An obvious disclaimer here is that I can’t speak for all vegetarians as a whole. But it’s been well over 5 years since I’ve ditched meat, and noticed a few things people commonly assume about me. The following are only a handful of the most problematic ones:
1) You assume I’m some sort of self-righteous animal rights activist.
Sadly, I’m not. I know a lot of vegetarians who would instantly get up in arms about this, because a lot do really care about animal rights. But the reality is that I don’t eat meat because I don’t like it. Sure, it’s ultimately the concept of biting into animal flesh that grosses me out…but for whatever reason I’m able to eat milk, eggs, cheese, and a bunch of other stuff without giving much of a second thought to the process behind it.
I think we’ve all come across one of “those” types of vegetarians, who love to preach and condemn. And I shouldn’t be too hard on them, because it’s good to be passionate about your cause I suppose. But it also sometimes gives us a bad rap, and people are so defensive with me before they even get to know me (more on this below). Some of us might like to talk about our choice but keep in mind that there are also a lot of us who would love it if our vegetarianism could just, like, not be a big deal. I find it somehow always ends up being the focus of conversation at meal times, and I hate being the center of attention because of it.
2) You think I’m offended and/or disgusted when you eat meat in front of me.
This makes me sad. I would never want to make someone feel guilty about what they are eating. Would I appreciate it if a vegan told me I was a monster for eating cheese? Or if someone else gave me crap for not buying local, or because all my stuff isn’t organic? Probably not. People always give me this apologetic, sheepish look right before they bite into their steak. And I know that they are about to launch into a speech about how they “don’t really eat that much meat” or how they are “trying to cut down”. Sometimes they proceed to tell me about some other socially/environmentally conscious thing that they do to make up for it. Like I care? Trust me…most of us aren’t judging you like you think we are.
And I would have to say that it’s also a bit aggravating, because it’s exhausting trying to have people “one up” you, because they are projecting their insecurities on you. I’m utterly baffled at how people love to try and find something to call me out on, even people I have just met! Whenever someone finds out I don’t eat meat I am bombarded with: “But do you wear leather?”, “I bet you eat gelatin!”, or “How do you know that wasn’t made with chicken broth”? Please knock it off.
3) You think I’m making a huge sacrifice
I’m not a martyr. Or a person who has an abundance of self-control. So I’m going to re-iterate the point I have already made. I *do not* like meat. It’s really easy for me to not eat it. I get that other people love it. That’s cool. But maybe you can stop waving pieces of bacon in my face and asking me how I can possibly live with out it. People just assume that I miss it. I really don’t.
If the day ever comes where I do: I’ll probably just pick up a piece of bacon and eat it. But at this point, I can’t ever see that day coming. I am really not tempted, and the thought of biting into a burger or tearing apart a steak with my teeth genuinely makes me nauseated.
I’m going to stop my ranting now. But I hope that people can just take a step back once a while and remember that there are a LOT of reasons why people might choose vegetarianism. To each their own. Let’s all just calm down a little bit and we might both be able to enjoy our meal! 😉