I recently read a book that touted on the cover that it would explain how to date a vegan. Because I am a vegan, I was instantly curious as to why anyone would need a guidebook to take me out.
I mean, dating someone who chooses not to chew on animals isn’t like dating some kind of mutant alien life form or a Kardashian. Personally, I’ve actually never dated a vegan or even a vegetarian, but my aversion to eating animals has never been a problem. In my experience, guys are happy that I enjoy being healthy and fit. You certainly never hear anyone who’s rattling off his or her list of desired qualities say, “Sick and out of shape,” amiright?
And it’s not like most vegans beat people over the head with it. True, most first dates involve dinner, so it certainly comes up. If a guy asks me why I don’t eat animals, I tell him it’s because I want to save animals, be healthy, and protect the environment. And most of the time, the guy just says, “Oh, well, that’s really cool.” Easy as pie. So since there seems to be some sort of weird misconception about it, here’s my vegan girl’s un-guide to dating an animal-friendly woman:
Don’t be a jerk. I won’t say anything about your choice to eat animals, as long as you don’t “moo” over your steak or try to convince me that my asparagus suffered and didn’t want to die. (Yes, both of those things have happened to me, which is why I refer to those two gentlemen as “one-date wonders.”)
Don’t worry that I’m out to force you to change. We’re all adults here. I’m not out to make anyone change for me. That being said, in my experience, people who date vegans do start to make some changes voluntarily. As they start to ask questions about cruelty and how PETA saves animals, they want to do things such as steer clear of SeaWorld or adopt, rather than buying from animal breeders. And when they discover that vegan food is healthy and tasty, they start to ask me to make dishes that they’ve tried and liked. And now I have to live in fear that I’ll run into an ex in the section of the grocery store that has the veggie bacon. Everyone (friends, family, and dates) that I’ve ever introduced to veggie bacon has subsequently declared their undying allegiance to it, finding it considerably more delicious than the stomachs of pigs.
Woo away. Yes, we are modern, progressive, socially conscious gals. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t still fantasize about having Prince Charming sweep us off our feet. Feel free (but certainly not obligated) to surprise us with flowers, give us a sweet compliment, steal a kiss, or plan a romantic picnic with foods that you know we like.
It’s not rocket science. “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” (Yes, Paul McCartney is vegetarian—and is also awesome.) There’s no magic formula for dating a vegan, just like there’s no magic formula for dating anyone. Really, we just want the same things that everyone else does. We look for someone who can carry on an intelligent conversation, who is attractive to us, who shares some of our values and respects the others, who is considerate, and with whom we have fun. It’s pretty simple.
So I guess you’re wondering, with all the advice that I’m dishing out, am I speaking from personal experience? Well, yes. There is someone: a software architect who loves to eat healthy and stay active. So even though he’s a self-professed carnivore, he’s developed an appreciation for vegan food and has created his own vegan beef stew that is the stuff of legend. He even surprised me with a picnic on the beach replete with his famous chopped salad. And I have to say, this sometime carnivore made a vegan gal believe in salads again. And also in love.
Written by Michelle Kretzer