So you’re out on a date with the cutie from your history class. You order a steak. He/she orders the vegetable pasta. You ask if he/she eats meat and he/she says no. Do you:
A. say, “that’s cool,” and resume your previous conversation
B. ask why and have a civil discussion about regarding the pros and cons of vegetarianism
C. spend the rest of the night trying to convince he/she that meat is SO TASTY and you just CANNOT UNDERSTAND why anyone would give it up and animals were put here on earth for humans anyway and you KILL vegetables when you eat them so why is it ok to eat them?
If you answered C, then congratulations! You are just like the majority of people I meet here in San Luis Obispo.
I’ve been a vegetarian for seven years. I’ve never once regretted the decision to give up meat, nor do I ever plan on eating meat again. I don’t talk about my decision unless asked, and oftentimes people don’t know I don’t eat meat until several weeks or months after we’ve been friends, when they start wondering why I never get a hamburger or pepperoni pizza.
(For the record, I gave up eating meat because I believe as humans, we have other options to nourish ourselves without killing animals, and thus it is wrong to kill them for food.)
I don’t broadcast my beliefs. So why then does everyone insist on grilling me about my choice, then telling me exactly why I am wrong for making it?
I mean, I’d understand it if whenever my roommate ate a turkey sandwich I asked, “So how does the rotting flesh of a once-live being taste today?” or passed around color photos of slaughtered animals while out to dinner at Firestone.
But I don’t. For example, I was at a barbecue last year when the guy at the grill asked me what I’d like. I asked for a veggie burger, and another guy nearby whom I’d been chatting with earlier asked me why not a real burger. Once I explained, he nearly died from shock (perhaps his heart couldn’t take all the red meat he’d been eating?).
Once recovered, he proceeded to spend the entire night telling me how dumb I was for not eating meat, and trying to convince me to eat a burger. Sorry dude, it would take a lot more than a drunk, argumentative recreation major to get me to eat my first burger in seven years. You aren’t that special.
But it’s not just random people who badger me. It’s my friends too. Invariably, the subject comes up every time we go out to eat. And since we go out to eat several times a week, it gets very tiring. I mean, I can joke about eating cute little penguins with the best of them. But after a couple of weeks or so of continuous ribbing, it just begins to sound desperate. If you have to constantly prove that eating meat is morally right, you aren’t trying to prove it to me, you’re trying to prove it to yourself.
So basically, I understand most people eat meat, and I accept that. I don’t rag on you for eating a once-adorable, brown-eyed cow named Bessie, so please just extend the same courtesy to vegetarians.
Moral of the story: on Thursday, when out to dinner with your Valentine, go ahead and order the steak and just don’t ask about your date’s reason for choosing the vegetable pasta. If you absolutely must ask, consult my article, and please please please choose A or B from the handy quiz I’ve provided. You can thank me Friday morning.
Rachel Glas is a journalism junior and a Mustang Daily reporter.