbed tank, though not in blue curacao because that was so summer 2011.

2. At brunch, carbs are not only consumed but encouraged. Many a six-packed gay man will push away the bread basket at dinner so as not to be judged by his fellow gym comrades (also referred to as “read for filth” in the Official Gay Handbook, volume four). But take that same bread, griddle it in a Madagascar vanilla-kumquat gastrique, and top it with something—anything—confited, and suddenly it’s to hell with the skinny jeans and hello, elastic waistband.

3. Brunch is the most social of meals. At dinner, you make a reservation for perhaps four people at the most, and that’s all you bring. But that brunch reservation for 10 that somehow morphed into an unexpected gaggle of 20? Yeah, that’s me and my friends. Of course, we’ll be happy to wait at the bar for our table. More than happy.

4. Brunch is not for children. You can bring kids to brunch, but they won’t like it. First, kids can’t wait till 11 o’clock (or later) to eat their first meal of the day. Second, kids don’t like to linger, and brunch is all about taking your time. A good brunch takes an hour and a half, minimum. Most kids have trouble sitting still longer than 30 minutes. Oh, and to state the obvious: most gay men aren’t encumbered by children.

5. Brunch and cocktails are synonymous. Let’s not mince words: gay men like to drink. At brunch, cocktails are poured into slender flutes and come in a kaleidoscope of colors adorned with fruit, parasols, sparklers, and other ridiculous accessories. At dinner, no gay man would be caught dead ordering such a drink. But at brunch? They let down their guard and indulge their inner divas. And if the drink is named something silly like a Sassy Slingback? Why, yes, we’d like another round, please. Or, as my own partner, whose gayety is exceeded only by his sage wisdom, put it: “Two words: bottomless mimosas.”

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