Why I’m Marrying a Vegan
With less than a week between me and my engagement, probes on wedding dates, dress preferences and whether or not I’d serve my guests vegan food (duh) are just starting to trickle in. And though the topic of vegans joining forces with vegans has been one of my favourites to approach in the past, I feel the need to further explain why I’m marrying a vegan.
I’ll get the soft stuff out of the way and conclude I’m marrying this particular vegan for the way he’s always thoughtful, his shared appetite for doughnuts, and the sometimes insurmountable gestures of love he manages to shower upon me even on the days I don’t shower. Yes, I have found myself the kind of person everyone hopes to grow old with and that has little to do with the contents of our shared refrigerator.
But that’s what is so commonly forgotten. Choosing to share my life with a vegan is not for the comfort of never having the smell of flesh in my kitchen, for the practicality of sharing the same vegan shea butter, or for companionship at a vegan festival without a single eye roll. Those are all great benefits, surely, but could be easily found in a non-vegan. My second closest relationship is with my sister, a non-vegan who wouldn’t dare ask to store a carton of milk in my fridge, knows only to offer a swipe of lip-chap if it does not contain beeswax, and is first in line at our vegan festivals. Indeed, it’s easy for most to make exceptions, to meet people halfway, or compromise where it could stave off argument or help to create a more pleasant experience. But none of that has a foundation on morals or ethics.
We grow up building a list of deal breakers and must haves for the partners we choose. It might begin with religion, family ties, or a penchant for crappy punk rock music, but this list is typically broken off into sections that dictate who a person is at their core or what a person likes at their surface. Many, many people will enjoy a Beyond Meat chicken salad or a day at an animal sanctuary, but only a vegan is the embodiment of what the experience of that salad or the existence of that sanctuary stands for.
It’s often easy to keep friends who are non-vegan, to swallow their jokes about veganism or look away from their choices. Still, I think it would be a lot harder to keep those relationships, too, if I didn’t come home to someone who not only *gets it* but lives it. He doesn’t just see that it’s tougher and tougher to attend extended family potlucks, he has the same potlucks to attend. And so we do it together.
I know, I know…at least a few readers are spending forever with a non-vegan or are unwilling to shorten the playing field. This piece is not meant to serve as a judgement, but as a exploration of why we choose to form the partnerships we do. Sure, I couldn’t live with someone who dragged me to a steakhouse or expected leather shoes under the Christmas tree – of course not as that would require the alteration of my own ethos. But must more glaringly, I could never imagine keeping the company of a partner who could purposefully continue contributing to the same exploitation I spend my life fighting.
My pursuit of justice does not stop with me, and my partner compliments the good I try so desperately to extend out into the world. I believe that people fighting inequality can never be truly satisfied with those who are creating it, and that only through education can we bridge the gap for people we trust to have the sensibility to understand and participate in the fight. My veganism is not a diet, a lifestyle, or something someone can agree to do in my company only. I would no sooner date an anti-semite who promised not to tell Jewish jokes in my company, but felt they freely could in the company of others.
Respect has always been on my list of must haves and that’s not just respect for me or the server at a restaurant. It’s respect for all sentient beings and our role in promoting that respect from all. It means not just getting a vegan wedding cake or selecting vegan items for a registry. I’ve chosen to marry a vegan because that’s part of my own veganism. I’d no sooner compromise on a jacket than I would on the morals of the one I spend my life with. And I’m fortunate I’ve found another vegan that feels the same way.