The redhead and I went to a barbecue party for the All-Star game last night. (I'm sad the National League lost, but glad Clemens got shelled. You think Piazza was telling the hitters what was coming?)
My wife and I are semi-vegetarians. We eat fish during the year, turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas with the family, and I'll indulge in a steak twice a year. The hosts are pretty good friends of ours, so they graciously had some "not-dogs" to grill along with the rest of the full meat weiners.
We enjoyed the fake franks quite a bit, but apparently this anti-meat behavior wigged out a couple of the other guests. One of the funnier comments was a characterization of me as a "meat elitist" because I would infrequently eat steaks at Gibson's, but wouldn't have a lowly hot dog.
This was all in fun, and we laughed at our own expense, but there was one guy who kept pick pick picking. If we were having potato chips, he'd make a comment that we should be careful, there might be meat in there. When we sat to talk, he said, "If God wanted us to be vegetarians, he wouldn't have made animals out of meat."
Now, we're not vegetarians necessarily for ethical reasons. For me, it's mainly a health choice, so I didn't point out that, like animals, people are made of meat; I also didn't ask him if his family baked, boiled, or steamed his great-grandmother when she passed on.
About the time he dropped the fourth snarky comment or so, I'm wondering why this guy is belaboring the point so hard, and it hits me - He's a vegephobe.
He's attracted to vegetables, but hides it. Sure, he goes home to a nice dinner of pork chops or leg of lamb, but down deep he really wants a carrot. A thick, crunchy, carrot. He secretly worries that he may have vegetarian tendencies and worries that the right cook might cause him to question his carnivorality.
He's looked furtively in the stores at the Deborah Madison cookbooks, but quickly reshelved them when another carnivore came by; he lingers a little too long over the salad page on the menu of his favorite restaurant before ordering the veal; he dreams at night not of cattle on the range, but of a nice garden that, for some reason, he's flying over.
He has Burpee's Seed Catalogs hidden under his mattress.
Our Guy wants the Lunch That Dare Not Speak Its Name. He's a vegetarian trapped in a carnivore's body and he wants to come out of the meatlocker.
I can imagine the conversation,
Our Guy:"Mom, Dad, I have something to tell you. I'm not like other meat-eaters."
Dad:"What are you talking about?"
Our Guy:"I... I think I'm a vegetarian." (Mother bursts into tears).
Dad:"What?! You are not. You had a burger just the other day."
Our Guy:" I know, I know, but the whole time I was chewing I was imagining it was a lentil and bulghar patty!"
Dad:"Watch your language!!"
Mom:"It's a phase. Just a phase. In college, I was a VUG myself. A Vegetarian Until Graduation, but then I met your father!"
Dad:"Get out. I won't have vegetarian filth in this house."
Dad:"Out! And don't come back without a slab of ribs and barbecue sauce on your lips!"
Very sad. Maybe he can transition by being an omnivore. They eat anything that moves.
(Please note, before you write, I like meateaters. I don't have any problems with them. I just don't understand why a few meat-eaters are so wigged out by vegetarians. Now vegans - they're the crazy ones! )