The Faux Fur Parka & Me

In the Big Apple, what seems to be an infinitive city of lover options, the swiping game has become one for the books. Superficial? Yes. Efficient? Yes. Fair? No. What ever happened to not judging a book by it’s cover? The ‘Tinder’ game of swipe right for the hottie, swipe left for the not so hottie has become THE dating option for people ages 18-­24 year olds (with 7% actually 13­-17 years old… yikes!). With over 50 million users, what makes you special enough for someone to swipe right to? Especially when you’re in a faux fur parka…

Okay, fine. I admit it. I have been on ‘Tinder’ on and off for about a year and a half now. While having it, I felt objectified and judged by my appearance with messages that the words are too vulgar for even a sailor to say. When not having it, I felt like I was limiting my chance for love, or whatever the emotions would be from dating someone you meet on ‘Tinder’. When coming to terms with the fact that meeting people in the big city is hard, I have surrendered to this up to date form of internet dating.

After the fingers­crossed internal battle of, “Will the super cute guy swipe right back to me?”, if the quest is successful, the next battle is reading that little description that some people decide to fill out, but I don’t. Why? Because mine would be something along the lines of:

“Upper West Side, tattoos, biotechnology, bowling terribly, black nail polish, Netflix, vegan.”

This seems to be the way these little bios (if you can even call them that) are written. The last word in mine, one that is amongst the most important to me, is the one that mainly frightens me when coming to including it in my self description. Why? I am PROUD to be a vegan, but will it ruin my chances with Mister Swipe Right? Odds are, yes. And it has.

With all the trends of bacon and leather, it’s hard to be considered to fit in when neither of those things are on your list to talk about other than when saying how unethical they are. Usually after connecting with someone on ‘Tinder’ (or whatever other dating site I use), if the guy isn’t just trying to get in my pants and is aiming to spend some time interacting on a pleasant vocal level, what do they do? Drum roll please...they ask you to dinner. Ouch. There’s always a strike of fear within me when this happens. No guy wants to go out on a first date and hear why he’s, all in all, a mass murderer (that’s how a hard headed woman like myself would put it). And I found this out the hard way with, let’s call him, ‘Tan Guy with Glasses’. He was tan, had glasses, and was smart, successful, and kind of stuck up. One of those types that wore loafers and spoke more about himself than he asked questions. That was of course until we got to the part when I put in my complicated dinner order on our date: 

Tan Guy with Glasses: So... how long have you been vegan?
   In my head­- (NOT this again, please make it short and sweet)
Me: ver a year and half solid, some time on and off before then.

Tan Guy with Glasses: So, what do you eat?
   In my head-­ (No, I filter feed)
Me: Everything under the sun that doesn’t have a heartbeat or come from a creature that has one.

Tan Guy with Glasses: Wow. You must be hungry all the time
   In my head-­ (Who isn’t…)
Me: Not anymore than ‘normal’. I eat an obscene amount, ask my Netflix, it sees me do it (trying to be cute and get of the subject onto my Netflix documentary obsession)

Tan Guy with Glasses: But how do you get protein?
   In my head-­ (Is ignorance truly bliss anymore?)
Me: There are vegan options that are better protein than animal products do…

Tan Guy with Glasses: Really? You vegans are like a cult or something.
   In my head­- (What?!)
Me: No… (Wide eyed in shock)

Then follows… the awkward silence. And what do I say to try to remedy this sort of recurring issue? “But I can eat at almost any restaurant, it’s never really an issue.” He didn’t seem to believe me, looking at me over his hipster rims.

Once the food arrived, I offered to share my plate of veg, but he seemed put off by the colorful masterpiece and wanted nothing to do with his fork on my half of the table. Date with Mr. Tan Guy with Glasses? In the toilet. Done. Kaput. Didn’t ever happen again. AND he later wrote on his ‘Tinder’ profile, “NO VEGANS PLEASE”. That was bold, literally. I ‘unmatched’ him from sheer disgust and a bit of embarrassment.

What can be much worse than your dietary options dictating your love life? What’s worse than this epidemic of discrimination of the palate? Your own MOTHER saying she wouldn’t date your ‘kind’. Mother, I’m no alien, I’m an animal rights activist. She decided to say on the manner “It’s awkward when you order food, and it would be boring to date someone who can hardly eat anything.” Thanks Mom, for supporting the idea that I may die alone because I don’t eat baby cows.

Long story short, although you would think that people would be respectful of your choice to be animal­-cruelty free, it doesn’t usually seem to be the case. Carnivores think you are a part of a cultish, avante­-garde, hippie lifestyle that they therefore don’t identify with so don’t want to attempt to be a part of. And when I say ‘they’, I mean most men, since this has happened more than once. Let me get this out: I’m no crazy gal trying to add difficulty to your dinner order or take you to the dark side, I’m just a woman with a conscious mind and a heavy heart! Take that, you meat eating men you.

Going forward on ‘Tinder’, I am definitely going to be reading bios BEFORE swiping, just in case someone decides to make a comment involving Tan Guy with Glasses’ no­vegan rule. Where are the vegan men that I can eat zucchini with me on a park bench?

As for me, I’m headed to ‘Tinder’, to add my bio. It will undoubtedly include that I’m vegan, for if you can’t accept that, you don’t deserve THIS.

 

Daryen Ru is a young, gender-neutral person living in NYC dealing with the excursions of growing into adulthood and finding your way. Living in NYC since age 13, Ru was once a ballet dancer at Lincoln Center, but has now evolved into a writer and film director/producer. When Ru's not on (usually horrible) dates, they are being a vegan food lover and a terrible bowler, waiting for their moment to nail a perfect score. Daryen is constantly soul-searching as well as searching the city for new things to do and new people to chat with. Ru is an open book and is eager to share their stories and knowledge with readers, haters, and lovers alike. Please follow Ru on Instagram- @daryenru