True (If Slightly Unbelievable) Dating Story
When I first
decided it was time to throw myself into back into the
dating pool, I had to confront the fact that, as a vegan,
I was in a definite minority. In fact, living in a city
whose nickname is "cowtown," admitting that I was vegan
was not something that was safe to do except in carefully
How could I
find a partner whose beliefs were compatible with mine?
Obviously, a vegan partner would be ideal, but surely
I would be severely limiting my choices, if indeed I
could find a vegan woman at all. Maybe I could settle
for a lacto-ovo vegetarian? Still pretty slim pickings
-- I might have to settle for an open-minded omnivore.
I had heard of such mixed relationships working, though
I knew I'd have to set some firm boundaries. The one
thing I was sure of was that there was no way I could
ever compromise my beliefs, even to find a partner.
I knew I'd rather stay single than stop being vegan.
I joined the
local vegetarian society in the hopes of meeting people
who were sympathetic to veganism. I quickly discovered
that it was moribund. A handful of people were hanging
on to the memories of the "glory days," when a public
denunciation of "Vegetarian Week" by the beef industry
had temporarily swelled membership to several hundred.
While the pot-luck dinners were vegan, and I did learn
of several veg-friendly restaurants, there was not much
happening, and few people to meet.
How else could
I meet a compatible partner? I knew that, to me, my
values were everything. But veganism was not my only
value. Perhaps if I followed up on my other values,
I could find someone with similar views. Probably not
vegan, I rationalized, but compatible, at least. I knew
I needed to find some activity that would put me in
contact with lots of people.
I had heard of a particular hiking club. While out hiking
with friends, we would often be passed by a large herd
of determined-looking middle-aged hikers. "Who were
they?", I would ask. "They're the Ramblers." I had always
dismissed them, since they were "old fogies," and they
had a reputation as a lonely-hearts club. I was way
too cool for that.
Now, as a single,
middle aged man, I was finding that my old hiking buddies
were too busy taking their kids to soccer practice to
go hiking any more. Hiking, cross-country skiing, and
outdoor activity in general, I had come to realize,
were a reflection of some of my core values concerning
nature and the sanctity of life, yet I was doing less
and less of them. Suddenly a club for middle aged hikers,
with a reputation for matchmaking, was looking pretty
a year: I am a member of the Ramblers, and I have met
a pretty, athletic, female hiker with a delightful sense
of humor. There follows a series of coincidences that
would make the most serious skeptic believe in karma.
Just as I am
trying to get up the nerve to suggest getting to know
one another a bit better, and trying to figure how to
go about it, she calls me up to ask if I can give her
a ride to club meetings. Turns out, she doesn't have
a car, and I am the closest member to where she lives.
Then, after a couple of weeks of driving her to meetings,
she tells me that there's an outdoor concert she wants
to go to (a flamenco guitarist whose music I happen
to like), but that she's afraid to walk home alone at
night after it. Would I mind going with her as a "bodyguard?"
To this day, she swears that she had no ulterior motives,
and that she was not thinking of it as a "date."
So, there we
are, sitting on the grass in the park, listening to
the music, casually chatting and, in the process, feeling
more and more comfortable with each other. The conversation
turned to the various fast food booths that surrounded
the stage area, and, figuring that I might as well put
my cards on the table early, I mentioned that there
was probably nothing there that I could eat, since I
was vegetarian. (It is a safe assumption here that most
people have never heard the word "vegan.") Well, I was
totally blown away when she told me that she had been
vegetarian for years. She even asked me if I was vegan,
and said that she had always wanted to go vegan for
ethical reasons, but never had because she had never
been able to find out about the nutritional aspects
of it. The rest, as they say, is history.
The moral of
the story, if there is one, is that values are everything.
Follow your values -- not just veganism itself, but
the other values that you hold dear that support and
reinforce veganism. In my case, it was following my
love of nature and the outdoors that led me to find
Calgary, AB, Canada
- n e x t e
s s a y -
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