living underground in the real world

ok here’s what I can’t stand

(IF YOU ARE A NOT VEGAN FRIEND OF MINE, STOP READING NOW.)

THIS POST IS FOR VEGANS ONLY.

ALL OTHERS CAN GO TO HELL.

Though really, you’re already there. At any rate, you’re making everything hell on earth for everyone else. And by “everyone else,” I mean: me.

Isn’t it weird how you can be vegan for almost 20 years and still get just as mad about the fact that the world is not vegan as you could when you were 15?

NO. ACTUALLY IT’S NOT WEIRD AT ALL.

*

What I can’t stand is when you’re out eating with non-vegan people, like sweet nice friends of yours, maybe even vegetarians (AND BY THE WAY, IS THERE ANYTHING WORSE THAN A VEGETARIAN? I think not. Why don’t you all just give up on it already?), and they order something with flesh or its byproducts–congealed lactation or pretty-much-abortions or those smoky sticks of streaked fat that hipsters are getting tattoos of or something—and I certainly feel, as a (PARDON THE METAPHOR) more-flies-with-honey vegan, and also as a everyone-knows-I’m-vegan, this annoying obligation, when said friends look at you with their rheumy (too much dairy in their lives, you can always see it in the eyes) little puppy dog “I’m sowwy!” eyes before ordering, to be all like, “No worries man, order what you want.” (subtext: I’m not one of THOSE vegans).

And they do, and then there we are chatting and enjoying some fucking human contact for once, except like 6 inches from you they are, like, eating the products of so much horror made flesh, so much terror made liquid, they are literally spooning into their mouths death and fear and torture and all the sadnesses of the world, deviled and over easy and benedicted.

And you know—you JUST KNOW—that if they just read what you’ve read, knew what you knew, you KNOW this, because you’re FRIENDS, after all, and you only have awesome friends, because you’re an awesome person and they have so many amazing qualities, are so brilliant and funny and warm and sparkling to be around and here we are in this perfect world on this perfect day, enjoying tea and company EXCEPT YOU ARE ENGAGING IN A PRACTICE I FIND SO MORALLY REPELLANT THAT IF I GO TO THE BATHROOM AND HAVE A MOMENT TO THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE ACTUALLY DOING I MIGHT FIND IT DIFFICULT NOT TO BURST INTO TEARS/FLAMES.

That’s what I can’t stand.

31 Responses to “ok here’s what I can’t stand”

  1. Christy Hall

    I know. Recently, an acquaintance brought meat (meat!) to a pot luck at my house! I had already contacted the person who had invited her requesting that she be informed that we are a vegan household because I am terrified of this ever happening. But, apparently, the ball was dropped. And there it was. In my house. On my dishes. And I was “cool” about it because I’m not one of “those” vegans. Except, yes I am!!! The whole experience made me realize that I want to be a more intense vegan so I can avoid the seething quiet rage that was created in me when I realized that my own dearcfriends do not fear my vengeance.
    And don’t get me started on being partnered to a carnivore. At least he knows better than to cross me on our vegan household rules.
    I really want everyone in my life to be vegan. I do. Not to keep me from exploding, bit for the real reasons. But, I believe (I really do) that if you acknowledge the violence being done to animals, all of your coping mechanisms for dealing with the sick modern world become fragile. As. You. Know. And most people can’t live like that.

    Reply
  2. Jordan

    Yes, or all my “feminist” friends eating chickens breasts and drinking rape!
    anymore I prefer dining alone. I’m lucky to work around all vegans and animals for the most part. Its my friends that are pissing me off. I have come to terms that most likely being a gay person in a small city (that i never care to leave) and being vegan has put me in a position where I have such a small dating pool, I have been thru most and the ones i havent have heard about me. So heres looking forward to the rest of my life as a recluse and a hoarder and not pretending to not mind when they order and ask, “do you mind” they can eat pathetic lazyness, just not infront of me.

    Reply
  3. Christy Hall

    What if we brainstorm an answer to that fucking question, “do you mind if I order…” that is both true and kind!? We could start a movement. For me, it could be “as long as you don’t mind honestly explaining to my curious children the ethics behind what you are eating. Because they will ask… And I’m always proud when they do.”
    El hasn’t learned to be a quiet polite vegan and I don’t intend to teach her.
    “I don’t expect you to make your decision of what to eat based on my awareness of animal cruelty, but I prefer not to be asked to give you permission to do something I find disturbing. Especially when I’m pretty sure you want me to lie.”
    Or
    “don’t ask me, ask the chicken”
    Or
    “have you read my blog?”
    Or
    “I am well -versed enough on social ettiquite to know that you do not want me to honestly answer that question.”
    Or
    “it depends, do you mind if I request to be seated at another table?”

    I also really believe that the individual is the smallest unit of change. So, we have to do this. Other ideas?

    Reply
    • Stephanie

      On Friday, my daughter had a conversation with her fellow preschoolers over snack time on what it means to be vegan. I so wish I could have been there, but the reports from both her and her teacher made her mama proud! Noticing that S had something different than the other kids, one of them asked and she replied, “Well, I’m a vegan and I won’t eat those non-vegan cupcakes.” “What’s a vegan?” “Someone who doesn’t eat gross stuff, like meat.” “There’s meat in cupcakes?” “Where do you think the eggs and milk in there come from?”

      This is the same child who has also lamented at what all of her friends aren’t vegan, right when I was worried she was going to wonder at why she is vegan. She gets it, even before the age of 5.

      In some ways, I feel even more responsibility to not be the polite vegan now that I have kids because I don’t want them to confuse my silence with with complicity in the atrocities going on around me, but I also don’t want to create a scene at every social gathering with non-vegans. Right now, we just reserve our comments for when all non-vegans are out of ear shot.

      Thanks, Christy, for the suggestions. Thanks, Lagusta, for giving us a good rant. I’m all for the fab dinner parties as well – my favorite ones being those in which the guests run into you a week later and say, “wait a minute, you guys are vegan?” ;)

      Reply
    • Randal Putnam

      A great topic and these are great ideas! Thank you! I’ll add “because I care about you, I’d rather not watch you eat something that shortens your life.”

      Even so, I will probably let it go more often than not. They are asking because they already know how we live. They are asking because they know we will lie (be polite).

      I remember eating meat in front of vegetarians. I don’t think I ever asked if it was ok. Looking back I feel embarrassed, but I wasn’t then. Years later I changed on my own, without a single vegan in my life. I read a book and that was it. I’m not saying that honest conversations with friends don’t help. You might not see the results, but they’ll show themselves! Maybe my polite vegetarian friends got to me (even though it took years)!

      Thanks again for the great ideas.

      Reply
  4. Jordan

    Christy All of those are pretty great!
    I wish I had the balls (not meaning that term in an anti lady sense) to simply say with every bit of my rage showing in my face when asked “do you mind?”
    ” What do think” I mean ofcourse I Do.

    I hope your kid never learns to be a polite vegan.

    Reply
    • atsugal

      All of those are amazing…but I’m nervous that any of them would mean dining with only my vegan pals forevermore. (not a bad fate, but it’s nice to branch out). And have you noticed how people usually only ask once, and sort of half-assedly, then for the rest of your eating life they just order whatever?

      Maybe I just need to go back to throwing fabulous dinner parties all the time.

      Oh, Christy, someone brought cheese to a party of mine once–Jacob almost made me serve it in cat dishes. But I was **so polite** and brought it out on a plate and everything, and everyone just stared at me like, “is she going to explode?” and I never did–and now, a few years later, the couple who brought it are vegan! Also no longer a couple…hmm.

      Reply
  5. kevin

    You know what I hate? When friends order the most heinous shit in front of me – like fois gras :(

    Reply
    • ruby

      Are you kidding?!?! If anyone I know ever ordered foie gras or veal in front of me I would certainly get up and leave. That friendship would be over. All meat & dairy is disgusting and brutal, everyone should go vegan, but those are two that no one can claim ignorance about in terms of supporting straight up torture and misery. Even small children know veal is baby cows who spent their lives chained and boxed.

      Speaking of kids, Christy’s (& other vegan young’ins) give me hope for the world. I am also super psyched about Christy’s suggestions and I’m going to try to start answering more honestly when folks say “Do you mind?” Of course I mind, you should too. Use your brain when you read a menu.

      Reply
  6. christina

    lagusta…

    you are the best. whenever i need a wake up call, or a comrade in arms, or some lovely food/feminist/non-consumerist ideas, i read all and everything you’ve written.

    which brings me to my question… what happened to the essays that used to be on your old website? i’m just curious, since i so enjoyed reading them years ago.

    cheers,
    christina

    Reply
  7. Jordan

    Christy, I have had a few friends read these posts everyone thinks, “I am well -versed enough on social ettiquite to know that you do not want me to honestly answer that question”. Is the best! I will surely be using it in the future However I cant use it on anyone right now. All my real friends know I dont speak that fancy. I will save it for some special asshole.

    Lagusta, Your bf sounds amazing! If only i could find a guy that would suggest the serving to be done in the cat dishes! He sounds like a dream! P.S. I thought you were being sneaky the way your name was spelt. Incase the cheese bringers were reading.

    Reply
  8. lagusta

    OH MY GOSH I LOVE YOU ALL SO DANG MUCH. What great comments!

    Yeah, if someone ordered veal or foie gras in front of me…I don’t think I could deal. I would probably spontaneously combust.

    So, 2 (lovely!) pals posted this on Facebook–one vegan, one veggie. The vegan friend’s friends (OK, just one dude) jumped all over me because of my honey post and used-leather-shoes post and informed me that I am not vegan. And of course I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so we debated it back and forth for a while and he just kept saying I wasn’t vegan. “I know you THINK you’re vegan…” was his favorite phrase.

    The veggie friend’s friends all laughed at me because I am, in their eyes, a juvenile lunatic who is horrifyingly out of touch with the world. I was compared to a fundamentalist Christian, yes. Because those of us who advocate for less suffering and death in the world are exactly like Christo-fascists. Yep.

    It was, if you will, quite the double penetration.

    Good times.

    Christina! How sweet. The essays were all so old, I just couldn’t deal with them any more (yay for the internet, and endless editability!). Most topics I’ve covered in slightly different form on the blog, anyway (not wanting to have kids, get married, etc). And I put that little box on the right (old + notable) with a few of them, but currently, due to a server migration, those are unavailable because I need to move them over. I’ll be reposting them as blog posts either here or on the professional food blog….sometime after Valentine’s. : )

    And Jordan–yeah, he is pretty hilarious. He really would have served that cheese in cat dishes, I know it.

    Reply
  9. Liz

    What if your friends, instead of expecting you to be all bright and “don’t worry about me! do what you want! I don’t care” while knowing that you DO care, said “I know that you’re vegan, and that you’re not OK with what I’m going to order, and I want to be clear that I know where you stand on the matter and I’m not asking you to be complicit or in what I’m doing or make me feel better about it and I respect you even though I don’t agree with you.”? [or something to that effect, perhaps not as long] Would that make a difference/be better? [And not that it would be BETTER in the long run, but at least more up front.]

    Which would be your preference [if you couldn’t have your real preference to have them NOT eat animal products at all]:
    a) that your non-vegan friends NOT eat meat/animal products in front of you or
    b) that they not be apologetic and ashamed if they do so, but own it and not expect you to sign off on it
    [and “which would be your preference” sounds kinda snarky, which is not what I mean, I just mean the words themselves]

    Reply
  10. Kristina

    In my head, out of your fingertips. Thank you for this post. It makes me feel less crazy (& no, I’m not calling you crazy. Not even a little bit).

    Reply
  11. Dustin Rhodes

    I think about this all the time because two of my/our very closest friends are not anywhere even close to veganism; and they are people I/we hang out with all the time: on vacations, at dinner parties, at each other’s homes, etc.

    These two friends are among the most wonderful people I’ve ever known. I am madly in love with them (they are a couple). And despite this, we run into these awkward meals at restaurants more often than I’d like (which is never). And honestly I never know how to deal with it.

    First of all, they always cook vegan for us when we go to their place for meals—sometimes even going way out of their way. Recently, one of them had a birthday, and made sure everything was vegan, including the birthday cake, even though my partner and I were the only vegans there. Unbelievably considerate.

    However, every time we go out to dinner, it’s a murder scene, especially with one of them; and I hate it so much. My partner, and I love him dearly, is one of those vegans who’d rather eat his tongue than tell someone he’s vegan; and he’d never confront someone. But what irks me is that he goes out of his way to make MEAT EATERS comfortable—always being sure to tell them it’s OK. Essentially, he encourages it.

    I never criticize him for this, at least not often. For one, I am in the major minority that I even HAVE a vegan partner. Most vegans I know don’t. But the other thing is, I don’t know if he’s right or wrong about this.

    One person in this coupling has become extremely curious about veganism, and even more curious about food in general. I honestly think it’s because we don’t bang them over the head with it. I do have to wonder if my/our quietness on the issue, and consequent example, aren’t part of the reason. I don’t know.

    I do know this: advocacy itself is very difficult to navigate. We have to make big guesses and sweeping assumptions. I relate to Randy’s comment above: it took me a long time to become vegan, even if I knew it was something I should do long beforehand. It’s very complicated.

    But there’s nothing I hate more than eating at a restaurant while someone I love is eating an animal. And I do it way more often than I’d like. Yes, it makes me want to scream, too…but instead I just bite my tongue.

    Reply
    • lagusta

      I agree! I think not banging people over the head with it is the way to go. But it means you have to shove so much anger so far down inside, like you say.

      Reply
  12. Zoe P.

    Um, guys. I don’t understand why all of Christy’s responses are passive-aggressive. Why not just say, “Honestly, I do mind. It’s difficult for me to enjoy a meal/focus on our conversation/enjoy our time together when there’s meat/dairy/whatevs on the table. I’d prefer that we shared a vegan meal. Or went for a walk. Or played Boggle.”

    What happens when we try to be honest and kind? Something bad?

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Zoe! I miss you, #1. #2…yeah, it doesn’t sound that bad, but, I don’t know, people are all touchy and shit.

      But yes, let’s try to be kind. Especially to our dinner companions!

      Reply
      • Zoe P.

        Miss me? But I’ve been posting so much! Korean food! Groundhog poetry! Cat jokes! Tina Fey! All in The New Yorker!

      • lagusta

        Turns out, I hadn’t actually checked out the ol’ blog since before Feb. 5. Um. And also that I’m 4 issues behind, so I haven’t read anything you’re talking about. But I can’t wait to! Radness, I take it all back.

      • Zoe P.

        So, here’s a related question. Something like “Magical Dinners,” the Korean food essay from TNY, back in the food issue, I think. Not vegan. Do you read it? Are you grossed out, angry and/or uncomfortable while reading it?

      • atsugal

        I loved that! Not grossed out because I’m really good at glossing over things, and turning my mind off to what certain words actually mean. I also respect food writing and understand that most people’s food memories are tied up with animal products. I also put food magazines with dead turkeys on my coffee table and then vegans come over and stare quizzically at me. Disconnection is a beautiful thing.

        What about you?

        -lagusta

  13. Brian Holbrook

    they are literally spooning into their mouths death and fear and torture and all the sadnesses of the world, deviled and over easy and benedicted.

    So that’s what tastes so good.

    Histrionic much?

    Reply

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