I’ve never eaten meat in my life. But you’d be surprised at how many people have responded to that by asking if I eat chicken. I don’t eat fish either, but it’s more understandable that people ask that since so many vegetarians do eat fish.
The next most frequent thing I get asked is if I’m sure that I haven’t eaten meat. “Have you ever eaten pasta that was cooked in a pot that cooked meat several weeks before? Do you inspect all the food you eat to make sure it doesn’t have any signs of meat at all? Have you kissed a girl after she’s eaten meat?”
I’m sure that I’ve indirectly eaten meat at some point in my life. In fact, it probably doesn’t have to be as removed as some of the suggested scenarios. I’ve certainly eaten veggie burgers that have been cooked alongside actual burgers. It wouldn’t be unheard of for some particle of meat to have ended up in my veggie burger. Accidents happen. Whatever.
The point has never been about some sort of physical purity. In fact, that’s what people ask next. Why do I do it? Well, I’ll tell you the reasons that do not make me do it.
It’s not for diet. It’s not for politics. It’s not for religion. It’s not for pretentious ethics.
In fact, I’d like to take a second to address pretentious ethics. Nothing turns me away from the idea of vegetarianism more than pretentious vegetarians. One will always ask how long you’ve been a vegetarian and why you do it. But before you’re done answering, she’s already cut you off to tell you why she’s better than you.
I’ve been told on many occasions that it’s easier for me to be a vegetarian since birth than it is for some college student on their 3-month “exploration” of vegetarianism because I never had to be tempted by meat at all. I respect that opinion because it’s probably true. I don’t feel any desire to try meat.
But then I consider that everyone who has told me that has only done so to leverage how much better than me, and everyone else, they think they are. For such a person, his agenda is extrinsically driven. He wants recognition, probably moral or political, and he wants it now.
Doing something moral for recognition is already logically fallible, so not much to say there. Doing something political for recognition makes sense, I guess. But I’ll still dislike you for it.
As to why I do it, it’s honestly because I was raised that way and it’s what I’m used to. I don’t think it’s a better way to live than anything else, though I don’t think it’s lesser either. I just think it is a way to live.