Whenever I sit down at the dinner table (or any table for that matter) with anyone outside of my immediate family, they are always amazed to learn the fact that, yes, I. Am. A. Vegetarian.
‘No,’ people surmise, ‘I don’t ‘look’ like a vegetarian’. Or rather I don’t look like what your stereotyped preconception of a vegetarian is – just remember it isn’t 1967 anymore.
We have now ascertained that, yes, I. Am. A. Vegetarian. This inevitably leads to a barrage of questions, so, just for clarification:
- I’ve been vegetarian since 1989, so it’s not a fad
- Yes, I did eat meat before then
- No, I can’t remember what it really tastes like
- I’m not vegetarian because of any health reasons, religious beliefs nor animal rights campaigining
I simply don’t like meat. Just like you may not like cheese or mushrooms or sprouts, I don’t like meat (I don’t like sprouts either).
I don’t like the way meat looks, it’s chewiness, texture and grisliness.
- No, I don’t eat chicken
- Nor do I eat fish (I’ve never liked fish (whisper it carefully in Grimsby)
- And no, I don’t fancy meat after I have had a drink
- I don’t like the Smiths, nor Morrissey
Perhaps the most bizarre assumption of them all is the fallacy that, as a vegetarian, I hold those around me as culinary hostages in some twisted herbivore version of ‘So I Married an Axe Murderer’, where the axe is replaced with a stale cheese and onion roll.
I’ve cooked meat before. Yes, you read that right, I’ve cooked meat before. Not on many occasions but I have cooked it – if I’m entertaining others that want to sink their teeth into a juicy steak then I am happy to oblige.
I wear leather. A leather jacket, leather boots. I once got accused of being a ‘false vegetarian’ because I was wearing a leather jacket – I never realised until that point that there were acceptable levels of vegetarianism.
Eating out is easy, in fact it’s probably easier for me as a vegetarian than it is for a meat eater – there’s less choice. But, given that, I rarely come away from a restaurant disappointed.
Words that a Google search associate with ‘stereotypical vegetarian’ include: preachy, militant, propoganda and annoying – I apologise in advance if I resemble any of those remarks.
Hope that helps clarify a few things about my vegetarianism and what vegetarians ‘look like’ in general.