Friday, February 11, 2011

Dining Out with the Annoyed Army Wife

I’m so pleased to be guest blogging for such a MilSpouse institution! I love Melissa’s blog and am honored to be here. I’m an army wife supporting my physician husband, OccDoc, during his first deployment to Afghanistan. My little slice of the interwebs is the annoyed army wife.

If you’ve never had me over to eat dinner you would probably never know I was a pescetarian. A pescetarian is kind of like a vegetarian but they eat fish. I’ve mentioned it on my blog, but for people who know me in real life (my blog is anonymous) they would never guess that about me.

Initially I went vegetarian right around my 22nd birthday about 9 years ago. People often wonder why I made such a drastic change to my eating habits, and by people I mean my family and close friends. They assume it was to take a stance on Animal Rights or due to an aversion to meat. Good guesses, people, but wrong. No, I made the decision just like I make all my important decisions; I woke up one morning and my gut told me.

Let me explain a bit. In grad school I lived in a cute little apartment with just me and my house bunnies, which was down the road from Sonic, a dining establishment my hometown never had. I love Sonic, especially their hamburgers, and I went there quite often for dinner being a busy grad student. One day I woke up and decided my life needed a change before my Sonic addiction had a more detrimental effect on my waist line, so a vegetarian was born on that day.

I started eating fish again about 4 years ago to fit in and to make dinners out with army folks a bit easier and less explaining for OccDoc to army folks about why I never ate anything at neighborhood BBQs when we lived on post. The army folks we knew just assumed I was some sort of weird hippie freak because I didn’t eat meat. Whatever.

Enough back story, here’s my point. Most people don’t know I’m vegetarian/pescetarian because I don’t like the way I’m sometimes treated after I tell someone. I have never, ever made a comment about anyone’s eating preferences, unless they were drowning their food in ketchup (because that’s gross). :) Even though I’ve never done it to others, some people feel it’s completely acceptable to hold steak in front of my face, cluck like a chicken, or tell me how delicious their bacon is (honestly, I don’t care how good your bacon is, I still don’t want any, and I really hope you don’t choke on it). I can’t believe people I barely know think it’s okay to tease me just because I load my plate with veggies instead of whatever was just burned on their grill. I've even had people be pissed at me because I won't just try a piece of meat because they're sure I'll like it. Seriously? Don't try to 'turn' a vegetarian, unless they're trying to 'turn' you. My husband is a glaring exception to this, he has never criticized my eating habits, and he eats vegetarian at home. Every once in awhile he asks to go to a steakhouse so he can have his fill of red meat, which I gladly go along with and order fish.

I’m not sure if the people who tease me had once met a vocal vegetarian who criticized their eating habits, but I don’t criticize the eating habits of others for one simple reason: RESPECT. I respect others’ beliefs and opinions. And I respect my own opinions and beliefs. I don’t try to convince people my religion, political views or eating habits are right for them – my beliefs are right for me. Some times when I hear someone forcing their ideals or beliefs on someone else I have to wonder ‘Who are they trying to convince? The other person? Or themselves?

Food for thought…

The Annoyed Army Wife


Mrs. Mootz said...

That's just weird that people would do that! Do they stand in front of a diabetic with a sugary lollipop and tease them or wave caffine-laden soda in the face of a person with high blood pressure and heart problems?

People can be so mean.

I think it's great that you're doing what you need to do to be healthy!

Emily's Going Nuts said...

What is wrong with people?? I can't believe that anyone would sit around and talk about how awesome their bacon is, and that you're missing out (though... I am a firm believer that bacon makes everything better, I would never wave it in a vegetarian's face for fear of being vomited on). People are so rude. :( I enjoyed your story, though! It's great that you'll humor your hubby and head to a steakhouse on occasion.

Sarah Ann said...

I can't tell you how many people have done that to me. I'm a vegetarian and have been for almost 9 years. The worst was in high school when everyone just thought I was going through a "phase". Luckily for me, I have amazing parents who let me make my own choices. My brother actually became a vegetarian at the tender young age of 2. My parents didn't push him and he's never eaten meat since. My husband is also very supportive of how I choose to live. It's a personal choice that other people have NO business sticking their noses into.

Jenn M said...

Mrs. Mootz- yes people do that to diabetics, too! I have been type 1 diabetic for 15 years. Fortunately, I am on the insulin pump now, so I can eat what I want, when I want, within reason, but my brothers and some others used to tease me with all kinds of candy, Pop-Tarts, and all that. The difference was- I wanted it and couldn't have it!!!

Annoyed Army Wife- good for you for sticking to it! I could never do it, I'm a meat and potatoes gal, but don't let others try to influence you! :)

tehlia said...

Thrilled to be meeting more and more of "us" in the army world. I have been an on and off Vegetarian for years and for the past two yrs dip my toes in Raw food eating. I struggle at every army function and after the first few & having nothing to eat, I finally committed to being the "freak" that brings her own food to everything. I love it but I hate having to explain it. And hate even more that I get questioned about it. I, Like you couldn't careless what others are eating. I love questions about what I am doing from those that are genuinely curious and that is what my blog is about. Just sharing what I know.

I tell myself that the reason some have an issue and taunt you, me, us with what they are eating is because we brought up an issue in them that makes them feel self conscious, calls out their issues. Causing them to feel that they have to defend themselves the only way they know how.

Beth said...

I'm not a veggie, but I know several Army wives who are (and I've considered it myself). I always make a strong attempt at providing something meatless (that is still filling) when we have cookouts so that our guests will feel welcome. I typically do this even when I don't know what the eating habits of all our guests are, just to be polite. I can't believe that people would be so rude to you!

Nicky said...

If only everyone respected boundaries. I get more annoyed with people as I get older. I couldn't agree more with you though with respect to your comment about how you wonder who "the ideals-forcers" are trying to convince - themselves or others. People definitely have no right sticking their nose in where it's not wanted.

Maranda said...

Great post! I don't understand why people would do those things either. It's too bad you have to deal with that. Thanks for sharing your story!

Analiese Bruckner said...

I'm a vegetarian (Lacto, I drink milk, no eggs, fish or the like)and I'm going to be attending my first "Dining Out" soon... I'm really not sure what to do, I've read up on it so much and all of it seems like it's going to be a very meat-centered meal! I want to support my partner, but I'm also almost not even wanting anything to do with it! What's your suggestion?