Vegetarianism.

You know what? I’m a lover not a fighter.

I’m not interested in judging people who eat meat, I don’t want to convert them. Vegetarianism is not a cult.

If you engage me in a conversation about it, I will check in with you, in case you don’t want to hear the gruesome facts that come with making the choice to continue eating meat. If you don’t want to hear it, I will promptly shut the fuck up. I am not your mother or your conscience.

I very much wish the same courtesy was extended to me.

I went out to eat recently, as one does, and ended up in an Italian restaurant. These are notorious safe havens for the vegetarian. Pasta is our friend. Even if all the dishes have meat in you can just ask for it not to be added. Hey presto, vegetarian option.

So, I ask waiter number one if I can have the chicken taken out of the tagliatelle with pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and cream. He’s like, ‘yeah!’ I’m like ‘ace!’

Then, a waitress comes to actually take my order, the first guy was just on drinks. She has a strong Australian accent, I think to myself, we are fellow countrywomen, surely she will be kind to me.

But no.

I ask for the pasta but she isn’t happy. The chicken is what gives the dish its flavour, she says.

I explain; I don’t eat meat. She repeats what I have said, confused, incredulous.

I repeat myself apologetically and ask if there is anything she can recommend. She suggests the napolitana. As politely as I can, I explain I am hankering for a cream based sauce.

She then cooly offers to ask the chef if he would be so kind as to remove the ham from a carbonara and add some peas. I could see the hatred in her eyes so I quickly agreed, bowing, scraping, then consuming most flavourless meal of my adult life.

I left a tip and my backbone.

I’m a lover not a fighter.

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