So, this happened. A work buddy offered me a slice of pizza and I said, “No, Thank you”.
He looked at me like I am nuts and said, “Why the hell not, dude?”
“I’m vegan, dude”, I answered, bracing myself for the questions that were sure to follow.
“Dude, what about Chicken?” he asked folding two pizza slices together and shoving them in his mouth, as if to emphasize his carnivorous ways.
“Dude, a chicken is a bird, a bird is an animal, therefore a chicken is an animal, and because I don’t eat animals, I don’t eat chicken ”, I answer, thinking I need to start avoiding the break room at work.
“Do you eat fish, dude?” he persists.
“Dude, fish are animals as well dude, so no, I don’t eat fish,” I say, doubling down on the dudes condescendingly.
.“Dude, fish don’t have legs and stuff,” he argued.
“Excellent insight dude, but they are still considered animals,” I answered, putting both hands over my face in an attempt to escape.
.“Just pick off the peperoni,” he suggested, forgetting to address me as dude.
“I don’t eat cheese either, cheese is dairy, an animal product,” I explain, convinced he’s messing with me.
“What about eggs?” he asked.
“Nope,” I said without an explanation, and glad we had ceased with the duding.
He shook his head for a moment, chewing, and then broke the happy silence with a triumphant “Dude, what about honey?”
“Oh the F word,” I thought, “Now I’m triggered”.
I pulled my hands from my face, where they had been resting for the last few minutes, and looked him dead in the eye and said, “I know exactly what you mean by that: you’re trying to assess just how crazy I am, aren’t you?” I said.
“Yep,” he said with a giggle.
“It is one thing to be compassionate towards certain animals like dogs, cats, and horses, but quite another to show compassion for cows, pigs, and chickens, right?”
“Yep again,” he said.
“Because they’re delicious,” I said, stealing his punchline.
“Bees are just insects, and it’s not like we’re killing them, just taking their honey and I don’t even really know what bees do with honey anyway, nor do I care because they’re insects – bugs dammit,” he said, getting angry because I don’t eat honey.
“I don’t care about honey, but the bees and I have an understanding; if one lands on me, I don’t freak out and the bee doesn’t freak out either. Everyone chills and no one gets hurt.”, I said.
“Do you eat honey?” he said, as if I was being evasive.
“Do you eat honey?” I said evasively.
“No”, he said
“Of course you don’t,” I said, “nobody does.”
And then, the debate was over, as quickly as it started; we had reached a consensus:
Vegans don’t eat honey, but neither do normal people, nobody eats honey.
“I think old white ladies put it in their tea or some shit”, we both agreed. That seemed to settle the issue, at least for the time being.