I received this question about an important issue that comes up for all new vegetarians at some point, so now's the perfect time to answer it:
Dear Tofuducken:Dear Magdalen,
I have just recently become a Vegetarian but my family does not know this. I have a large and traditional family that will be having Thanksgiving dinner. There will be 20 - 30 people attending and there is no way they will not notice that I am not eating meat. Food is very important to them and they would not understand and be offended if I didn't eat the food they spent days preparing. This would be the absolute worst time to reveal being vegetarian and it would very possibly ruin the entire day. Explaining it to just my parents would be difficult enough but to scores of relatives... I just don't want to go through that. Am I justified in eating meat this one time to protect everyone's holiday and allow myself to "come out" in my own time?
Please help, quick!
- The Word of Dobbs tells us that as fully paid SubGenius Members, we hold an official, all-inclusive Divine Excuse. This means that whatever you ultimately decide to do, you should DO THE HELL OUT OF IT and not look back. Guilt is the most slack-stealing state of mind of all. Try your best to be a good person, do what seems right at the time, learn from the past but let go of the guilt and move on. If you choose to fake being a carnivore to avoid a huge drama that you just can't handle right now, leave the guilt on the plate with the bones. This ethical decision is clear, because you actually have no control over the fate of the turkey that will be served to your family. There is no way you could have saved that turkey no matter what you did. So do what's best for yourself. Here are some options:
- Fake it and get over it. Treat the whole event like a movie or play that you're acting a scene in, and just do what everyone expects, keep your head down, and get the hell out of there as soon as you can.
- A lot of people choose this route because even though experts tell us it's best to air all our grievances and be ourselves at all times and fight for what we believe in no matter what, sometimes you just want to see your family, hang with your cousins, have a good time, and then call it a night. And that is okay. Issues will get resolved when it's the right time for them to come up, and if you're not feeling ready to defend your choice, you don't have to start that battle right now.
- Liven things up! If you're feeling more energetic and self-confident, and you do feel like it's time to have this conversation with your family, look at it like an adventure! This will be ONE Thanksgiving that gets talked about for years! You can be sure nobody's going to forget YOUR name when they get out the photo albums!
- Start by arriving all Gothed-out, and announce you're a Satanist. Then when the family's worked up and all screaming and crying, whip off the fake pentagram nose ring and inverted-crucifix necklace and announce, "No, not really! But I am a vegetarian! And I brought a Tofurkey so you can see what my people eat on this joyous occasion!" That should make the evening fly by!
- Appeal to their better natures. The success of this one may vary depending on your family's character and composition. If they are lobbyists for the Beef industry you're probably screwed no matter what. If they're kindly, reasonable people, you might try bringing some videos or pamphlets explaining your choice in rational, nonconfrontational terms, and just communicating assertively but respectfully that you have made the choice not to consume meat any longer, so you won't be participating in that part of the meal, though you still love everyone and can't wait to try the mashed potatoes.