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May 11 2009

Spinster aunt suffers bilious post-Mother’s Day aftermath

Mother's Day 2009

Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet ’09: How weak are the University of Texas Golf Club mimosas? I had to give the kid like 4 of’em before she would consent to pose with cherry-eyes. Photo by Tidy Faster.

Another Mother’s Day come and gone. It seems like only yesterday.

It will cause no one’s world to come crashing down around them when I aver that Mother’s Day is like a poke in the lobe with a prickly probe. It’s insipid and sentimental and highlights like no other fake holiday the line of demarcation between the Judeo-Christian heterosexes.

O, Mother dear! We love you so much we can only express it through this Hallmark card! Oh, and where are our clean socks?

And it practically goes without saying that any event involving a mandatory brunch buffet deserves the stink-eye.

Why does it always have to be a brunch buffet? Brunch is an aberrant, grotesquely heavy meal, and the buffet is the worst mediocre-food-delivery-system ever invented. Buffets! They’re worse than cafeterias! Not only do you have to crowd up for the grub like a waif in a Victorian orphanage, but the potential pathogen load multiplies exponentially when there are no dedicated servers dishing the crap out. Anybody might sneeze up a loogey into the vat of Chicken Core D’onbloo, and who’d be the wiser? Mysterious food items with heavy sauces hardening in chafing dishes, 10-year-old boys scooping up the crab claws with their bare hands, horrid mixtures of orange juice concentrate and warmish $5 Asti Spumante with maraschino cherries — euruhhgh. I mean it.

It is indicative of the low value placed on American motherhood that Mother’s Day is the only fake holiday where crappy, artery-clogging, self-service food, “complimentary” cheap mimosas, and a few brown-edged roses are considered the ultimate expression of filial gratitude.

39 comments

  1. Montag

    “Why does it always have to be a brunch buffet? Brunch is an aberrant, grotesquely heavy meal, and the buffet is the worst mediocre-food-delivery-system ever invented.”

    Classic. LOL.

  2. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    What, none of your usual chi-chi princess-and-pea fare? Horrors!

    My own mom shuffled off this mortal coil lo these 11 years gone by and I still miss her. She unintentionally sprinkled oddments of feminism throughout my life (“Little girls don’t need dolls with boobs like that”). It was hard for her to comprehend the idea that I never wanted a husband, but she didn’t give me an overload of grief or guilt about it.

  3. Notorious Ph.D.

    You know, there is photo-editing software that can take care of the red-eye problem that you seem to have there.

  4. slownews

    Heather Havrilesky over at Salon (I know) has the perfect Mother’s Day send up. Thank the goddesses for her. My mom never made a big deal out of the holiday, so I’m at sea just as I am for religion (I was raised WASP agnostic). All I really want is a “happy mother’s day” and not to cook and clean up meals *entirely by myself.* Well, I got the one. Maybe next year. But you know what? Pizza places get your order delivered really fast on Mother’s Day.

  5. Lexie

    Well, Happy Mother’s Day to me. I was set to get married on July 1st. And I unexpectedly (used BC!) got pregnant in March. I got dumped by my fiance via email. Email!

    And I note this here because a) Twisty said long ago that when the kids come, the gloves come off; and b) when I said something about my fiance not understanding some such about strippers a long while back Twisty told me to dump him, and c) I should have listened to Twisty.

    (Oh, and d) I’m suing his ass for all he’s worth.)

  6. Twisty

    I got dumped by my fiance via email. Email!

    What an asshole!

  7. Chocolate Tort

    And I thought it was bad that I’ve been dumped over the phone by boyfriends a few times now. I maintain that that’s pretty shameful on its own, but being dumped by one’s fiance over email is completely disgusting.

    This strikes me as an egregious example of the way the P dehumanizes people. I’ve only had this experience with men, but I imagine women have done the same; it doesn’t just afflict men because it’s such a widespread societal illness. It’s incredible to consider how people consider even their (avowed) loved ones as things or inferior beings who do not even merit a face-to-face conversation about something as momentous as a break-up. When it’s done by email especially, it comes off as a very one-sided decision instead of something that occurs between two equal human beings.

    Sure, there’s an element of being scared and of wanting to avoid seeing another’s pain (or of wanting to avoid making a scene), but I think that if people had a stronger idea of what it meant to love somebody, they would realize that rational human beings deserve a rational discussion about this kind of thing. Of course, this doesn’t apply if there’s actual danger involved, like a woman leaving an abusive relationship.

    This sounds like a very sweeping statement to make, so I’m not sure how much I believe it. I’m rambling, just thinking aloud (a-type?).

  8. goblinbee

    You are going to the wrong brunches. Some of them are DEE-licious. I recommend the Sundance Sunday brunch up Provo Canyon, Provo, Utah. I miss it.

  9. Jezebella

    I once dumped someone by email because I didn’t want to have to drive 3 hours to do it, nor did I feel it was fair to ask him to drive that far just to get dumped. However, we were not engaged, and he was a giant-baby jerk, and I probably would have been a lot meaner on the phone, whereas I was able to be reasonably gentle via email. I suppose I could’ve written it on paper and mailed it, but would that be any better? People used to break up by mail all the time.

    That said: dumping your *pregnant fiancee* by email is unconscionable.

  10. Nolabelfits

    Lexie,
    Get what you can and count your blessings on him dumping you. You are less likely to be sentenced to 30 years of domestic servitude without his self-righteous and priveleged ass hanging around guilt tripping you on how hard it is to be the primary breadwhiner.

  11. VinaigretteGirl

    Lexie, you should get a decent whack of money based on past caselaw, and then you can raise your kid without having to “consult” (“capitulate”) about raising the child to be a feminist. I hope for you that you have or can find a good network of real-time support when the birth is over and it’s Sleep Deprivation/Mummy Vulnerability time; I’m sure some of us would like to come over to help. I’m in the UK so it’s a long haul, doggone it… but stay in touch is that’s OK with Twisty…

    I throw my shoe at your ex, I taunt him, and I break wind in his general direction. his father smells of elderflowers and he himself sleeps in a wet bed.

  12. Magdalena

    Chocolate Tort,

    Thanks for the words about breakups. They make quite a bit of sense to me as I prepare to face the prospect of breaking up with current Nigel, but wishing to do it with grace, peace, and a minimum of humiliation, hurt, and bad feelings on BOTH sides.

  13. Notorious Ph.D.

    Two exes ago, I was dumped by e-mail. This most recent time, it was on an expensive visit to the undesirable location across the country where he lives. I’m not sure which is worse, but face it, there’s no good way to be dumped.

    That said, Lexie’s ex is a tool. No, strike that: tools are at least useful.

  14. another voice

    Your description of buffets most clearly communicates all of my problems with them. It was also so funny it made me snort.

    However, knowing that brunch and buffet are connected at times, they need not be. I submit that you are clearly eating the wrong brunch. Well done brunches with mimosas that are drinkable (preferably made at home) can be lovely meals, especially after a Sunday morning long run.

    Lexie’s ex is an asshat, and I wish her luck finding a community of family, friends, co-workers, and what-have-you to support her in raising the forthcoming small person.

  15. KMTBERRY

    Lexie: I hope you get a million Bux. Seriously.

    Twisty: I Lurve You. This is the best Food Reportage on The Buffet I have ever read.

    I have never been to a buffet I would go to again, and they make me wonder if White People™ can taste food, or only see it visually. Because every buffet I have ever been to in (more or less) Exclusive! White! Rich! People! Only! settings have been visually gorgeous piles of tasteless, flavorless…foodlike substances.

    Honestly, hillbilly church suppers in rural West Virginia attended exclusively by diabetic octogenarians who have forgotten how to cook have better food than your average fancy-schmancy buffet!

  16. pheenobarbidoll

    I guess brunch is out of my financial social circle, because I’ve never been to brunch. Not even Mother’s Day. Yesterday I got my mother the obligatory card (always funny ones…she likes those) a new purse so that she can carry her pharmacy with her and not have to leave some meds at home while she’s at work, and finally, planted about 50 flowers and small shrubs so she can have her front lawn looking nice. And now it’s going to thunderstorm and I’m considering throwing myself bodily over the plants so they don’t get hammered.

  17. pheenobarbidoll

    Crap. I used ellipses.

  18. dr. fantastic

    I spent Mother’s day morn at a golf club too, but I never, ever, thought Twisty would share the same fate.

  19. SargassoSea

    Mother’s Day Buffets are especially egregious when said mother has to work said buffet at the Major. League. Baseball. VIP. Club where other, wealthier mothers get to (ahem) en-joy the game, and their cheap mimosas, with thier husbands and boyfriends!

  20. la sooz

    Oh I love I love it. You expressed so eloquently how I feel about Mother’s Day: A Load of Crap. Well I might be projecting a bit. If I see one more ad in the paper to the tune of “Give Mom a well-deserved night out of the kitchen! Bring her to (insert mediocre local Italian restaurant here) and thank her for all she does for the family!!”–I am going to punch the Patriarchy in the throat.

  21. Rainbow Girl

    All power to you, Lexie. Your kid will benefit from your anti-patriarchy acumen, and from not being exposed to that jackass.

  22. Kate Dino

    Twisty and niece look like the button-eyed characters from “Coraline” with the cherries in their eyes. This could be a direct consequence of eating the food at a mother’s day brunch, sort of like eating what they give you in Hades.

  23. virago

    “You expressed so eloquently how I feel about Mother’s Day: A Load of Crap.”

    A bigger load of crap is Father’s Day. My biological father was a night mare to live with. That said, I always gave my mother cards for both Mother’s Day AND Father’s Day. She was a single mother, and she did a great job without my father to hold her back. Dad use to get pissed when he found out that his Father’s Day card went to Mom. I stopped giving him Father’s Day cards by the time I was a teenager, and he could never figure out why, or if I tried to point out what a rotten job he did as a father, he was in complete denial.
    Well, he reaped what he sowed, that’s for sure.

  24. slythwolf

    I can top an email dumping. I got dumped on a public message board. By my rapist.

  25. larkspur

    slythwolf, OMG. But is this a matter of being dumped, or is it more like having one’s bow shot across? This is horrible.

    In any case, I am old and without issue (heh, I like this, it is funny, because I have so many issues, but legally, I am without issue, so I am the ultimate free agent) so would you like me to kill this public message board rapist dump-creature?

    Secondly: brunch is good, as long as no person or circumstance tries to force you into having breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well. This happens sometimes when in-laws are involved, but I am a spinster, so no worries. Buffet anything is not approved of by moi because I am too lower-middle-class, and I am driven to get my money’s worth even if my stomach explodes, so no thank you.

    Thirdly: Lexie, I will babysit. But not if I have to travel by aeroplane.

    Fourthly: on Saturday (Mother’s Day Eve!) I was at the grocery store with a dozen items or so, and a guy came up to the check-stand, right behind me, and he had one (1) item, so I said, “Hey, go ahead of me”, and O my paws and whiskers, this man looked at me like he was afraid I was an hallucination, and he said, “Really? Do you mean it?” and I’m all, yes, of course, you have one item, hello, so he went ahead of me, and thanked me a bunch of times. After he paid, on his way out of the store, he thanked me again, and wished me a happy mother’s day.

    Readers, I killed him.

    Hee, of course I didn’t. I just smiled and said thank you. He was being nice. And being accused of motherhood is hardly an insult.

  26. thebewilderness

    “I throw my shoe at your ex, I taunt him, and I break wind in his general direction. his father smells of elderflowers and he himself sleeps in a wet bed.”

    Seconded!

  27. Spiders

    Mother’s Day really is the most vile faux-appreciation day ever. Brunch doesn’t begin to make up for the disadvantages that motherhood brings.
    The people I gave birth to would never dare even mention it let alone suggest anything remotely brunch-like.

  28. scatterplot

    Apparently Mothers’ Day was originally less about brunch and more about protesting the civil war…
    http://www.peace.ca/mothersdayproclamation.htm

  29. speedbudget

    From what I can find, it was started by Anna Jarvis, who got pissed about the commercialization and got arrested a couple times for disturbing the piece. History here.

    I can get behind a pissed-off female holiday.

    Lexie, you are much better off without the fucker. I have been dumped by email, and while it sucked, I thought to myself, if he’s that much of a wuss that he can’t call me, why do I want him around? I would spend the rest of my life catering to his every need, if I were that kind of person. But I’m not, which is probably why he dumped me.

    It honestly, deeply surprises me that any woman would want to have some dude around all the time, let alone living with her. I am big on the duplex idea, or the idea of having a boyfriend in the next town over. That way, you don’t have to put up with his shit and it’s easier to jettison him when you start to realize what a jerk he really is.

    I would offer to babysit, but I tend to make babies cry. I would, however, love to come over and cook you dinner and we could get drunk and deface photos of your ex.

  30. Other Liz

    I’m sorry, but you’re all spelling it wrong.

    Twisty’s neice looks like BUFFY.

  31. larkspur

    I like to think about Marion Zimmer Bradley. She and her husband lived in separate houses on the same street. His step-daughters lived with her, and obviously there was a constant back-and-forth, but separate dwellings, first and foremost because, said Bradley, he was a morning person and she was a night person.

    I’ve been reading Temple Grandin’s newest book, Animals Make Us Human, and she mentions a discovery humans made with regard to cheetahs in captivity. They were diligently trying to improve the animals’ welfare, and hoped the male and female cheetahs would mate and produce offspring and not go all extinct and everything.

    So they had the traditional arrangement: one man-cheetah and one woman-cheetah, as it’s been since time immemorial. Except, oh well, not really.

    Closer observation of the habits of unincarcerated cheetahs revealed that while they cheerfully mated at the appropriate times, they were uncomfortable with the monogamous heterosexual standard set-up (also they hate cul-de-sacs and station wagons), and the female cheetahs in particular preferred to hang out with their girlfriends most of the time. Thus the ensuing baby cheetah boom. Anyway, on Mother’s Day, cheetah moms mostly (and carefully) high-four each other.

    (Most of the preceding is true. The way you can tell is by the degree of silliness.)

  32. Roving Thundercloud

    I always thought cheetahs looked like they thought themselves clever.

    The only brunch I will go to is at the Multnomah Falls Lodge (salmon in brown sugar glaze, OMG) but never, never on a Mother’s Day.

  33. givesgoodemail

    Mother’s Day is just one more Hallmark travesty as well as a not-so-subtle Patriarchal tool. (Since we’ve got every *other* damned “Day” now, I’m waiting for Ex-Spouse Day to rear its hideous head.)

    As to buffets, well, re-reading the Twister’s old blog entries about her Early Adventures in Austin Food makes the idea of buffets even more dreadful and MSG-laden than they already are.

  34. Bird

    I hid in the house all day on Mother’s Day. My mother died a few weeks ago after seven years of struggling with brain cancer, and a saccharine-sweet holiday was the last thing I wanted to face. After recently writing a eulogy talking about how much my mother really meant to me, the sickly Hallmark sentiments of the day were just too much to bear.

    And women, I am so tired of hearing the whole “women’s work is never done!” trope cheerily toasted in early May. Really, if we all realize at least once a year that mothers work their asses off, perhaps that might spur us to do something about it rather than buying her a shitty meal out of guilt and then dumping all the work back in her lap as soon as possible?

    I used to work at those brunches at the golf course (my college student job was serving food to rich people) and I cannot count the number of mothers who spent the entire time chasing their kids around and wiping the baby’s puke off their dresses. Those women looked like they would have been far better served by having their idiot partners pitch in their share on the childcare front rather than a mountain of crab legs and mimosas that they probably wouldn’t even have time to eat.

  35. larkspur

    Bird, my condolences. That is very hard.

    And OMG just stop it with the Special Days on which the women have to work even harder. Way back in my memory banks somewhere, I seem to recall that on the occasion of one International Women’s Day, the City of Berkeley, California (or possibly it was just UC Berkeley) declared it a holiday to be celebrated by giving children the day off of school, thereby forcing thousands of women to not only hold up half the sky, but scurry around for alternative child-care as well.

    I often wish I had super-powers, even if they were kind of limited in scope. One gift that would always be in my Magic Bag o’ Tricks is the Four Free Hours. That’s where I give someone a secret pocket of four hours for R&R, to take a nap, go for a hike, go swimming, read a book, whatever, except it’s magic time that no one else knows about and that affects only the recipient. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to use the time washing the dishes, but if that’s truly what she wanted to do, and it would materially reduce her stress levels, I would frown – lovingly – and say, go ahead, it’s your gift.

  36. Casey

    Twisty, thank you. I told my guys that for Mother’s Day this year I wanted to live like a dude — wandering through messes that surely someone else would clean up, just doing my own thing while they ran the household. They were exhausted by Sunday evening. I felt fine.

    Lexie, you’re way, way better off without that guy. And so is your kid-to-be.

    Bird, so sorry. Holidays are cruel when you’re grieving.

    I got dumped once by a guy who went camping and never came back. Well, okay, he came back, but I had to find out from his roommate, after a week of worrying about him and imagining him dying in the desert, that he had slunk back to town and moved into a house with his other (surprise!) girlfriend. I have yet to find a pejorative to adequately describe such behavior.

  37. speedbudget

    Bird: So sorry about your loss. Words are inadequate.

    Casey: hahahahaha! I thought I was the only one who had something like that happen. I’ve also had a boyfriend who literally left the country. I had one disappear off the face of the map. I had a guy who just stopped talking to me. To my face, too.

    That was all in my twenties. I don’t take that crap now. Which is why I’m single.

  38. Edward, the mad shirt grinder

    Just wanted to drop in to state that I wish my daughter (from the looks of it, about the same age as the niece above) had a spinster aunt with whom to take silly pictures at lame brunches.

  39. Gnatalby

    Twisty, I’m working my way backward through your site, having dropped by a time or two, and now being in a place where I really want to dig in.

    I did want to second scatterplot, Mother’s Day was started by feminist (and Unitarian hero) Julia Ward Howe as Mothers for Peace Day, in reaction to the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian war.

    Yeah, it got all hallmark tarted up, but at its root it’s totally there for feminist and activist reclamation.

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