Jill has exposed me as a giant hypocrite!
God bless you folks who can make relationships like this work, because if I couldn’t go out to dinner and share a bunch of delicious things with my partner, I would end the relationship. Food is too important. And cheese is way too important. I don’t eat all that much meat, but I do cook a lot of fish, and cheese is a dietary staple. Vegetarianism I could handle, but veganism would be a big deal-breaker, below being a pro-life Republican but probably above believing that Two and a Half Men is a good show.
Just kidding. I did say in the post that veganism is substantively different than vegetarianism, and so I wasn't sure if the easy go-arounds that have worked for me apply. But, more importantly, my concern wasn't so much that people stay together as to analyze the power dynamics between men and women, especially those who are dating, around this issue. I'm uncomfortable with the discussion of "deal breakers" in general, because I feel sometimes people are called upon to justify not wanting to date someone, and I think you can say no to dating someone for any reason you see fit, no matter what it means to someone else. My annoyance at the original article was the claim that the boyfriend "respected" the decision while aggressively sabotaging her through shaming, being difficult when he didn't need to be, etc. Dumping someone outright is far more honorable.
That said, as long as you ignore the usual pissypants who hate and judge everything that the Big Feminist Blogger says or does (I'm sure someone's telling her right now that her willingness to have standards is privilege!), the comment section really made me realize what it is that I really, truly hate:
Ah I also cannot deal with people who refuse to eat vegetables! So irritating, and impossible.
People who refuse to even try something (lentils, green vegetables, a meal without meat) are just as frustrating as the vegan who suddenly doesn’t want butter in the house.
I’m a really bad person, then. I don’t care if someone has dietary restrictions (for religious or health reasons)–so as far as veganism or vegetarianism go, I’m more meh than anything. HOWEVER, if you just won’t try certain things because “EW THEY ARE GROSS” or whatever, then no, we have no future.
I suppose this is what really bothers me. The "must have meat at every meal, cannot even CONSIDER a SINGLE vegan meal" mentality is a new twist on ye ol' ew-gross pickiness. There's a specific kind of American pickiness—one that's often tied right up with male privilege—that is not only picky but also petulant, as if being unadventurous and small-minded makes you morally superior. The irony here is that a lot of vegetarians find excluding meat expands their palate, because losing the old reliables of hamburgers and grilled chicken inspires creativity. In my experience, meat eaters who roll with vegetarians with the most ease are the ones who aren't picky, and don't pull faces when presented with vegetarian food just because it's different than what they eat.
But hey, like I said, I can see how veganism might be a little too much. Which is why I only do it some of the time. The key, however, is not to date people whose personal habits are intolerable to you. Which is why it's easy for me to support Jill and still be annoyed at that article.