Twenty years ago, I became a vegetarian at the age of 10. Over the years, whether at school, work, or a party, my diet has come up in conversation, and people often say the same things to me about it. Here is a list of the top 10 things I would love to stop hearing:
1. “Don’t you miss meat?”
I wasn’t kidnapped and forced into vegetarianism like some weirdo cult. I miss being able to look at menus in full, sure, but I certainly don’t miss eating meat. That’s why I dedicated my life to avoiding meat, which is why we’re having this conversation in the first place. Keep up.
2. “I could never give up meat. It’s so delicious.”
Then don’t. Did you think you’d be forced to take on my lifestyle? I’m aware that meat is terrific to eat. Almost every restaurant seems to serve it. But I have plenty of delicious vegetarian options that I can choose from, thank you very much.
3. “But that’s why animals are here.”
Ok, I’d rather not start a conversation which more or less begins with the premise that you are playing the role of God. I don’t think animals were put here to be corralled, thrown into a shredder, and then have their severed bodies served up like edible inanimate objects. How about we just talk about the weather?
4. “Would you eat meat if…?”
We’re not in a game show. This set of beliefs is the closest thing I have to a religion. Does your Meat Militia award you a medal for every vegetarian you get to admit they’d eat meat in a hypothetical? You know, if we were stranded in the mountains, I’d eat you before some animal (by the way, is that why you haven’t invited me out hiking lately?). At least the animal won’t ask me dumb questions.
5. “How is it all that different from eating plants?”
This one takes some gusto to ask because it makes me think you have a learning disability. Have you ever looked at a head of lettuce and a cow and thought, “Oh, they’re practically the same thing?” Do you really feel sorry for those “poor onions”? Look at the image below and tell me if you really think that eating what’s in there is the same as eating a steak.
6. “What would you do if I tricked you into eating meat?”
Honestly, we’d stop being friends. I’m not kidding. That’s the end. Also, what kind of casual lunatic threat is this? What sort of oddball villainous crap are you into?
7. “How do you get protein?”
Dude, meat is not the only source of protein in the world. I’m 6’4”. I obviously figured out how to get protein. Even if this is an honest question, you have to assume that in the thousands of meals I’ve had in my life since I’ve become a vegetarian, I’ve mastered the art of getting protein. It’s about as easy as learning how to ride a bike.
8. “As long as you’re not a vegan. Ugh.”
Meat-eaters, as a whole, are way more “this should be your lifestyle” than vegans. I’ve had too many conversations with carnivores where, within minutes, they complain about the preachiness of vegans and then lecture me about vegetarianism. Your lack of self-awareness is disturbing.
9. “We can’t go there because of the vegetarian." eye roll
First off, it’s 2015. I can find a tasty salad almost anywhere, and it’s likely they have several dishes dedicated to vegetarians anyway. Secondly, that restaurant isn’t going anywhere. You can probably eat there another night.
10. “There’s meat in it!" snicker
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve heard this joke regularly since the '90s. “Don’t eat that bread. It has meat in it!” Oh, damn, did some edgy comedian just step into the room with a joke that entire playgrounds used to make? While you’re at it, why don’t you tell me why the chicken crossed the road.