I don’t eat (non human) meat. I never felt any real desire for it, and haven’t missed it since I made the easy decision to stop putting it in my mouth and swallowing. Before I stopped eating (non human infant) meat, I always used to wonder what made so many vegetarians angry. Well, for all those meat-eaters who want to know, the last seven years have taught me that…
Restaurants hate you personally, and want to hurt you in the mouth
I like food. I like putting food into my face in large quantities. I am happy to give money in order to be able to do so. Theoretically our whole society is set up to support this plan. Stop eating animal, however, and our beautiful capitalist system falls apart (with the exception of Asian restaurants, though the meals in most Asian restaurants bear about as much resemblance to Asian food as I do to a calm and reasonable person).
Want a restaurant that serves vegetarian food? Good luck in a tourist area, small city, or the entire Mediterranean. Even in 2012, this is a problem a surprising amount of the time. If you’re with meat-eating friends, they’re going to get pretty angry as you have to pass restaurant after restaurant, trying to find something to eat. By the time you find a restaurant that actually has one or two meatless options, you’ll be literally puking blood into the gutter with joy.
But you’re not out of the woods yet (why is everyone always wanting to leave the woods? I think they’re pretty). Are those actually vegetarian options, or are they serving entrées as the ‘vegetarian’ option? There’s some weird unspoken restaurant assumption that vegetarians eat less than normal humans, so your meal has a good chance of being tiny, because we have minuscule vegetarian stomachs and toy digestive tracts. If there’s a full, adult-sized meal it will be curry or pasta, because you’re a dirty fucking communist and you don’t deserve other options.
But vegetables are cheaper than meat, so at least you’ll save money, right? Nope! Your fun-sized pasta and tomato sauce will more than likely cost the same as the chicken platter the person next to you is enjoying. Do aubergines cost the same as steak? In restaurant world they do!
Meat is hidden fucking everywhere
What do gummy bears, jelly, and marshmallows have in common? Why, they all contain the screaming souls of cows, of course! (Their bones. I’m speaking figuratively, and by that I mean melodramatically). Bits of animal are hidden everywhere as an exciting prize that you can only discover by arduously reading the labels on every single thing you buy.
Still, how long does it take to read a label? A few seconds? Here’s another fun (horrifying) fact: companies are under no obligation to tell you if their product contains meat. And they’ll often lump it under ‘natural flavours’ – a term that can mean absolutely fucking anything, as it is simply stating that the ingredients are not supernatural.
Fuck, even some chocolate contains meat. And cakes. And cookies. And cheese. And soy cheese and beer and sugar and orange juice and bread and peanuts and bagels. And toothpaste and shampoo and plastic bags. Odds are, you have some mashed up cows bones, pig cartilage or goat stomach in you right now. Even if you don’t eat meat.
So junk food is not for you (nor toothpaste). I hope you enjoy the living nightmare of being healthy and thin (with bad teeth).
Certain meat eaters will not shut the fuck up, ever
Here is a typical exchange in which I have found myself:
Human A: “Hey, would you like some uncooked donkey throat?”
Me: “Oh thanks, but no, I’m OK.”
Human A: “Go on, it’s delicious, and I sweetened it with the blood of its own unborn child.”
Me: “No thanks, I’m vegetarian.”
Human A: “ROOAAAUUUURRRRR FOOD CHAIN MUUAAAAAARRRGHHH NATURE WUOOOOAAAAAARGHHHH BACON.”
This entirely realistic scenario demonstrates an uncomfortable fact you only learn when you stop eating meat: approximately 1 in 5 people will then go on a pro-meat rant at you, turning dinner into a heated political debate. Ever wonder why vegetarians know so many facts about the environmental impacts of factory farming and the energy intensity of meat production? It’s because they need to be ready to defend their own position to often total strangers. Strangers who want to ram their (hypothetical) meat down your tight, virgin throat.
Some vegetarians will just go the other way – they’ll tell you they don’t eat meat and then quickly follow it up with one of the following justifications:
I just never liked the taste of meat.
I would eat meat, but I don’t want to support factory farming.
I do it for my health.
Don’t get me wrong, these are perfectly valid reasons for being vegetarian or vegan – but in this situation they are brandished as excuses, followed up by copious apologetic statements like “But there’s nothing wrong with eating meat!” and “I might eat meat again someday, I just don’t eat it now.” Anything to avoid the uncomfortable subject of animal rights and to make the red-faced psychopath in front of you shut up.
Here’s the thing – I don’t give a fuck about what you eat. At all. But for some reason vegetarianism makes people defensive, and so they immediately think of justifications for meat eating, which prompts justification for not eating meat, which prompts everyone wanting to stab themselves in the kneecap with a fork just for something else to talk about (pain and emergency rooms).
So let’s just keep our opinions on the subject to ourselves and not ruin dinner. Frankly, I don’t even like polite, inquisitive questions about my vegetarianism when I’m trying to eat, because I’ve had the same conversation 150,000 times and it gets really, really, boring.
I think the Calvinists have it right. We should all eat in dead silence whilst thinking about our mortal sins and the firm, sensual body of Jesus.