Splendor In The Wheat Grass
My boyfriend of eight months is a vegetarian, and believes all animals are created equal, and that we, as animals, don't have a right to eat other animals. I'm very much a carnivore, and feel my body needs the protein, although I agree with him that eating meat is morally wrong. When we first met, he said he didn't care if I ate meat. Now, when we eat out, and I mention that my food smells wonderful, he launches into a tirade about how I've made an animal suffer a horrendous death because of my eating habits. Consequently, I've stopped ordering meat when we're together, and I've also stopped enjoying going out to dinner. Still, he's a gentle, thoughtful man, so maybe dietary sacrifices are worth it. It's amazing that eating habits can be such a problem.
Like a conch shell, which supposedly sounds like the ocean, maybe if you listen closely to your burger you can hear echoes of the cow screaming when it was slaughtered. Thoughts like that must go through your head when you're speeding away from your boyfriend's house, reminding yourself that you, too, think it's morally wrong to eat meat. And then... lemme guess... you make a hard right, pull up to an intercom, roll down your window, and mutter, "Bacon double cheeseburger, please."
According to your boyfriend, people and cows are born equal. Then what happens? Notice how cows have yet to build an International Space Station, or even open one of those little key-making huts outside the mall. But, does this mean we have a right to eat them? I think so--providing we give them a nice patch of grass, and kill them humanely. Still, your boyfriend's entitled to his beliefs, and you're entitled to yours.... if you can remember where you stashed them.
It may help you to understand that there are good reasons to eat meat. "Meat is the single best source of virtually every vitamin but vitamin C," said Gary Taubes, an investigative science journalist whose myth-busting book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, (Sept. 2007) is sure to revolutionize the American diet, proving that meat is not the health demon it's made out to be. Taubes pointed me toward nutritional anthropologist Marvin Harris' book Good To Eat, in which Harris explains that the ratios of essential amino acids in plant foods (except soy) are not optimal for humans. (The scientific jury's still out on whether scarfing large quantities of soy is healthy or safe.)
People have to eat huge quantities of nuts or legumes to match the nutritional value of meat "since the least abundant essential amino acids in plants are precisely the ones most needed by the human body."
If only your boyfriend could have his Tofurky without cramming it down your throat, too. Sorry, it isn't "eating habits" that are the problem, but his habit of berating you about yours; probably to the point where you can't even eye a happy-hour cocktail wiener without fearing he'll burst into tears and scream, "Murderer!"
(Are we having fun yet?) If Meatless Joe can't deal with your dietary choices, he should break up with you, not try to guilt you into breaking up with glazed pork chops.
But, the real responsibility is yours--to stand up for who you are, and find a man who's okay with it, even if the particulars aren't okay for him. Come on, admit it: Wouldn't you be happier as somebody's free-range girlfriend--free to prefer the actual steak to the feeling of moral superiority you're supposed to get from not eating it?
Sex with my boyfriend of a year is great, but he won't kiss me. Well, twice, he gave me close-lipped kisses, but that's it. When I said something, his response was, "I'm not a kissing kinda guy." Another time, he said, "Okay, I'll brush my teeth for two minutes and kiss you." It never happened, and he won't talk further on the subject. What can I do?
Love To Kiss
Oh, goody, the Marcel Marceau approach to dispute resolution, but without the handy pantomime gestures. What do you have to do, get him drunk--not so he'll kiss you, but so he might unclench his lips enough explain why he won't? Kissing isn't some weird sex fetish. I mean, it's not like you're moping around wondering why he won't let you bring in a team of midgets with a vat of chocolate sauce.
Unfortunately, it seems the "not a kissing kinda guy" is paired with a "not a self-assertion kinda girl." Unless that changes, he's never going to suck face with you and he's never going to tell you why. So, either get out now or get comfy with someday hearing a guy in a clerical collar utter the words, "You may now high-five the bride."
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, No. 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com.
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