Vegan Dating 1
I was tipped off by a friend of a recent “Savage Love” podcast by sex columnist Dan Savage, which touched on the very complex topic of vegan dating. For context, I highly recommend listening to it on iTunes or his website archives before reading on, as what follows is a commentary on this portion of the recording (episode 212).
Of course the excerpt I’m referring to is when a man called in about advice regarding his vegan girlfriend. He is only vegan *most* of the time, and when he eats meat and she finds out, she finds it disgusting and withholds sex for a week and insists he go on a cleanse before they can make whoopee once more. Long story short: boy eats paella in Spain on trip, lies about it to girl when arrives home, sleeps with her post haste, she finds out via discovering photos of said boy eating said paella, freaks out and is upset about the lying and meat-eating, and now boy asks Dan for advice as to what to do.
As your typical Dan-Savage-esque response goes, he concludes that this man’s girlfriend is a BITCH and that he needs to DUMP THAT BITCH (capital letters for emphasis). (He gets away with using the misogynistic term by claiming it’s gender-neutral and he uses it for men often, but I hardly think many feminists would buy that kind of crap.) I suppose calling her a controlling vegan hippie psycho-BITCH and telling him to break up with her, lest he lose all respect as a man with a will of his own, and that he was right to lie to his girlfriend about something she cares so much about, is great for his podcast ratings, but I believe it misses the fundamental point (that Dan eventually gets to, in his own roundabout, name-calling way), that she seems to be unreasonably demanding of her vegan lifestyle she is imposing fully on him. If the boyfriend does not like being controlled in that way, he should speak up. Without all of Dan’s sensational hullabaloo, in a nutshell the boy should follow these simple steps:
Talk it over. Tell her how you feel. Explain what you want to make this relationship work (e.g., eat meat on occasion, but not in her company). Wait for response. If girlfriend doesn’t compromise, it may be wise that, yes, you break up, but it may be her that comes to that conclusion first.
Easy enough advice. Not sure why Dan Savage had to make it an attack on veganism. Ignoring the crass comments he makes about her vagina, what shows so clearly in his response rant is that he hates the watchful, judging eyes of vegans (we’ve talked about this before). It seems, as opinionated and lefty left left Dan actually is, he still is slave to his inner emotions telling him that vegans have this agenda to make everyone else feel bad about themselves, just by virtue of being vegan. That’s my take on his angry response attacking this poor woman’s vegan lifestyle choices. It’s not that she’s only a controlling “bitch”, it’s that she’s vegan (read: crazy) too, and that’s not fair. I think I was fine with Dan’s anti-vegan rant until he outright mocked veganism and said that if he were the caller, he would fill their waterbed with sheep’s blood, fill their pillows with ground beef and fuck her on it without telling her. Really? What is he advising here besides hatred and vindictiveness (putting aside the cruelty to animals implications) in his disgusting fantasy.
Dan enjoys making ridiculous analogies (here, it’s replacing “eating meat” with “watching porn”) to prove his point that the girlfriend in this scenario is a controlling bitch. You can just as easily replace “eating meat” with “torturing baby kittens” and all of a sudden, the girlfriend doesn’t seem so psychotic and controlling after all. The reason why I feel that the latter analogy is more appropriate is because this is the vegan’s point of view. I think it’s safe to say that most people would be against the torturing of baby kittens for satiating some sick pleasure, and that this woman would have every right to impose this restriction on her boyfriend’s behaviour, based on her set of morals that says that torturing baby animals is wrong. Say this woman also makes the safe and logical next step in her moral belief structure that torturing any animals is wrong. Is it so very much difficult to assume that she would be opposed to her boyfriend supporting (albeit indirectly) animal torture? Is she a psycho-bitch if she were genuinely upset that her boyfriend went to a bull-fighting arena in Spain or a rodeo in the Southern U.S. (a.k.a. Alberta), or… that he purchased meat of a dead animal who had been tortured? Somehow, it doesn’t seem so unreasonable on her part, unless of course, we compare eating meat to watching porn.
Dan should try to see it from the crazy, controlling douchie-dick Peta-working psycho-vegan’s point of view. He misses the point that possibly she is not withholding sex as punishment, but is just clearly perturbed by her boyfriend’s recent ingestion of animal flesh and is consequently turned off of him, sexually or otherwise, until she is sure the meat has left his breath and body. She doesn’t want to touch him, because for her he has done something horrible and disgusting.
You don’t have to agree with the vegan point of view. You don’t have to think that eating meat is contributing more globally to animal torture (or climate change, or heart disease, …). All you have to do is see it from the vegan’s point of view. If, after going there, you realise that unfortunately your morals clash and you will have to continue participating in activities that are morally reprehensible to the vegan, then you need to have a respectful conversation with her and decide how you are to proceed. If she is truly passionate and certain about her moral beliefs, then there isn’t much of a dilemma. The vegan will need to dump you.