My husband is a carnivore. And that has been really hard for me, a vegetarian of more than 25 years. Until we moved in together 18 months ago, I had not lived in a household where the refrigerator stored ham and chicken and other meaty things for more than half my life. The first time we had Thanksgiving together and my step son waved his greasy fingers around, I seriously doubted whether or not my relationship could endure. I cringed at the idea of animal molecules embedding themselves on the walls or on my plates or my cloth napkins. Gasp!
Yes, that is absurd. But decades of vegetarianism and Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation, and Fast Food Nation, and Super Size Me solidified my viewpoint on loving animals and not eating them, not just because a plant-based diet is healthier, but because factory farms and slaughterhouses are horrible places and overproduction of cows and other livestock contribute to global warming.
Until recently, I even believed that eating meat was a character flaw similar to smoking cigarettes. When I was first dating after my ex and I split, I was unsure if I should even date men who were not vegetarians. Then I reminded myself that I had been married to a vegetarian for 10 years (and with him for most of 20 years), and well, that didn't work out so well.
Fortunately, I am still willing and able to grow as a person. My husband is kind, understanding, generous, affectionate. He listens, reaches for my hand when we walk, and talks me down from my own special brand of crazy on days like these. He is tall and handsome and sensitive. He sang at our wedding because he knew it would make me happy. He often skips shaving because he knows that I think stubble is sexy. He does laundry, walks the dog, and helps the kids with homework. He always kisses me before his first bite of his carnivorous dinner. He introduced me to the joys of sailing and is a patient teacher. He laughs easily and often and even occasionally joins me at my Monday night dance class because he knows I love having him there. When he doesn’t join me at dance (which is most of the time), he entertains Meat Monday. And often, he does so by cooking on the grill in the yard, thus minimizing meaty smells in the house.
So I can say with all honesty, that my husband and my marriage are far more important to me than a cow. And with that, I’m going to suggest we go to his favorite restaurant this weekend for barbeque ribs. I, on the other hand, will be having the baked potato and a salad.