I don’t care that you’re a vegan

It’s literally the least interesting thing about you

“Hi, my name is Rheagan and I eat meat.”

Let’s just take a pause right here and look at the above sentence. How many of us ever introduce ourselves and, within the first five minutes of our introduction, mention the fact we eat meat? Probably none of us, although please email me if you do: I’ve been trying to figure out ways to incorporate this into more of my introductions but have yet to figure out how to do so successfully.

Now, I realize criticizing vegans is right up there with openly admitting to agree with Donald Trump, but I really can’t stay silent on this issue anymore. Blame the reaction I got from a vegan the other day. I made plans to grab lunch with my friend Sophie, and she asked to bring along one of her friends who I had never met before. I agreed, and we all met up at a small restaurant.

Sophie introduced me to her friend (who, for anonymity purposes, will hereby be referred to as “The Vegan”) and, as expected, they mentioned their animal-free diet almost as soon as we had exchanged names (I wish I could say I was surprised, but like, I wasn’t). I expressed feigned interest, telling them how interesting I thought that was (even though it wasn’t). But then The Vegan went on to ask something I hadn’t fully expected to arise from our seven minutes of conversation: “Have you ever considered going vegan?” I was taken aback, but I politely said no, that I really enjoy meat/animal products and that swearing them off is not something I think I would be able to healthily do.

You could call me an ice cream enthusiast.

You could call me an ice cream enthusiast. One who is, coincidentally, perpetually single

And their response? “You know,” said The Vegan. “You and I have the same organs and body parts, we’re both human. The fact you think you need meat to survive is just brainwashing by the American government to get you to spend money and contribute to the agriculture business. You could easily go vegan: I have, and I’m so much healthier for it.”

I forced a smile, bit back a snappy retort, and just said “maybe.” I then proceeded to order an eight-ounce steak with a side of bacon: the disgust on The Vegan’s face the entire time I was enjoying my meal made it that much more satisfying.

I was really excited for my full rack of ribs, okay?

I was really excited for my full rack of ribs, okay?

I’ve heard all the arguments behind being vegan, so please don’t come at me claiming that I’m uneducated and don’t “understand the issue.” I know about the whole cows-producing-methane-and-being-bad-for-the-environment thing, as well as the issue of how much water the agriculture industry uses up to raise the animals that are then killed and consumed (although I would like to point out that almonds take up tons of water as well – certainly not as much as agriculture, but the almond-water issue can’t be overlooked). My favorite argument I’ve heard many use as a way to try and convince me to give up my cruel, carnivorous ways is probably the age-old, “You say you love animals, but how can you love them if you eat them?”

Enjoying meat does not make me a terrible person, and it certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t like animals. Literally anyone who has ever spent five minutes with me can tell you that I am the biggest dog person in the world. My dogs and I share beds. And food. And forks (I’ll stop now). I eat meat because I like it, not because I enjoy causing death/torturing souls/whatever else people may claim. If I didn’t like the taste of meat, I wouldn’t eat it, but I do so sorry not sorry, I think I’ll continue to eat it.

I do also like salad, I'm not a complete monster.

I do also like salad, I’m not a complete monster

If you decide to go vegan, that’s completely your prerogative: I don’t have a problem with it, and I completely support it if that’s something that you want to do. But don’t start giving me shit and acting all high and mighty about it, trying to make me feel guilty for enjoying the taste of flesh every once in a while (okay fine, every day).

Also don’t try to claim the human body wasn’t designed to consume animal products until you research vitamin B-12, learn about how vital it is to human survival, and where humans obtain this vitamin that we physically can’t produce ourselves. If you still have an argument that’s educated and reasonable then fine, I’d love to hear it, but until then?

Just leave me alone with my wings and ribs: you probably don’t want to see what’s coming.