Why I’m a Vegetarian

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Earlier today, I saw a great tweet from @BaileyGenine:

I’m a vegetarian because I never want to accidentally eat a person.

This is a brilliant answer to a question vegetarians are constantly hit with: “Why are you a vegetarian?”. It’s a question that has always struck me as a bit rude and so I prefer to give snippy answers.

The pithiest answer is the well-worn: “Because I hate plants!”. It’s an easy joke, but it usually gets a laugh. Unfortunately, it’s both overly brief and obviously a joke, so the question is usually posed again.

Sometimes, I go a different route. I’ll state that I have Crohn’s disease and that I can’t eat meat. This usually garners some sympathy, which then of course makes me feel terrible. That said, I’ve got a pass on this. I started using it a few years back after my friend Sash found out he was afflicted. When he decided to stop eating meat, he asked me for information about being a vegetarian. In exchange for my help, he gave me permission to fake the illness whenever I needed.

Other times, the question contains a tone of derision with it. In cases like that, I’m apt to fire back with “Because I’m a homosexual. That must be it, right?”. It’s more than a bit snarky, but it at least exposes the concealed prejudice in the question, by relating it to a more common (and equally absurd) prejudice.

My favorite response, however, is one I’ve never been able to bring myself to actually use. It’s simple, cutting, and really gets to the heart of my annoyance. I hope one day to meet someone loathsome enough to deserve it. He’ll ask me “Why are you a vegetarian?”, and I’ll look him right in the eye, and say:

“Because I wanted to have one conversation, for the rest of my life.”


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