You’re probably a really nice person, and I’m sure we’d really get along. But when you ask me one of these questions, I can’t help but hate you just a little bit.
1. But why?
When people ask me why on Earth I would willingly choose to be vegetarian, I give them the same response I give to strangers who ask me what my tattoos mean on the subway: some serious side-eye followed by silence. I didn’t ask you why you willingly decided to crimp your hair today, or what possessed you to purchase that tie-dye A-line skirt—and I really don’t understand or agree with those decisions, but I’m not pestering you about them.
2. You still eat chicken, though, right?
Whenever any family gathering involving food rolls around, I get an email from a relative asking this exact question. Every. Single. Time. (By the way, the answer is still no.)
3. Um, but how do you get protein?
Beans, tofu, edamame, quinoa, cheese, almond butter, seitan, nuts, chia seeds, and I’m tired of naming these now, but the list is much longer than “meat.”
4. You poor thing—what do you do on Thanksgiving?
I eat. A LOT. Just like you.
This is one of those holidays where I get one of the chicken emails mentioned above. And even though I don’t eat turkey (or chicken!), there are still a boatload of totally unhealthy and totally vegetarian options for me to gorge myself with: mashed potatoes (hold the gravy), mac n’ cheese, green beans, cauliflower gratin, and tons of other casserole dishes filled with vegetables drowned in cream and cheese. Don’t worry—my arteries are getting just as clogged as yours.
5. Are you going to be mad if I order a cheeseburger?
I knew a guy who was vegan and would only let his friends order vegan dishes when they went out to eat. And guess what? After a while, he didn’t have to demand that people order vegan anymore, because no one would go out to eat with him.
Lesson: No one likes being preached to, especially when they’re trying to enjoy their food. I wouldn’t appreciate it if you tried to force your eating habits down my throat every time we went to dinner, so I’m not going to do that to you.
6. But, don’t you miss bacon?
Of course I miss bacon, you asshole.
7. This burger is SO good—don’t you just want to try a little, tiny bite?
I went on a date with a guy who tried to trick me into eating steak. He was clearly the worst. And so is everyone else who asks this question.
8. Oh! You’re a vegetarian? My cousin’s sister-in-law went through a vegetarian phase, too.
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