When my boyfriend told me he was becoming a vegetarian, I’m not ashamed to say I cried. (Well, look, I am a tiny bit ashamed to say it, but let’s not dwell on it. I was tired. My iron intake was probably dangerously low).
I just couldn’t stop thinking about the meals. Oh, the meals we’d miss out on!
Goodbye, Hurricanes (our favourite place for ribs). Goodbye, Sydney Meat and Wine Co (our favourite place for steak). Goodbye, McDonalds (our favourite place for dirty late-night chicken nuggets).
GOODBYE, NACHO NIGHT! GOODBYE FOREVER!
We’d have to cook different meals. I wouldn’t be allowed to eat spaghetti bolognese in the house. This was just the first step on a slippery slope to veganism, and soon, he’d refuse to put milk in my tea and we’d have fights about whether owning a cat was animal cruelty.
In short, this was the end.
It turns out, I probably overreacted. Living with a vegetarian isn't the end of the world. It's actually almost exactly like living with a normal person, with a few obvious exceptions.
1. The farting.
Oh, the farting.
To be clear: I have nothing against a healthy gut. If your colon is squeaky clean, then I commend you. But there's an acceptable daily intake of beans, and there's a vegetarian daily intake of beans.
There is a song about beans and farting. If you haven't heard it, I recommend you listen immediately. It will tell you everything you need to know and more about the situation in our home after dinner.
All I'm saying is, there's a lot of bean consumption happening in our house.
And not much of it is done by me.
2. The guilt.
To be clear, my boyfriend never makes me feel guilty about eating meat. Not ever. He couldn't really care less, to be honest. But it's tough to look at his cruelty-free meal and deliberately ADD BRUTALLY SLAUGHTERED FLESH to my own.
3. The ease of conforming.
The truth it, I'm not what you'd call a "culinary genius". My approach to home cooking generally involves my phone and a handy little app named MenuLog. If you never leave the house, it is cooking at home! It is!
Like I said, I never feel morally pressured to eat vegetarian. What I do feel is pressured by my own innate laziness to just join in on whatever delicious vegetarian meal is cooking in my kitchen.
4. The small-to-medium sized stress of finding a restaurant to eat at.
In the past, I would waltz in to restaurants without a second glance at the menu. As a couple, we were pretty open to eating anything, and we'd always find something, no matter how limited the menu.
Now, looking through menus is like doing an adult version of Where's Wally. Who knows where you'll find a vegetarian meal? Who knows if there even is one? Why is making things with no meat in them so damn hard, huh?
The whole vegetarian saga has brought us closer. Watch Mamamia staff confess to the moment they knew their partner was the one.
5. The medium-to-large sized stress of turning away from a restaurant you really wanted to walk into.
In an awful twist of fate for vegetarian/meat-eater couples everywhere, the places that do excellent vegetarian food do not do excellent meat. In the equally depressing converse, the place that do excellent meat (oh, Hurricanes, I miss you so) do not do excellent vegetarian meals. Or any vegetarian meals at all.
In fact, the only place in the world that appears to do vegetarian food and meat to the same excellent standard is burger joint Grill'd.
We visit Grill'd often.
Too often, the guy at Grill'd who knows us by name might argue.
6. The relationship-strengthening.
After I wiped away my initial tears, I realised something incredible: it actually doesn't matter if the two people in a couple eat different food. Even if they eat different food all the time! They're still allowed to, you know, love each other and stuff.
And besides, we still have nacho night. (It turns out the best parts of nachos are actually Doritos, guacamole and cheese. Who knew?)