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I’ve been a vegan for close to ten years now. My previous girlfriend was a vegan as well, so we didn’t have a problem until she cheated on me. I’ve recently met a girl who I think is great, but she isn’t a vegan — or even a vegetarian — and she refuses to accomodate my lifestyle, ignoring the fact that cooking her meat in the same pan as my food is uncool. She also wears a bunch of leather (shoes, jackets, etc.), which bothers me. Is there any way that we can live a peaceful existence?
— Must Love Animals
Hello, Must Love Animals! You just reminded me of an idea I had for a new reality TV show. Picture this: A beautiful tropical getaway, the ocean gently lapping upon the shore of a white sandy beach. On the horizon we see the beautiful light of the early-morning sunset, its rays stretching along the calm ocean water like the arms of a loving grandmother. The camera turns to face a small hut before it slowly zooms in on an open window, through which we can see Roseanne Barr waking from a fitful rest. She reaches to her bedside table to grab her iPhone, which is already open to the Twitter application. The camera then pans to another hut, where through another small window we see Tucker Carlson adjusting his bow tie in a mirror while talking to himself in that squeaky voice we have all come to love. We cut to the inside of another hut, where a 14 year-old is hanging halfway out of her bed, but refuses to get up for ‘another 15 minutes’. Finally, the camera cuts to a fourth hut. At first we only see a large black circle, set upon a skin-coloured backdrop; and then the camera begins to pull out, exposing an earlobe and then an entire head that is covered with greasy hair that has been carelessly dyed black. The vegan rolls out of bed and grabs a handful of mixed seeds, stuffing them in his mouth before he steps outside to scoff at the morning breeze.
The four contestants make their way to the beach, grab a seat at a round table, and a title fades in: Argument Island.
You see, Must Love Animals, finding a true vegan sympathizer in a group of non-vegans is difficult. I’m not saying every non-vegan hates vegans, but I am saying that vegans have been annoying non-vegans for years; making irksome requests to include tofu instead, sighing at the mention of ground beef, sharing groundbreaking documentary shorts about the meat industry on Facebook. Feel free to ask any of your friends who eat meat, and I’ll bet they will say, “No, it’s totally cool!” But they don’t think it’s cool. Even your closest relative the vegetarian makes fun of you on the way to the cottage. “No eggs for breakfast, I guess!” we all say, laughing while eating beef jerky from a rest stop. Well, the vegetarian doesn’t eat the beef jerky.
It’s not cool if your girlfriend is coming over to your house and using your pan to cook meat. At your house, your wishes should be respected. A simple solution to avoid fighting about it would be to buy her a cheap frying pan to use while she is there. You’ll always be aware of the fact that you chose to be a vegan, and even though it would be a better world if we didn’t start eating meat thousands of years ago, it doesn’t change the fact that it is a widespread practice. Because it is a lifestyle that you chose, it is your responsibility to find a way to live it without trying to push your beliefs on the people who are close to you. If it really bothers you that your current girlfriend wears leather, the only logical solution is to find another vegan to take on a date to Urban Herbivore.