I have been a vegetarian now for twenty six years and despite the fact there are now so many options available to me in supermarkets and in restaurants I still receive a variety of comments and assumptions that are made particularly when travelling. Here is a list of the most popular ones.
- ‘Why are you a vegetarian?’ – A good question to ask but depending on the person asking this could end up being an interesting conversation or an argument. Conversation fine, but do I really have to argue my views during dinner?
- ‘What do you eat then?’ – If you are unable to think of dishes that do not contain meat is it really my diet we should be worried about?????
- ‘You eat chicken/fish?’ – I have received some questionable ‘vegetarian’ options when travelling including ham floating in my tomato soup and salami on my pizza so I have become very aware of checking the smell and having a good rummage through my plate before tasting. I do however understand how in some countries where meat is a privilege my choice is difficult to fathom. Best airline meal yet has to be on route to Cuba literally getting just a banana and an orange on a tray!
- ‘Is your partner one too?’ – Why would you assume this, it was not on my list of requirements for a boyfriend. You like football do I assume your girlfriend must like it too? A rather annoying assumption for my partner who will happily munch enough meat for us both.
- ‘Don’t you miss it?’ – maybe you do if you remember what it tastes like but I have no memory of it (sometimes I question veggie burgers for tasting too real?!) I have never even had a kebab ever and I think I may have tried a bite of a McDonalds burger as a child but that was it. I do secretly like the smell of frankfurters but not enough to eat one!
- ‘I am weird’ – Actually I am a bit, but who wants to be normal anyway 😉
- Think I will preach my views to you – this I will not do, I know many a vegetarian will do this but basically in my experience these are the ones who have been meat eaters as an adult and then became vegetarian (a bit like ex-smokers who moan most about other smokers when they give up!)
- Think it is acceptable to make jokes about this whenever I eat – this is by far the most annoying! I do not mind people eating meat around me and will not comment about it at all so why are you picking on my food choices or throwing bits of meat in my face?
On a brighter note there is many an understanding meat eater who will do none of the above and are very respectful of my views and even take this into consideration when I visit. For those of you I am ever so grateful as it gives me the strength to continue to cope with the rest of them as above.