Hi. My name is duchess, and I'm a vegan.
The reasons why don't concern you. No, really, they don't. It doesn't matter if I'm vegan because I'm an environmentalist, if I don't like to eat animals, if I'm just trying to be healthier, if I get sick when I eat meat or dairy, or if I just don't like the taste. It doesn't matter if I wear leather or if I don't, or whether I belong to animal protection groups or not. (As for which of those really do apply to me: I'm not telling. Some do and some don't, and that's all you need to know.)
I'm happy to enter into a debate with almost anyone on almost any topic. Anyone who's spent time with me will tell you that, going back to my parents being exasperated with my toddler self for asking so many questions and debating every instruction. I certainly don't mind ideological differences (in fact, I look for them!) and explaining my position on various issues--gay marriage, the vegan lifestyle, which television shows I like best, or what Lady GaGa is likely to wear next (although I'm not sure anyone could predict that)--is something I love. In fact, I usually can't be stopped from doing so.
But that does not give anyone the right to look me in the eye and tell me my decision--my choice about how I live my life--is wrong, particularly when we're sitting at a dinner table ordering food in front of a group of people (but let's face it, that kind of rudeness is going to be frowned on every time). I don't make faces when people I'm with order meat or declare a love for cheesecake. I don't glare when they say their steak is great or sigh loudly when they muse about wanting to find a good seafood restaurant. I would never, ever in a million years be that rude or treat someone else like they're too stupid or ignorant to decide what they'd like to eat.
So please, world, listen up. I don't care if you grew up on a farm, majored in animal husbandry, had a butcher for a daddy, think I'm a liberal hippie, think my food is unhealthy or just disagree with the vegan lifestyle on principle (or something else I haven't mentioned here). I'm happy to debate my position on issues with you--I promise, I am--but berating me (over the dinner table or not) isn't going to get you anywhere.
We're allowed to disagree--we're human. But can we have some class and common courtesy while we do it, please?
I told you my most recent story of a common courtesy fail--what's yours?