Every day you learn something new. The other day, for example, we were handed a flyer in the street, inviting us to join a vegetarian dating service.
A quick checkup when we got home (we were curious) revealed that the board is a project of Anonymous, one of Israel’s oldest and most active organizations for animal rights. On their website, they are operating a vegetarian dating board, to which people post about their interests. Is this a unique venture? Apparently, there are others, like the American Veggie Date, which allows vegetarian applicants to specify whether their vegetarianism is related to religious or ideological concerns, and of which flavor.
Of course, what I asked myself was why. I mean, is vegetarianism such a fundamental trait that folks would apply to a specified board, because they wouldn’t even consider dating meat eaters?
I suppose everyone’s answer to that is different. Mine is, yes and no. There are some personal habits that I more easily identify as deal breakers. Smoking is one of those; nearly any dating board you see has a smoking/nonsmoking information. It’s quite difficult for smokers and nonsmokers to live together. One could also think of more than one milieu where people of different political opinions would find it difficult to share a household.
But what about nutrition? I’ve seen Israeli families successfully negotiating the issue of keeping Kosher in the house. Usually, the solution is that the secular person gives in, since the religious person can’t. It seems that vegetarians and carnivores can coexist even more easily, particularly if no separate dishes are required for meat. Even if the vegetarian party dislikes having anything to do with meat – including cooking it – the carnivore can chip in (actually, this could happen even with squeamish, not necessarily vegetarian, spouses).
The substantial problem arises when vegetarianism comes from a strong ideology, where the person can’t live with someone who eats meat because that’s taken to signify that the prospective partner is a cruel, insensitive person. I imagine in this case, vegetarianism in itself is not the issue, but it is rather an index of a whole other set of values.