I was not proud of myself the other night. Not proud at all; forever proving that I have a long way to go before I am the person I want to be. But also realising that life is never black and white and we really do just have to live moment by moment and do our best with whatever life throws at us.
What am I going on about?
Well, the other night I found myself hanging out with some lovely gentlemen (friends of a friend). Both myself and my friend, who I’m staying with in Vancouver, got invited for drinks, my friend had to work, so I just went alone. I had met them all before, but this was the first time I'd had real, long conversations with all of them. We were...getting to know each other I suppose. Over alcohol.
One of the guys there is a Vegetarian. When I first met him we had the slightly awkward “Oh cool, I’m a Vegetarian too! Well...Vegan actually,” him: “Vegan. Oh right.” Why does it feel like two sides of a war meeting? It should feel the opposite!
He said: “God, I could never give up milk.” I laughed airily (trying to keep the mood light) “Yeah, I felt the same way. But honestly, now I don’t miss it at all.” He just nodded and it seemed like this very awkward "are we both judging each other?" thing. I hate that Vegan meets Vegetarian goes this way. It's really not how it should be at all, but unfortunately most of my experiences go the same.
So, back to the drinks. Perhaps an inevitable part of any drinks night, one guy announced “I’m ordering Pizza!” and a pizza arrived twenty minutes later. They were tucking in, offered me a slice and, before I had to say anything, they remembered and then made an awkward apology for eating the pizza in front of me. I assured them I wasn’t offended by the presence of pizza, I’m aware I’m in a minority etc. All was well. But then, the Vegetarian couldn’t resist saying (through a mouthful of congealed cow pus) “you must miss cheese! It’s so good!”
Me: “I just did too much googling. Seriously. Google ‘cheese’ and you won’t miss it.”
Then, guy number three pulls out: “But what’s wrong with milk? I mean milk is good for you.”
Me: “honestly, I’d rather not go into it….”
I was reading my audience and I knew there would be no conversions here, folks. I really just wanted to have fun. Also: my mind was a little fuzzy with all the booze. I knew that if I went into it, I was going to really go for it, making me look like a total dick to all these guys. Thus: my shame spiral. I didn't want to look bad....I admit it.
Him: “No, let’s go into it.”
Me: “People think milk is good for us because that’s what we’ve been sold by the diary industry our entire lives….”
Guy number 2: “Oh! You got her just with one line! She’s goin’ for it!”
Ahhhh! Assholes. Hot assholes.
Me: “You asked!”
Guy number 3: “I’ve heard about the whole ‘we’re the only species that drink milk’ thing, but like…we’re the only species that drive cars.”
Me: "Yes, but don’t you want to drink milk because it’s “healthy”? Isn’t that what you said?”
Guy number 2 then starts trying to be all cutsie by listing all the things that man do, from playing video games to yoga. I took his lead and together we took the mood to a lighter place.
I completely stopped at this point for many reasons. One: it was going nowhere. Two: with alcohol involved no one was paying attention and three: I was just becoming someone that they didn’t want to really be around. And I hate that this topic, which is so close to my heart, creates that social scenario. It’s really, really upsetting.
But you do have to just read the situation you’re in. I honestly believe that delving into raping cows, the processing of cheese and the connection with the veal industry would not have done me or the Vegan movement any favours in that moment. They were already resistant, and only asking because they knew they could gang up on me and sometimes guys like to tease girls. I get it. Therefore: I made a judgement call and changed the subject.
Also: I have to note here: that I have always had most success with converting people to the ideas of Veganism and understanding by just being a great example of it. If people get to know me just as a person, see that I live a completely normal life and like my personality, they are more likely to then be genuinely intrigued by my ideas. Also: if they respect me already, they’re more likely to respect my Veganism. Starting out meeting someone and having Vegan discussions never really goes well. You just come across as the bad cliché we are all trying to avoid.
So, I was slightly ashamed that being surrounded by attractive guys quashed my “fighting for the Vegan cause”, but at the same time: I know it was the right choice, not just for my social life, but for the cause too. I left that night with them all liking me as a person, even after the awkward 5 minute Vegan chat. All the other conversations were fun, I got appropriately drunk and we have had similar nights since.
Now they can all say: “I knew a Vegan once. She was pretty cool”.
As apposed to: “Fuck, don’t invite that psycho Vegan again. Talk about a guilt trip.”
I know what I prefer.
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