- So, do you eat chicken?
- You know that’s why you’re so pale, right?
- How do you live without bacon?
- Do you cook meat for your husband?
The above are examples of common questions I get upon announcing that I am a vegetarian. After being meat free for almost 23 years, I’ve developed fairly concise answers for most of these.
- Um, no. Chicken is meat.
- Riiiiight…if I ate meat, I’d be lusciously tan like all of those other green-eyed redheads.
- Quite easily, thanks. I can barely stand the smell of it.
- No. Also, please note that the next person who then turns to my husband and expresses their condolences to him is liable to have silken-soft tofu hurled at them. Believe me, my husband is fine.
- This last question, which is the one I get most often, requires a bit more of an in-depth answer. When asking, some people are simply curious. Others have kicked around the idea of going veggie and like to hear about people’s reasons for doing so themselves. Then there’s the set that only seem to ask so that they can defend their own meat-eating practices and assume I judge them to be morally inferior because they consume poor, defenseless animals. Now, I’ll admit that there are some militant vegetarians out there, and some animal rights organizations have pulled stunts that have, unfortunately, caused vegetarians to, in the minds of many, be lumped into the category of extremist wackadoodles. However, I am not one of those vegetarians. What’s odd to me is the way some people take my choice not to eat meat as some sort of statement about all the other meat eaters of the world. They seem almost disappointed when I announce my main reason for abstaining: I don’t like meat. I know, I know, this is so rude of me because it takes all the fun out of taunting me about all the delicious beef I’m missing. To put a finer point on why I don’t eat meat, I don’t like the taste, smell, or texture. I also don’t like the idea of eating something that was recently walking, swimming, hopping, slithering, or flying around, but again, that’s just my preference.
I’m happy to offer advice about going vegetarian to anyone who wants it, but I’m not out to convert anyone. I don’t attempt to force vegetarian diets upon my cats, and I don’t berate my husband when he grills a steak or orders rack of lamb. Okay, I’ll admit I did say something about whether the kangaroo meat he had when we were in Australia tasted cute, but that was a one-time thing and we had just been up close and personal with live kangaroos.
When it really comes down to it, being a vegetarian is simply what feels right for me, and I recognize it’s not for everyone. As a friend of mine put it after leaning that I dislike bacon, “Wow, maybe you really were meant to be a vegetarian.”