Guest Blogger and Girlie Girl Army Boy Sgt, Ari Solomon (creator of our – and many big time celebs – absolute favorite candle line A Scent of Scandal ) sounds off on what he should of said to the chick who told him vegans suck;
My husband and I were invited on a day trip recently for an old friend’s birthday. About 30 of us loaded up in a bus and went to wine country. It was a surprise actually. You should’ve seen my friend’s face when a busload of his nearest and dearest pulled up outside his apartment building at 9 AM. So fantastic!
Anyway, his girlfriend organized the trip, and asked all of us beforehand what we wanted for lunch. She was planning to have a local restaurant prepare meals for us that we would pick up once we got to the second winery. I told her that my husband and I are vegan and she was excited to let me know that the restaurant she chose had a bunch of vegan options. We found an amazing grilled veggie sandwich with vegan pesto that was truly delish!
Now, truth be told, most of my close friends are vegan or vegetarian but the birthday boy was not, nor any of his friends. I actually love being in situations like that because you automatically become “the vegan in the room.” You’re usually flooded with questions, and have an opportunity to speak to people about veganism, animal issues, etc. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great talking about this stuff with my vegan friends, but there’s that element of preaching to the choir. Talking to a bunch of meat-eaters, you have an opportunity to inform. Most people have no clue where their food comes from. In my experience, people are respectful and at least act like they’re paying attention. And even if no one commits to leaving meat off their plate after a discussion, at least I know I did my best to plant a seed. At this winery lunch, however, I wasn’t prepared for the bullshit that went down.
During the meal, a girl sought out my husband and I after overhearing we were vegans. She came right over to us and said in a condescending tone, “So, you’re vegan? Yeah, I used to be vegan. Too bad it sucks.” It was pretty clear her intention was to mock us and she snidely laughed, which of course got a round of chuckles from the people around us who were all eating their chicken and turkey sandwiches. It’s always easier to scoff at a vegetarian when you have a dead animal in your mouth. At the time, I think I made some funny remark about her cooking skills probably just being dreadful, and the conversation quickly moved on. Usually something like this doesn’t bother me for too long, but I’ve been thinking about that moment for some time and now I know why.
I should’ve responded differently. We all have those moments, times when we’ve looked back and wished we could’ve said something witty or brilliant but we were put on the spot and our brain wasn’t working quickly enough. But if I could go back in time, this is what I would say:
Being vegan sucks? Sucks for whom? It certainly doesn’t suck for the environment. I mean, you’d have to be from Wasilla not to know by now that animal agriculture is the number one cause of global warming. Even the dimmest CFL bulb in the drawer knows that the best thing you can do to combat climate change (or as I like to call it, The Apocalypse) is to go vegan. In fact, a study done at the University of Chicago found that a vegan in a Hummer leaves less of a carbon footprint than a meat-eater on a bicycle. How’s that for being vegan sucking? You know who else being vegan doesn’t suck for? The animals. That’s right, the billions of animals who are being caged, tortured, and slaughtered in the most horrific ways as we all just go about our days. If what happens to farm animals were happening to cats and dogs, we’d have riots on the streets. And what really is the difference between your dog or cat from a cow, chicken, or pig? Most Americans are completely ignorant or in total denial of how the meat they’re eating gets to their plate. Speaking of eating, you know who else might not think being vegan sucks? The one billion starving humans on the planet who could be fed, if we weren’t feeding more than half of all the world’s edible crops to “food animals” instead of people. It takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat. Seems like quite an inefficient, if not downright criminal, use of food while people are starving, doesn’t it?
So who exactly does being vegan suck for? You? Oh, of course, it sucks for you. I forgot how important you are. Well, I’m terribly sorry you couldn’t be “inconvenienced” for the sake of the planet, the animals and your fellow human beings. I know how painful it would be to go out and buy a cookbook and learn some new, delicious recipes. Oh, wait — you live in LA? Yeah, it must’ve been a real bitch to find a vegan restaurant, or two, or three or forty. You know, being vegan actually doesn’t suck, it’s you who sucks for not being vegan.
I feel much better now!
Ari Solomon is the President and co-creator of the celebrated vegan candle line A Scent of Scandal . After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Ari first worked as an actor in New York and Los Angeles, and later hosted the wildly popular ARI’S HOLLYWOOD UPDATE on Miami’s Y-100FM. Now a prolific activist and writer for animal and human rights, Ari’s letters have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, and The Advocate.
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