Like Meg Ryan in WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, I consider myself low maintenance. I may even have a stronger case. I don’t ask waitresses for meal components “on the side”. I once bought a two-in-one shampoo/conditioner. And my Starbucks order has never included the descriptors “extra hot”, “no whip”, “double tea bag”, “grande in a venti cup”, “three-fourths decaf”, “room for cream” and/or “served by a barista singing the Armenian national anthem...in Swahili.” (In my early Starbucks days, I did go through a phase of ordering a tall dark Italian, but when I kept get nothing more than a strong cup of coffee I reverted to my standard venti brew. I now leave the dreaming to my lottery quick pick.)
In truth, I am not as low maintenance as I’d like to think. A colleague once said, “You have lots of quirks.” Not sure what’s the less offensive label, quirky or high maintenance, but I could never respond with a successful slander suit. I blame Miss Piggy. And Chicken Little. And Dory and Babe and the cow that jumped over the moon. Yes, I am a strict vegetarian whose REM visions of eating a thick slab of steak are not dreams but nightmares. (Seriously. While you dream of appearing in meeting for work in boxers, I dream I’m force-fed filet mignon.) Ordering off a menu can be a complicated process. Servers try mightily to suppress annoyance over my inquisition about broths, cooking oils, gelatin and that cursed cheese ingredient, rennet. (And now I have to ask about crushed beetles?! )
Being a vegetarian isn’t a dating essential like non-smoking, but it sure is refreshing. I don’t have to defend or justify my diet. There is no need to look away as my dinner mate gnaws on a heaping plate of buffalo wings at T.G.I. Friday’s or cracks open lobster bits. I don’t have to think about kissing someone with beefy residue on his tongue.
To be sure, if there were hordes of gay vegetarians on the planet, I would cruise tofu turf, but dating is challenging enough for me. I once did a worldwide search on a gay dating site with 22,000 members. When I added “vegetarian” as a search term, the pool shrank to seven. Yep, that guy in Helsinki looked dreamy.
When I do date a vegetarian, I become more hopeful, perhaps even desperate.
Please let this work. Maybe I can overlook the fact he dresses as Spock on full moons.
Sure he rambled for an hour about igneous rocks, but he makes his own vegan cheese.
When we’re both eighty, how wonderful that we can order one item and ask for a share plate!
I do not know how things will turn out with my current broccoli beau. He has admitted that his vegetarianism is selective. He’ll eat fishcakes and turkey tacos at a catered work function and I was startled that his Lexus had a leather interior, but matching my values isn’t going to happen. I’ll appreciate what we have in common, enjoy the dining experiences and see how things play out. If things go kaput, I have a backup plan: I’ve bookmarked this website.