despite my appreciation for vegetarian food and my support for vegetarianism, veganism and most other thoughtful, humane approaches to consumption, i am not, nor have i ever been, vegetarian.
so why do people keep apologising for eating meat in front of me?
this generally happens while i’m wearing my full length leather coat, not that i’m seen without it all that much. this marker of my less-than-rigorous-vegan status might be a bit subtle for some, but it does suggest to me that people are pretty certain of where i stand if they don’t even look for clues before they speak.
but that’s not all. at a friend’s party, standing around the barbecue, the all-meat barbecue. talking to the cook who is supervising said barbecue and surely knows he’s cooking no vegie patties. sausage on fork, twixt plate and mouth. surely that’s a bit more than a subtle sign that i eat meat. why does the cook ask me how long i’ve been vegetarian?
i don’t really mind, i guess they’re displaying some consciousness of what they’re eating and that it’s not entirely value-free. besides, of all the assumptions people make about me, this one is hardly unflattering. i’m just confused.
do i look like a vegetarian? what does a vegetarian look like?
have they seen me eating fruit or vegetables? haven’t they gotten past hating spinach yet?
is it that i know vegetarian people? is vegetarianism catching?
is it because i’m political and try to live by my principles? what, vegetarianism is a principle they’ve heard of so it must be one of mine?
is it because they saw me refuse leftovers because i couldn’t store them in the vegetarian house i once lived in? did they forget both that i was offered that dish because i’d been eating it, and also that they had been so fascinated by the situation that they got me to explain it in detail?
is it because i’ve mentioned that i like vegetarian food, or that it tends to be a safe option? have they never had a good meal without meat in it?
can anyone shed some light on this for me? i suspect there may be further consequences of this phenomenon, and i just don’t understand.