Can A Meat-Eater Date A Vegetarian?

vegetarian woman holding steak grocery store
Love, Self

The bottom line: Don't date somebody who constantly criticizes your food choices.

It wasn't uncommon for my ex and I to fight in supermarket aisles. Grocery shopping, cooking, eating out—it was always potentially fraught with tension. But we didn't argue about the typical dining dilemmas, like where to go eat or whose turn it was to cook dinner. We fought because The Ex was a vegan, macrobiotic foodie who was quite vocal about other people's (and by that, I mean MY) food choices.

Frozen meatballs? he'd ask like I just picked up a bag of lard in corn-syrup gravy. There's an Italian deli over on Grand where you could buy those fresh.

Even when I was trying to eat well, there'd be something to criticize. Once, as The (no-longer-vegan) Ex sat eating a slice of pizza while my roommate and I lunched on whole-wheat crackers, avocado, onions and raw cheddar cheese (part of our early attempts to transition to a raw foods diet), he spent the entire meal lecturing us about how sprouted grain bread and unpasteurized cheddar didn't really count as "raw." BlissTree: When Women Lie About Eating Just To Appease Their Friends

I was reminded of all this recently while reading an essay by GOOD writer Meghan Joyce, on whether meat eaters and vegetarians can maintain a happy union. Her boy, Joyce explains, is "totally thrown off by the whole vegan thing":

The tension came to a head a few weeks ago when we were on vacation in Palm Springs. The lone vegan-friendly place in the greater Palm Springs area is a vegan-only place, and the menu was rife with fake cheese and fake meat. I get that my boyfriend is creeped out by fake animal products posing as the real thing. But sometimes I just want him to bite the proverbial bullet and at least pretend to enjoy a slab of barbeque seitan. After all, every time we go to a regular restaurant, I'm forced to either nibble on a piece of lettuce (possibly with a slice of tomato on top) or risk getting my food spit in by the server who has to listen to me rattle off all the modifications I want to my meal.

Writing at Pandagon, Amanda Marcotte says she found Joyce's essay troubling:

Just because someone will eat meat doesn't mean they have to eat meat at every meal. As long as your only measure for eating something is, ‘Does it taste good?' then drifting towards a more vegetarian diet because you're dating a vegetarian isn't really that hard.

Marcotte suggests that Joyce's boyfriend's reluctance to give her vegan food a try stems from 'male privilege' and the sort of cultural idea that meat is manly, and veggies are for girls or wimps. I'm gonna go one step further and suggest that, perhaps, the boyfriend is (like The Ex) just a jerk, plain and simple. Is a vegetarian or vegan dating a meat-eater going to live in perfect food harmony? Probably not. But there's no reason they should live in dietary discord, either.

Read the rest of the article on BlissTree: Vegetarians And Meat-Eaters: Recipe For Dating Disaster?

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This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.