Coming out Vegetarian !
For a practicing vegetarian or vegan it is hard to know when exactly you should share your dietary ethics with a potential mate. It starts with that first dinner. As you hover over the menu you begin to wonder if you should tell your date or not. You’re afraid of their reaction so you keep it quiet and order a salad. The more dates you go on the harder it is to admit it. But you have to bring it up at some point, hopefully before they are brining you a breakfast in bed featuring bacon, ham and eggs. There is a fear that if you bring it up too early they’ll dismiss you before getting to know you. Wait to long and it seems like you were keeping it secret. What are we supposed to do?
Veggies have a bad reputation in the popular media. Often times we are depicted as being humorless hippies or unhinged radicals. I’ve had more then a few dates go sour once I “came out”. I could tell they became nervous, afraid that I was judging them because they ordered fish. I made my decision to give up meat out of ethical and environmental concerns but I don’t judge people who do not make the same choice. One particularly spectacular date resulted in the guy beginning to argue with me that I was a hypocrite because I still ate eggs and dairy products, which was odd since he was in the middle of eating veal Marcella. More common have been the guys who start asking me a long list of questions about what I do and don’t eat.
“How about shrimp?” No. That’s meat.
“Clams?” Again, no.
“What about sushi? Is sushi meat?”
It is a little scary how little some people know, or think, about what they put into their bodies. I’m sure that the conversations are even more difficult for vegans who give up all animal products. A vegan friend of mine recounted a story where she had to explain to a guy that cheese is actually made from milk. He apparently was under the belief that there were Cheddar Trees somewhere in Wisconsin.
But after all these bad incidents I’ve learned that the best way to disclose your vegetarian lifestyle is to make is a non-issue. Instead of having some grand pronouncement just slip it into the conversation, for example, you could ask the waiter to highlight any special meatless dishes for you. Where the conversation goes from there is up to your date to ask any questions he has. This works out well since you are addressing their concerns directly instead of overwhelming them with your entire conversion story.
One of the questions they are likely to ask is about why you made to choice to give up animal products. Answer honestly, but try to be as neutral as possible. If your choice was prompted by concerns over mad cow disease and other disease found in tainted meat it might be better to phrase it as “food safety” concerns instead of getting into the details, especially if your date ordered a hamburger. If your concern is environmental you can simply present the unbiased facts, that cattle farming is high inefficient and leads to an increase in greenhouse gases. But it is important that you don’t lie or minimize your true feelings. If you really believe that eating meat is a barbaric practice then there is no point to you dating a meat eater with the hopes of converting them. How would you feel if the situation was reversed and your boyfriend or girlfriend was constantly trying to convince you to eat meat?
Like anything in the dating world the key is to be yourself. If you feel self conscious about your choice to be a vegetarian then that will show through to your date. And if you find yourself being rejected because of your diet choices don’t take it personally. Would you really want to be with a person who cares more about what you eat then who you are?
Author :Judy Porter