Sunday, April 18, 2010

Nobody Likes a Vegetarian

It's true. Don't even try to be one of those sensitive open-minded people who always preach "each to their own." Everyone hates vegetarians-- from liberal, NPR-listening, Subaru Outback-driving, organic humus-eating lefties,  to bacon-eating, tobacky-chewing, confederate flag hat-wearing, righties. 

Hell, even fellow vegetarians hate one another. Lacto ovos hate others vegetarians because they feel guilty and possibly lazy. Lactos hate lacto ovos because they are lazy and hate vegans for being high-and-mighty. Vegans hate everyone.

Ok, some people are slightly more tolerant than others, but most people's butt cheeks clench together when they discover the hideous truth about their acquaintances, co-workers, and sometimes even... family. 

Some of this disdain is warranted. There are a lot of asshole-y veggies out there; preachy and smug about their "superior" lifestyle choices. But these few are tainting the whole population of herbivores. I'm not a judgy jerk (about food, anyway). But I can see your eyes narrow a bit when you notice me ordering a Gardenburger at a restaurant. 

Now imagine you have a baby. A poor, innocent baby who can't make these choices for her or himself. You are pushing your radical beliefs on the helpless creature. Now you're the Devil. I'm not even in the shoes of these parents, but I feel their pain.

Ryan is a hardcore meat-eater. He hates fruits and vegetables. So, Norah gets a little of everything. But guess what? She doesn't like meat. I swear I'm not brainwashing her. We give her pasta mixed with veggies and meat, and the meat comes out. Ryan hid some meat in some mashed potatoes. Potatoes in, meat out. She just doesn't like it. And I wouldn't really mind if she did. It sure would make life a little easier for her, as far as social functions go.

But a vegetarian whose child also doesn't eat meat raises suspicions in others. Of course I'm forcing my hippie ways on her. And, good God, what about protein? What about iron? I'm depriving her of essential nutrients for her brain. Hello, community college. (Wink; I work at a lovely one.) Never mind all the other bazillions of sources that are plentiful in protein and iron. I'm surprised Social Services hasn't paid us a visit.

And would it be so terrible? We're raising her with our morals and manners. It's unlikely she'd run through town throwing buckets of fake blood on people or chanting "meat is murder" at your 4th of July BBQ. She wouldn't comment on your beef jerky just as hopefully she wouldn't comment on someone's ugly shoes or poor choice in listening to John Mayer. We're fairly nice people.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't hate Norah. Hate me, go ahead, I'm sure you do now that you know the ugly truth. But Norah doesn't know all the baggage that comes with being a meat-free person. And she had fish sticks the other day, I  promise. Just know that we're not all horrible. Some of us just don't like eating meat. Just as some people don't care for Lady Gaga or generic cereal. It takes diff'rent strokes to move the world.

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