Typically I dread dates because of the guys I know I’m likely to meet. After a few (feels like 100) years of dating, I can count the number of great dates I’ve had one hand, so hope left the building loooong ago. But Wednesday’s date is prompting a new and unfamiliar despair: this time its not the guy (he’s a sweetheart), its the the food on offer.
Challenge me to a cuisine and I’m in. I’ll try anything as long as it’s not gonna kill me or put me in the hospital, but vegan food? By choice? For a date? Does he not like me?
So instead of spending the hours thinking about an outfit, I’m focusing on how much protein I can ingest before 7pm. Because while I’ll eat anything, I really really like to eat animals.
I think its stems from growing up in the UK in the era of CDF. Our nightly tv screens were filled with horror stories of mad cow disease, videos of stumbling, wide eyed cattle, then victims, lying comatose or brain dead in hospital beds, all the result of a burger fixation. As the UK burned all the cows, (followed quickly by an outbreak of foot and mouth that added pigs to the pyre), my mum did the smart thing and promptly turned the family vegetarian.
We didn’t eat a lot of red meat, so it wasn’t a huge leap from Christmas turkey to Christmas nut loaf (both dry and inedible). My dad protested a bit, but with few exceptions, we ate our body weight in lentils, beans and nuts for what felt like an ice age.
I didn’t taste a steak until my first year away in college, when my first boyfriend’s parents treated us both to Filet Mignon. Despite vomiting profusely within the hour, I can still remember how bloody fantastic it tasted and I never looked back. Throughout college and ever since I’ve embraced poultry, fish and meats with wild abandon. I’ll tolerate a salad… but with shrimp, or steak, or bacon, or all of them actually.
I once ventured over to the dark side again as an adult: It did NOT go well. Visiting a friend in SF, an evening from hell was spent at the ‘Gratitude Cafe’ where my waiter asked me what I wanted my food to do for me this evening (apparently turn into meat wasn’t an option), then blessed my kale and wild rice bowl with his patchouli stinking fingers. The wait staff told us what our auras wanted to drink (no, its not fucking herbal tea, nothing about me says herbal tea), and suggested we pay what we felt they needed. Apparently a smack on the head wasn’t acceptable so I coughed up my $25.
Nope. Never again.
Until Wednesday. Where my date has ‘thoughtfully’ found a gluten free restaurant, that also happens to be grain, nut, dairy and animal free. Apparently kale will be in much evidence and my old friend, the partially cooked lentil.
I comfort myself that if I can tolerate scores of men who talk about themselves incessantly, lie about their age, weight and hobbies, then I can tolerate vegans (with a very nice man) for an evening.
Maybe I’ll just stow some jerky in my purse in case of emergency?