Almost two years ago, I was sitting on the patio of a restaurant in Mexico eating my 100th carne asada taco in the matter of one week, watching a group of chickens play with a group of chihuahuas on the beach (yeah I know Mexico gets weird), when I had an epiphany: Meat is gross. Cows are super cute and kind and I genuinely want to join those chickens on the beach for a good time. So just like that I gave up meat. No one really believed this, however, since slammin’ lamb had been my thing since forever But alas, after multiple attempts at shoving piggy plates and beefy burgers in my face, people were left to roll their eyes and give-the-fuck-up. I thought this would be a decision that’d affect only me; that no one else could possibly be offended, or even give two shits about what the hell I chose to eat. What I discovered quickly, and what I have continued to deal with, however, is the hard realization that people want to be ALL UP IN YO’ BIZZ-NESS by means of putting you in your place.
The first question I was asked (as per California protocol) was not WHY I was a vegetarian, but what level of vegetarianism I practiced. Flexitarian? Lacto-ovo-vegetarian? Pescetarian? Vegan? Raw vegan? Macrobiotic? And I’m like… is this fucking yoga?
I honestly didn’t understand what any of these terms truly entailed. I’m not exactly label savvy, or for that matter, a label loving person. I just knew what my body was telling me to do, and so I did it. But this was NOT ok with people, so, I educated myself, and discovered that if I absolutely had to put a label on it, I was, and am, a Pescetarian. This simply means that I strictly abstain from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish. Damn was I proud when I’d spit those words out… finally being able to make sense of the type of diet I was “practicing.” But eventually those rolly-eyed giver-uppers concocted more questions for me to stumble over:
Do you wear leather? Try not to.
Do you have leather car seats? Not my car not my problem.
Is your purse made of suede? I accidentally washed it so many times I’m not sure it’s suede anymore.
Will you eat your vegetables if they’re cooked in chicken or beef broth? No asshole.
Do you eat eggs? Yeah, except today I realized the carton I got says, “Nest Fresh!” And I cried and walked away from the kitchen because things in nests are cute.
Do you realize how ridiculous it is that you eat fish but not beef or poultry? I’m half-cat, I NEED FISH, aight?
To all this I was stunned. I had been quietly enjoying my new diet, when da-haters decided to spew their word-vomit all over me.
And then the question of all questions was finally asked: WHY are you a pescetarian-vegetarian? And I had some great responses, like: Have you driven on the 5 North from Los Angeles to San Francisco? Have you seen the cows piled on top of each other? It’s the COWshwitz of Auschwitz. Or maybe you’ve taken a gander at the Food Inc. documentary and wanted to die a little over the inhumane treatment of animals so we can eat some swilly meat via the corporate controlled food industry? And da-haters are like: What about fish farms? And dairy products from the COWshwitz? And I’m like: 1. Wildcaught 2. Organic 3. BOOM IN YO FACE and they’re so cleverly like: What about when you go out to eat? How can you be sure it’s organic/wildcaught/blahblah? And I’m like: Fuck, fine. In that case, sometimes I suck. But I’m usually hungover at that point, in which case, absolutely nothing matters but my sanity. And they’re like: Are you doing it to try and lose weight?
And I’m like:
But obviously it’s other things too. Buying organic meat is expensive and obviously I need that money for wine, which I only buy like once a month and only drink a glass of.
And when all else fails, I tell them the hen story:
It all started on a summer night in my homeland of Maine, when, while getting bud light drunk at a friend’s, I noticed a hen peacefully perching on the arm of a chair. And I was like:
So, I asked my friend why she had a hen, so seemingly domesticated in its demeanor, in her home, to which she explained that it was a pet and it was friendly and that I should touch it. So I did touch it, and to my surprise, the hen was indeed, friendly. Then I bravely stroked its feathery soft back with my shaky hand and it fucking purred. I then realized it was not an it at all but a her and a hen and then the epiphanies of all epiphanies came: Hens are just cats with feathers so I cannot eat them. Also, I literally slept under a blanket that night with hen in arms and I am not ashamed.
And the saddest cow story ever:
I have this aunt who likes animals just as much as I do. So much that she lived on a farm of furry cute creatures, including her BFF, Augusta the Cow, who was like super sweet and happy and cool.
The only super shitty thing was that my aunt would impregnate Augusta and then a few months after cowception, butcher her calf. Fucked up. But I loved Augusta and was just happy she was able to live and be loved unlike the rest of them. Unfortunately karma kicked the shit out of my aunt because, on a day she couldn’t be at the farm to supervise the butcher taking away the calf, the idiots mistakenly took her BFF, Augusta and made her into hamburger meat.
I was totally devastated for both my aunt and my five year old tender soul when I found out and took to my room for weeks (don’t question that, just embrace the dramatic build-up).
I didn’t know Augusta had been ground down into small squiggles of bright red. I thought she had been given an elaborate funeral with grass offerings and laid to rest in a field of flowers forever.
I didn’t know until I knew…..
It goes like this: I’m sitting at the dinner table eating a giant, medium-rare hamburger. I’m stuffing it in my mouth like it’s the last meal I’ll ever have because it was the best burger I’d ever had. Bloody juices are seeping from the sides of my mouth as I chomp down, over and over again until almost all of the burger is gone, when I look up to see my mother solemnly staring at me. She tells me that the burger happens to be the fucking cow of all cows, AUGUSTA.
And I’m like:
And my mom’s like… “It’s okay sweetie, it’s natural, and it’s better that we eat her if anyone.”
And I’m like: I CAN’T EAT MY MOO-FRIEND! THE INHUMANITY!
And if those two stories don’t help people who really can’t leave me the fuck alone to understand my decision to not eat my friends, then there is just no hope for them. Those people will never know the joys of cuddling cat-hens, or the perils of hate-liking your moo-friend.
But honestly, let me eat what I want, how I want in peace, and in return I will give you dirty looks every time you order the filet or chicken-fucking-nuggests (which no one over the age of five should ever order anyway).