Why Vegetarianism Really Annoys Me

"I'm a vegetarian, and I eat fish." No you're not. STFU!

I've been a vegetarian (lacto-ovo for those interested) now for a little over 12 years. At first I made mistakes, as you'd expect, because it was all new to me. I'd discovered - usually too late - that some products that had no meat in were not actually vegetarian. It's a difficult road to follow, when information is sometimes sketchy, misleading, or simply absent.

12 years on and I am still being asked the same questions. I still don't know why people ask them either. Perhaps it's a lack of information and education, perhaps it's ignorance, or perhaps it's plain simple stupidity. Whatever it is, you can be sure it's bound to mildly irritate and amuse me in equal measure.

I'll deal with the questions I've been asked (so far!) first. I was planning on ordering these according to how much they annoy me, but that varies daily!

Why don't you eat meat?

I lied a tiny bit above. This question doesn't really annoy me at all, but it does raise a wry smile from me. You see, this is because I know what the person will say after I've answered them. Because they always ask the same question.

The short version of my answer is this: It was a woman.

The long version of my answer is: A little over 12 years ago, my then fiancée was making an effort to become a vegan - with little success. I came home one day to find her sitting on the sofa, eating a decidedly un-vegan takeaway cheese pizza. I playfully and teasingly laid on a bit of a guilt trip. "But, what about the poor cows?" "Is that cheese from a new breed of cow which produces vegan milk?" You know, those sort of comments. I must stress that I was only joking. I myself was a fully fledged member of the 'how-big-of-a-steak-can-I-eat?' club.

Her reaction both surprised and saddened me. She became upset. Whilst she understood that I was just winding her up, and that I felt she could eat what she wanted, she was angry at herself. For here sat the person who had incessantly talked to me about animal rights and why I should stop eating meat. She who had denounced all dairy (she'd always been a vegetarian since early childhood) but was now stuffing her face with it. She was now betraying her own ethics.

I felt absolutely terrible for her. So I offered a solution. For two weeks I promised that I would become a vegetarian, if it helped her conscience. She (unsurprisingly) agreed that this was a good idea, and seemed to feel a little reassured. It ended up being three weeks - simply because I wasn't paying attention to how long it had been. When I realised this, I went straight out and bought something meaty. I can't for the life of me remember what though! But when I started to eat, I remember being absolutely and totally repulsed by whatever it was. I also remembered her prior tears, and the obvious pain that the thought of people eating meat caused her.

Ever since then, I have been a vegetarian. Although we parted ways a few months later, her ethics had become ingrained in me. I now extol the virtues of vegetarianism upon anyone who will listen. And that is something that will never change.

Why don't you start eating meat again?

This is the source of my wry smile when I'm asked the first question - it is always the follow up question! Why would I want to? I'm healthier, happier, fitter, and there is a tiny bit less animal suffering in the world. Additionally, the aforementioned ethics are now mine - and I won't betray them.

How can you not love meat?

I don't know why the taste of meat suddenly repulsed me, I really don't. But it does. It's no longer just the taste, but the ethics (or lack thereof) which surround meat production. Google it. Ask PETA. You'll soon understand if you have any sort of emotional intelligence.

Do you eat fish?

Now this one really irritates me. No. I do not bloody eat fish. Fish is meat. Flesh of an animal. Not vegetarian. Those that eat fish (and other seafood) but don't eat other meats are pescetarians.

Don't you miss bacon?

Homo habilis
Nope. In fact, the smell of bacon (and all other meats) cooking makes me feel sick.

Don't you understand that we were born to eat meat?

You might have been, Mr Homo habilis - but I was not. Homo sapiens have evolved from their primarily meat eating ancestors. We now have a better ability to produce and consume tasty, nutritious meals without killing an animal in the process. We're quite clever like that! 

As well as the questions, I also get presented with statements from people when they discover I'm a veggie. Some, I assume, are meant to show some sort of understanding or empathy towards my choices. Usually I just find them frustrating. One of them makes me want to punch the person in the face...!

I don't eat much meat either.

Not much is still too much. However, if you are trying to cut out meat completely, I can help. (Never miss an opportunity!)

I'm a vegetarian, and I eat fish.

This one is on a par with the 'fish' question above. No. You. Are. Not. A. Vegetarian. You are a pescetarian. Stop telling people you're a vegetarian - you are part of the problem of misinformation. Just stop it. NOW!

I had a vegetarian meal the other day.

Well, congratulations. Would you like a medal? How about you take that one vegetarian meal and change it into 365 vegetarian meals? One for each day of the year (don't start about leap years!) It's really easy. I can help you if you want!

Oh, you know such-and-such is a vegetarian.

So? This is inevitably a person whose existence passed me by up until this point. I have no idea who such-and-such is. What is the point of this statement?

Oh no - I'm starting to sound like a militant vegan! Tee-hee!

All of this is very well and good, but do you know what really annoys me about being a vegetarian? That it's simply not enough. I would really love to be a vegan (that's no animal products of any description in anyway whatsoever, for those that don't know) - but soya milk sucks.

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