I have never dated a fellow vegetarian.
Asking a guy his dietary habits when he asks for my phone number is not exactly how I roll.
Besides, I have always maintained the belief that I am a vegetarian for me and as much as it would be wonderful if the rest of the world followed suit, it’s not up to me to force my beliefs on anyone else, be they family, friend or ‘special friend’.
I understand that sharing beliefs with a partner is an important factor in a relationship but is it important to share all beliefs? I guess it depends on how extreme either of your views are, your reasons behind these views and where you personally draw the line. For instance, I could never date a beef farmer or butcher, nor could I date someone who hunted, or raced horses or dogs for ‘sport’. Being personally and intimately involved in what I perceive as cruelty is my line.
When it comes to omnivorous boyfriends, I do have a few rules:
- Don’t try to make me eat meat (I won’t try to turn you vegetarian)
- No kissing me with your meat mouth – If you’ve just eaten, keep your meaty mouth away from me
- If you want it, you cook it… away from me – I will never cook meat for you
Speaking of cooking, this can be a bit of a touchy subject at times. I used to hate that an ex of mine would almost refuse to eat a meal without meat. If I was cooking stir-fry for dinner, he would cook chicken on the side and add it to his dish as if it wasn’t a ‘proper’ meal without the meat. I never tried to turn him vegetarian but it offended me that when I cooked, a vegetable-only dish was not good enough.
In his defence, I was 19 at the time and not a very
good adventurous cook; vegetables with sweet & sour sauce from a jar probably wasn’t substantial enough for a 20-something guy.
These days I know my way around a wok a little better and I’ve had many a meat-eating male compliment my vegetarian nachos and lasagne. I think as long as a dish is ‘hearty’, most guys will like it.
Not everyone feels the same way I do about letting those with different eating habits into their lives. One guy I read about in BBC’s story Vegan dating: Finding love without meat or dairy, once broke up with a girl “over cheese”. As a strict vegan, he also states that he “cannot condone non-veggies any more than (he) can condone people who beat their children.” He is currently single.
If you prefer to date those who know the difference between tofu and tempeh, then there are plenty of vegetarian dating websites out there to get you connected. But be warned, it doesn’t guarantee you a meat-free date. Veggiedates.co.uk, has a disclosure at the bottom of their homepage that reads, “Although we here at VeggieDates.co.uk try to ensure that we give you the best possible service, we cannot guarantee that non-vegetarians won’t join the site.”
Apparently there was a backlash when it was discovered that many of the veggie-loving singles on the site also loved a bit of meat on the side.
But seriously, what kind of meat-eater would skip match.com and MySingleFriend to sign up for such a niche site where they themselves don’t even walk the talk? Are they just tricksters or hardcore meat-eaters who want to infiltrate the vegetarian community and try to convert vegos back to a carnivorous diet?
Or is it perhaps all the rumours that vegetarians have tastier love juices..? (Sorry, Mum.)
For me, the fact that looking for veg-only partners would turn the proverbial sea into much more of a pond would really worry me. Particularly seeing as there are far fewer male fish than female ones swimming around in it.
But for some people, perhaps they would see this as weeding out the bad lot. The same way a metal-head may rule out a Britney fan, a self-proclaimed couch potato may rule out a yoga fanatic, or a Mormon may rule out an Atheist. No point throwing your line out when you know the fish in the water aren’t even regulation size.
Okay, enough with the fish analogies.
This whole dating a meat-eater thing goes the other way too. I once overheard a guy tell his mate, “I would never date a vegetarian; they’re too preachy and I like steak too much.”
I don’t know how many vegetarians this guy had met but I’m going to make an educated guess that it was not many. I suspect that he associated all of us with the PETA protesters throwing paint at runway shows.
Now, I don’t go around introducing myself as “Sarah the Vegetarian”, so if our first date was not at a restaurant, how long would it be before this guy realised he needed to ditch me?
This meathead was not alone. According to newsbyte website Newser, a survey run by match.com and Today showed that almost 30% of omnivores wouldn’t date a vegetarian or vegan (though only 4% of vegos would rule meat-eaters out).
At first, I thought that 30% seemed a little unbelievable and that the survey pool could not have been too large (turns out 4000 singles were surveyed). But after reading the comments on the article, well, perhaps not… Here are some of my favourite responses to the article:
“It’s not because they don’t eat meat, it’s because in general, vegetarians are just weird people.”
“It’s not the diet so much as it is the sanctimony.”
And my favourite from the Today website:
“It has nothing to do with the food, for me, and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that most vegemites I have met are the PREACHIEST people on the face of the earth.
“It is a VERY rare thing to find one who doesnt bring it up at every opportunity.”
So apparently we’re all preachy, sanctimonious weirdos. Hmm. Could it not be that perhaps these people don’t realise how many vegetarians they actually know because the non-weird, non-sanctimonious ones are just quietly going about their meat-free lives without shouting about their diet from the rooftops?
It’s like when I am surprised to learn that someone I have known for ages is in fact very religious. Just because they don’t shove their beliefs in my face, doesn’t mean they’re not at church every Sunday.
For me, it all comes down to balance, acceptance and respect for your partner’s beliefs and choices.
So although it would be great to be able to pick at my partner’s meal in a restaurant, cook together without compromise, and share the same views on Ugg boots… when it comes down to it, I just want an understanding partner, not necessarily a vegetarian one.
In the end, I would rather date an open-minded omnivore than a preachy vegetarian.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, where do you stand? Yay or nay to dating meat-eaters?