Slate offers up one of their random weirdo articles; a guy who married a vegetarian, who gets to eat meat once to twice a month “on the sly”, whose wife is one of the militant-veggie “our kids will be raised vegetarian” sorts.

In my life, I’ve known a few vegetarian-ish people, of varying degrees. In the Southern Tech University dorms, there was one girl (a cute redhead who’d had anorexia, who became an absolutely STUNNING redhead when she got treatment and regained about 50 pounds) who’d done enough to her body that she sort-of, kind-of became “vegetarian” because she’d destroyed her body’s ability to digest meat properly (go without for too long, you stop producing the enzymes necessary for digestion, you lose the helpful intestinal flora that assist in the digestive process for meat, and you might even get food poisoning because it can then rot in the intestines).

Two others I know currently I’m interested in dating. One has food allergies galore; peanuts (thankfully not the “it can’t even be around me” kind, but bad enough), pork, and a couple less annoying ones. The other is a partial-vegetarian who doesn’t eat “meat” (in the pork/chicken/beef/etc sense) but still eats fish and dairy products.

The odder question from my angle is: at what point does one start altering habits (should it manage to turn into a full-blown, exclusive dating relationship) to coincide with this? Admittedly, in the one case it’s a matter of real danger (plus the whole idea of “congratulations, you ate something I’m allergic to, now go brush your teeth or else no kiss”), while in the other it’s a semi-moralistic/semi-health-conscious thing. Also, in the one case it’s obviously going to need to be one-way (hard to “compromise” on allergies) while in the other?

And, can I really manage to give up my traditional bacon-and-eggs sunday breakfast?

Category: Kitchen

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13 Responses to Dating by Food Choice

  1. trumwill says:

    I think it depends mostly on why the other person doesn’t eat what they do. It’s probably something that you slide into. Clint has no moral or health objections to eating meat, but he’s mostly given it up out of habit. I suspect that this sort of thing works it out unless they ask you to go cold turkey or otherwise expressly forbid you from eating it.

    I don’t think that I could marry someone that said that I couldn’t eat meat out of their moral conviction. Or if they said that I could eat meat, but gave me no end of grief whenever I did. If they refused to eat meat on those grounds, I wouldn’t have any sort of problem with that if I wasn’t an involuntary enlistee. As with Clint, it would probably reduce my meat intake significantly. Particularly since I do like tofu well enough. But if I want a burger I want a burger, and sometimes that’s what I want. Probably rare enough that I could sneak it in when she’s not looking, but that’s not something I’d be comfortable with on a long-term basis.

    I wouldn’t have a problem being enlisted in Fish Friday or even meatless Lents, though I like the taste of pig too much to give that up even if I was allowed other meats. Cows are more of a gray area. I don’t like steak and could possibly find enough turkey substitutes to get by.

    Not exactly the same thing, but my wife’s aversion to Spam means that I have to pretty severely limit my intake. If I can’t cook it when she’s around, I only end up eating it either cold or when she’s working the overnight.

    There are also issues of food that make my breath stink. She doesn’t like the way that turkey pepperoni smells on my breath, so that limits my intake. At the cafeteria at work they serve “Italian Chicken” which gives my breath an odd odor, so I only eat that when I know that she’s not going to be around. Ditto onions.

    I’d imagine with most that you’d be able tog et your bacon and eggs since there is not typically such an allergy involved that you’d make them sick. Even so, you may need to brush your teeth afterwards.

  2. kevin says:

    I had a friend whose wife was vegetarian for moral reasons. He wasn’t, but converted when they became serious. They raised their four kids vegetarian. She passed away rather suddenly, but he and his kids remained vegetarian. I told him that he was a better man than I!

  3. Peter says:

    I dated a couple of vegetarians in my younger days. It really wasn’t an issue, as neither one was militant about her vegetarianism. Things might’ve been more complicated if I had lived with (or married) either one, but probably not, given their live-and-let-live attitudes.

    If most vegetarians were not accepting of “carnivore” partners/spouses the dating and relationship market would be quite complicated, as vegetarianism seems to be substantially more common among women.

  4. trumwill says:

    If most vegetarians were not accepting of “carnivore” partners/spouses the dating and relationship market would be quite complicated, as vegetarianism seems to be substantially more common among women.

    Some guys I swear are vegetarians primarily to fill this relationship market niche. Same with goths. Their vegetarianism seems to come up with exponentially positive likelihood whenever there is a female in the room.

  5. Brandon Berg says:

    Allergies: Deal with it, or find someone else. What else can you do? But it’d be pretty pathetic to give up meat, or to start eating it covertly, just because some woman wanted you to. IMO, you should make it clear from the beginning that she can take you or leave you as you are.

  6. bobvis says:

    Web, here is my recommendation.

    There are two considerations in play. One is the practical. The other is the philosophical. If either one is out of alignment, it will be a source of tension in a relationship. It doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, but go into anything knowing it *will* cause issues. Period.

    With peanut-girl you have no philosophical problems, but you have the practical one. You just have to ask yourself how many peanuts you eat and whether they can be omitted. It’s normal to have to alter your habits for someone. At the same time, you currently have nothing invested in her. Do you want to enter into a relationship where you already know that it will be a bothersome, possibly lifetime compromise?

    Verdict: Only you can assess this trade-off.

    With vegetarian girl, you have the same practical problem. If you want to continue eating meat and she wants to continue being vegetarian, you can plan on double-cooking loads assuming she’s even ok with you cooking in the house. I wouldn’t be, and even if she says she is, she may not really feel that way in truth.

    Not only that, you have a philosophical disconnect on this. Given the vibe I pick up on in your post, I would say this would likely be a big problem for your relationship even if you feel it wouldn’t be one for you personally.

    Verdict: run screaming

  7. PD says:

    You have a failure of fifty percent in your relationship if you have to make a adjustment on race, culture or food preference.

  8. PD says:

    I should have added religion also to the list.

  9. Webmaster says:

    I don’t think that’s valid, PD.

    New people can expose you to new things. If I married a nutritionist (as one example), I fully expect there’d be some “changes” made to my eating habits. They’d probably be good for me, too. By the same token, I’d love to find someone who enjoys working out that I was comfortable with, because I don’t much enjoy working out alone and even worse is having “strangers” around to look at me while doing so.

  10. PD says:

    You see Web, it is as time passes that differences become annoying.

  11. trumwill says:

    I think it depends on the nature and extent of the difference. An agnostic agreeing to go to church is one thing. A Catholic (that isn’t already completely lapsed) converting to Judaism (or vice-versa) is another. Me giving up non-fish meat on Friday would be no big deal. Me giving up pork would be huge.

  12. Webmaster says:

    My grandparents are both devout, and from two semi-antagonistic branches of christianity – when they married, so antagonistic that they had a Justice of the Peace wedding because neither church would allow them in!

    55 years, 7 kids, and an amazing number of grandkids later… I don’t want someone who’s an exact copy of me. And I don’t think it’s the differences that are “annoying”, PD, I think it’s annoying differences that you fail to communicate about that are the problem.

  13. PD says:

    There is a difference in between liking a person who is different verses being committed to someone who is totally different. These days everyone is conscious of their rights and they don’t hesitate to use it. As you grow older the differences become a bigger sticking point. I don’t know about your grandparents, kudos to their success. They may have succeeded partly they were of the same race, culture, food preference and even same economic background. The only difference they may have had was religion. That too they may both have been Christians of different denomination.

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