Jun 30

Things people say to vegetarians, pt. 1

One of the most typical things that people say when they learn that I am a vegetarian is “why?”, as in “why would you possibly give up meat?” It said with either a tone of vague horror or suspicion, as if I either have gone crazy or have a wacky political agenda.

This is a genuinely difficult question to answer. I have been a vegetarian for so long that my reasons have changed and now form a web so entangled that I don’t have a short, pat reason. Is it political? Not really. Spiritual? Nope. It’s not really a health reason either. It’s simply who I am, with no real reason or excuse.

The askers won’t let up either. In the past, I have made many a pithy comment. That I’m really pro-life; that I think it’s cool; that if they had to eat my mother’s cube steak, they’d be one too. They simply chuckle and ask, “no, really… why?”

I will sometimes make up health reasons. I say I’m allergic, or that if I eat meat, I will get sick. This is true, but people won’t accept it either. They will ask how I got that way, how I started out being a vegetarian. Well, it happened 13 years ago, so I really don’t remember.

But, above all I cannot tell the truth. If I say that I simply don’t know why I’m a vegetarian, except that it feels right for me, they will psychoanalyze me or put words in my mouth. Every single time. “Well, how can you not know?” “Well, how did it start out?” Like they are psychiatrists and I am a fascinating case study. I would be touched, but I don’t like delving into my childhood on normal days, much less with strangers. Excepting the ones on the internet, naturally.

My question is this, you Omnivores of the Blogosphere: Why do people do this? Why do they always have to ask why? When I find people that like brussel sprouts or Nascar, I don’t put them through interrogations on their preferences. What is so intriguing about vegetarianism and why are all these pseudo-sociologists doing their informal studies?


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