So, I’m a vegetarian. A pescetarian, really, but since all I get is confused looks when I say that, I’m a “vegetarian who eats fish.” I didn’t for a while, but a few trips to PEI (hellllllo fresh seafood!) and living a stone’s throw away the best fish and chips place on the east side turned me over to the dark side. Whoops.
I’ve been this way for, what, 6 years now? It’s just something that I’ve been doing for so long, it doesn’t seem “different” or “special.” I rarely talk about it, people usually only find out about my eating habits when we go out somewhere and I wind up asking for a caesar salad with no bacon. The proceeding conversation is a little predictable, so I’ll offer some advice for those of you who have never met one of us.
Top ten worst things people say when I reveal my eating habits:
1. “Oh, that’s cool. Would you mind if I order a steak? That wouldn’t bother you, right?” The person who’s asking isn’t really at fault, who’s at fault is either whatever crazy judgemental vegetarian they have come across in the past, or the stereotypes they’ve seen. I hate using the goddamn word “vegetarian” because it conjures up images of some crazy, unshaven, ratty-haired hippy who talks about rainbows and throws red paint on people. Thanks, Hollywood. General rule: Don’t judge my food choices, and I won’t judge yours. Unless you’re eating babies, then, well, I’ll say something.
2. “Why did you become a vegetarian?” I usually just brush this off, sorry. I was 14 when I made the decision, I can’t even remember. Fluffy cute animals are too cute to eat? Probably. Let’s not get into an ethics conversation that inevitably catches the attention of some meat-head at the next table who decides to tell me how delicious his steak is. Charming.
3. “Do you eat eggs?” DID I SAY VEGAN?
4. “I’ll make you some tofu when you come over.” Yes, because that is the only non-meat product in existence. Thanks. I’m perfectly fine with some salad and potatoes for dinner, and hey, guess what, they’re vegetarian!
5. “I could never be a vegetarian! I love meat too much!” Is this supposed to compliment my self-control, or what? It’s really not all that hard, trust me.
None of you mean any harm, I realize. There are definitely worse things you could say! I’m quite the quiet vegetarian. I bring my own veggie burgers to barbecues, I don’t request any special meals to be made for me, and I don’t care what you eat in front of me. I even find Epic Meal Time hilarious, despite that they cover everything in mounds of bacon.
I would like to include a public service announcement: Thinking of cutting meat out of your diet? Great! Shut up about it! There is a time and a place for talking about your dietary choices, and spitting at uncle Joe for eating turkey on Thanksgiving is not one of them. You’re just making life harder for the non-confrontational vegetarians that have to battle your stereotypes daily. Thank you.