Years ago, I arrived at this dinner party to a counter of beautifully marinated steaks. They were gorgeous. And they were the entire dinner. The problem was that I’d brought a vegetarian, and our hosts knew, in advance, that I was bringing a vegetarian. Nevertheless, nothing else had been prepared, and minutes before we were to sit and eat our mammoth steaks, they put frozen vegetables in the microwave for my date. All of this is pretty grim. I mean, you can’t make a salad? Seriously? But from the moment we’d arrived, they were making fun of her for not eating meat. It was a horrible, awful time. I have wondered, over the years, what the etiquette of a situation like that is. They were obviously being douchebags. And our options were, what? To leave, yes. And we should have. But, if we had addressed the situation, if we had attempted to engage in a dialogue, what would we have said?
My former brother-in-law, a chef, used to make long bitter speeches about how much he hated vegans. He would always add, “Not you though, Jill. I know your doctors make you.” They didn’t though. Make me. My doctors thought it made good sense, but I was already vegan. And what difference would that make, whether or not I was medically required to be vegan? I thought chefs enjoyed invention. Stretch yourself, dude. Create something without meat or dairy.
Currently, my social groups think it’s hilarious to give me a hard time about how little I drink. I’ve actually been considering giving up alcohol entirely. It’s depressing how evenings out collapse into stupidity. How many poor choices are blamed on bottles. Do we really believe the amount of alcohol we consume has anything to do with prowess? You are currently slurring and mis-conjugating. Wow. Hot. That’s so virile. You are now biting strangers. You have just fallen out of your chair, again. You are embarrassing your date. You are freaking that girl out. Drinking isn’t prowess. Alcohol and prowess aren’t actually related. You have prowess on your own, or you don’t. And what am I to say to these people? Currently, I say nothing. I can’t figure out how to step outside their sad bravado while dialoguing about it. We aren’t children anymore. Your life isn’t at the bottom of a glass. Is it? It’s like dudes who wear gold chains. They just can’t let their high-school selves go. They will freeze themselves at what they consider to be their last, best moment. And they will recreate that moment every chance they get.