A minority of meat eaters (carnivores) get insecure when they find out that you are a vegetarian. Specially if you are a non seafood eating vegetarian like Cerno. This can add an unnecessary wrinkle to social interactions. Or worse inject a smelly fart of tension and ill feeling at a party.
Unless you are a militant ideological plant eater (which I’m not) its best not to get argumentative in these situations. Changing the topic helps. There’s always sports or the deplorable situation in Pakistan/Bangladesh/Chad/Sudan to save you.
For the record I don’t know why I’m a plant eater. Its certainly not for religious, political or other pretensions. For the sake of avoiding laborious explanations of inexplicable, I say that I’m a vegetarian because I don’t like animals – particularly in my food. This generally offends no one except that tiny demographic which prefers to express its love for animals by eating them.
Of the rest of the carnivore crowd, there are those who feel guilty about eating other animals . They feel a need to explain themselves or justify their diet. These rang from expressing weakness to the delicious taste of flesh (how CAN you live without that T Bone?) in various preparations. Be sympathetic and change the subject.
Mention that fact that in many societies, access to meat is a sign of wealth. Usually the arrival of a guest means the death of a sheep or goat for the inevitable feast. The code of hospitality among some require the guest to offered the choice bits. Among Syrian Bedouins that’s generally the eyes of the animal. To refuse is a terrible affront to the host.
Then change the subject.
Some have argued that they don’t want to wreck the lively hoods of fisherman and butchers. A thankful few view vegetarianism as as a part of dieting. Since they are not overweight or ill they don’t see the need to go vege.
Then there are those who see vegetarians as deprived people. Subversive renouncers of the good life. Questions will be leveled at you about your “poor” nutrition. You may be viewed as a religious fanatic. A heretic going against the evolutionary grain.
These types are a bunch of bores. Change the subject unless you want to expend energy engaging their beliefs.
At one end of this group are the hard core animal eater who feel a constant need to prove themselves. Particularly their male gender by eating meat and drinking large quantities of alcohol. This group baffles me. I won’t try to explain them since I’m trying to avoid writing about what I don’t know.
At root of all these meat eaters’ insecurity is the silly idea that vegetarianism is some sort of moral superiority thing. It is not.
There IS a cultural identity element to being vegetarian. Big enough for people to write books about. If I had the time I’ll plunk in a few links about the topic. But I’m desperately short on time these days. So I’ll leave it to YOU to do the googling for a change. If you dig up some interesting links please do add them to the comment box below (note that some comments with links might end up in the spam filter till I rescue them).
I view vegetarianism is a conscious choice about what you eat. Nothing more. There are those who associate it with “saving” animals from the butcher’s block. Particularly the “meat is murder” crowd. I find it hard to believe that vegetarianism is a threat to the meat industry anywhere. I’d be glad to hear from a person who has done the research on this type of thing.
I am particularly happy not to have encountered cannibals. Its the only food preference that I oppose unconditionally. Mainly because I don’t want to be eaten (not just because eating human meat is has nasty side effects). If you are a cannibal, I would also like to add the vegetarians taste awful.
Time’s up. So this post has to end in this paragraph. Yes its one of those going-off-the-cliff endings which are abrupt and untidy. But vhut tu du no?