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Why I Can’t Date Vegetarians And The Importance of the Superficial

February 25th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was having a discussion the other day with a friend of mine. We were talking about how people have the most superficial desires for what they want in a partner. On this point, we both agreed, but where we disagreed is how necessary they were.

She insisted our superficial wants is what stifles our dating life. We we can’t be open minded towards people who don’t match up with what we know are some superficial criteria, therefore we limit ourselves. I felt the exact opposite. We often make too many compromises on the things we desire in our partner simply because we’re pressured to believe those qualities we seek are superficial. The reality is, the reason we have these superficial demands is because they ultimately do matter at some point.

In the past, I’ve written about the importance of superficial standards in regards to looks, but whenever I did, people went after me as though I cursed their mother. So, to illustrate my point about the importance of superficial standards, I have decided to make an example of vegetarians and why I can’t date them.

At one point, I had a thing for vegetarians. I used to date one. She was fine and clean, and I attribute a lot of that to her diet. I’ve also written about vegetarians in the past, why I dated them, and why I thought it was hot when a vegetarian compromised her morals all in the name of making me a nice, juicy steak. Total turn-on.

But these days, I’m beginning to reconsider my leniency towards vegetarians and the like. Not saying they’re completely off the table, but if she doesn’t eat meat or other things that come from animals, our long-term compatibility concerns me.

Here’s the thing: I’m not a picky eater. I’m picky in terms of quality, but I’m actually the type of eater who wants to try things I’ve never had before whenever I go to a restaurant. A woman I dated brought this to my attention a while back. She said, “I really appreciate how you like to try new things.” (Just so we’re clear, this was in regards to food, not skydiving. I’d never go skydiving.) She understood me. I’m the kind of guy who orders beef tongue tacos. Those things are delicious.

Luckily for me, she wasn’t a picky eater for herself and had the same palette for the new that I possessed. And really, that’s what this whole “I can’t date vegetarians” thing is about. It’s not so much about me disagreeing with their dietary choices. I like vegetables, even if they’re not sauteed in duck fat or come with bacon bits. What this is about is I can’t date picky eaters unless they have food allergies (admittedly, even then I just went to tell them to eat the damn food and throw them a Benadryl).

Food is one of my favorite things about being a human being. I love being on top of the food chain and I want someone who enjoys that position with me. Ask my mom, my very first words were “I eat”. I go to parts of New York I have no business going all for the sake of some good tacos, or soup, or cookies. Of course, I do all of this within the restrictions of my diet, which require me to stay off carbs six days week and allows me one splurge day. On that splurge day, that’s when I’m doing some adventurous eating. Last week’s splurge day, for breakfast, I had Popeye’s with my eggs and home fries.


To me, the ideal relationship is one where her and I can go out partying, enjoying ourselves, and then go to some 24-hour spot to get a bite to eat afterward. I can only imagine the headache I would get trying to find a 24-hour spot that served vegetarian dishes at 4 a.m. Why can’t we just go get some Popeye’s instead? Or wait, maybe she can order the mashed potatoes or red beans and rice, but come on. One should never go to Popeye’s and not order the chicken. We don’t go to Disneyland and not see Mickey Mouse.

I write all of this to say, the superficial things we want in other people will ultimately not be so superficial in the end. What’s so wrong with the woman who likes a guy with muscles? Sure it seems like such a superficial thing, but when she needs to move some furniture in her living quarters, guess what? She has a guy with muscles. I get it ladies. It’s cool with me.

What’s not cool with me is compromising our superficial standards simply because other people say they’re superficial. We know what we like, and we know what we’re willing to do without. I can deal with the woman who can’t throw down in the kitchen, because I can cook myself. What I can’t deal with is the woman who demands I make a separate vegetarian meal just for her. We should be able to enjoy these steaks I made together.

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The Process: This is Sore Week.

Poppin’ Questions Podcast: Episode 26 is up now (from there you can also see the new Until I Get Married Podomatic page). Episode 27 is won’t be this week as I’m feeling under the weather, but hit me on my Formspring or email me at for a question to be considered.

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  • Irnise Fennell

    I totally agree. Everyone tells me my standards are too high but I like to date healthy (physically and mentally) because 20 years from now I dont want to be a widow. I have compromised that standard and now it brings many arguments about eating healthy and working out. I see 40 year old men who never took care of themselves clinging on to life and I dont want to be that wife who said I told you so. This topic hits close to my heart and definitely is the ultimate truth!

  • Rebelle


  • Penny

    i agree with your right to be as superficial as you want in terms of your dating criteria as long as you are willing to deal with the ups and downs that come with that.. i do find the example you share of not wanting to date a vegetarian interesting, given your own dietary restrictions. maybe she just wants to be able to share a pizza and beers on a friday night. maybe what she can’t deal with is having to make you a steak when you both should be able to enjoy the meat lasagna she just made.

    so do you want flexibility from a woman in her dietary restrictions where you can’t given the same flexiblity yourself? again, i agree with your larger point, i just find your choice of example interesting.

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  • CJ Golden

    I have to co-sign on this one. At first I didn’t know where you were going with this, but I see that this all makes complete sense. You can’t expect yourself to be happy in a relationship where there will be constant concessions made that will ultimately ruin, as well as suck all the joy out of what is suppose to be a beautiful relationship. Compromise is one thing, but if you like to try new things what’s the point of bringing a wet blanket to the party. In the end you will be left with a person you can’t do too many things together with and that defeats the purpose of being together!

  • A.S.

    Picky eaters come in all varieties. Furthermore, being a picky eater isn’t always unfavorable trait and it doesn’t almost mean the eater is “closed minded.”

    I think it’s important to consider why a woman is picky aside from the reality that some folk come out of the womb being real particular. For instance, is she well-read and desires to avoid foods that contain hormones, pesticides, etc or is she always on some fad diet that has her avoiding crucial food groups? Is she “close minded” to the extend that she thinks a food is weird just because she didn’t grow up eating it? I have had people stick their nose up at tofu while eating a hamburger. I have always wondered how someone could do that while eating the carcass of animal they probably wouldn’t want to stand close to if it were alive.

    The reality is that American foods are loaded with crap and many “foods” aren’t food at all (“edible food-like substances” – (c) Michel Pollan). In this nation, in order to be healthy, you MUST be picky to a certain extent. As a health-conscious vegetarian, I’m picky to the extent to which I avoid meat and highly-processed foods, but take me to a restaurant that caters to my preferences and there’s a 95 % chance I would eat anything on the menu. Keep in mind that as a child, I willingly eat everything my mother put on plate.

    For me, it’s important for my future boyfriend/husband to be health-conscious and be well-read about the food industry. To me, this doesn’t necessarily translate to being a vegetarian, but it does translate to exercising, eating organic produce when possible, being selective about the type of meat he consumes, etc. This isn’t superficial, it’s smart.

    It seems like your former preference for vegetarian women was based off the stigma people sometimes attached to vegetarianism. For instance, that some how vegetarians are “different” or “health conscious” when in fact some of them are unhealthy and bandwagon hoppers! But I digress.

  • A.S.

    Correction: Picky eaters come in all varieties. Furthermore, being a picky eater isn’t always unfavorable trait and it doesn’t –ALWAYS– mean the eater is “closed minded.”

  • A.S.

    “It seems like your former preference for vegetarian women was based off the stigma people sometimes attached to vegetarianism.”

    It would be accurate to say that there’s a –connotation– that people sometimes attach to vegetarianism, not a stigma. Hopefully, that was clear in the original post. 😉

  • GetRealStayReal

    the ones that got mad at you for having the so-called “superficial” beauty standard had to be ugly (and probably want you to choose them, thereby fulfilling their silly fantasy of being “the special one” to bring a conclusion to this blog). don’t let it bother you, bro. it’s totally natural to want a fine woman. go for it!

  • woman’s perspective

    ‘The reason we have these superficial demands is because they ultimately do matter at some point” in our lives. Whether or not these superficial demands matter to those who are close to us and or who we choose to surround ourselves, bottomline, it’s about who we are as an individual. Home is where the heart is. Therefore if dating a Vegetarian does not hit home, it makes it more difficult in wanting to spend time with that person.

  • barbara

    wait a minute, you don’t eat carbs SIX days a week!??? wtf????

  • Kady

    I’m a picky eater, I’m not a vegetarian but I only eat meat maybe 3 times a week max, and when I eat meat, I only eat Chicken, beef and fish, no crabs, no shrimps, no lobster, no pork. Part of it is due to the religion I was raised in, the other part is just due to me being spoiled as a child, my family never forced me to eat anything I didn’t like. But I’ve noticed how my pickiness affects people around me, I’ve been yelled at for it by boyfriends, managers and friends… I mean why do people care what I choose to put in my mouth.

    I understand your point but this brings to mind another subject of what is appropriate to order on a date. Like if I don’t eat pork and you order some ribs or pork chops you’re going to have to keep your distance until you can find a toothbrush and some toothpaste. I once had a date order fried octopus, I literally almost threw up from the smell alone. Yea, that’s superficial but it does matter, have octopus grease running down your chin eww….**shivers**

  • SLB

    To me, this makes total and complete sense. I think basically what it boils down to in a nutshell, is that people don’t want to date a pain in the ass or deal with pain in the ass issues. More often than not, a vegetarian’s lifestyle will become a pain in the ass to a non-vegetarian. It’s a headache I don’t need or want. Eating together is a very bonding and intimate experience, and I don’t foresee being able to bond with someone who doesn’t ingest the same things I do. What you eat shouldn’t be a source of a headache.

  • A.S.

    Hmmm. I understand the feeling of not wanting to accommodate someone– even in circumstances where that attitude should be nonexistent…Like when you’re riding the bus and a rider in a wheelchair needs to get on when you’re already in a rush. I get it.

    Nonetheless, I find this attitude to be so unfortunate. It seems like you’ve had an a bad experience/experiences with vegetarians or picky eaters who expect to be accommodated all the time and nag about it.
    Ultimately, I don’t think a vegetarian’s lifestyle has to be a pain in the ass to a non-vegetarian, just as a meat eater’s diet doesn’t have to be annoying to a herbivore. It’s unfortunate if it does come to that point. The diet itself should never be a source of a headache. For me, it’s the attitude. For instance, constant complaining about where to eat can be a headache. Partners should take turns compromising, IMO.

  • Jenny

    Exactly, Jozen! I try to tell people… you can go ahead and try something other than what you like in a potental mate for the sake of being open minded but for me, the fact remains: I would rather deal with the bs that comes with relationships from somebody who has the superficial stuff I like than someone who doesnt. If you don’t have the superficial qualities I prefer and I get mad at you for some reason, I can’t say, “You’re lucky you’re cute…” if they’re not cute to me… It’s easier for me to say, “Well, I never found you attractive anyway,” and chuck the duces.

  • Jes

    I agree that we all have these “superficial desires” and I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with them. It’s just the way we are. However, as someone who is up there in age and has been married for 15 years, I can tell you that it’s pretty likely that you will end up with someone who doesn’t live up to all the standards. The funny thing is, when you find the right person, you look past the superficial desires.

  • SLB

    Yes, perhaps I was unclear in my initial comment. It’s not the diet itself, but more or less the obstacles that start out small and escalate that go along with it. For example, a night on the town which will inevitably end in wanting to grab a burger or slice of pizza at 3 AM won’t be so simple when you need to find a place open at that hour that can accommodate both people’s different wants and needs. You are absolutely correct that it’s not the diet itself, but the attitude. During the honeymoon stage of the relationship, I am sure both partners are more than willing to compromise and may even find it endearing to do so. However, down the road long term, three years into it, I would be highly surprised if that level of compromise would still exist sans resentment. It’s a highly different lifestyle that isn’t really designed to mesh. Kind of like being married to an alcoholic when you enjoy throwing back a few glasses of wine in social situations; it would be inconsiderate and insensitive to drag your partner out to a bar to do so, and then kiss them with the scent of booze still on your breath.

  • esoteric

    “our superficial wants is what stifles our dating life”
    Yep, because most people who are so hardball about the superficial stuff don’t know how to look in the mirror and reflect reality…

    I mean come on … lets say Bob wants a girl with a banging body … but Bob’s body looks like

    I’m not saying it can’t happen but 9 times out of 1o that banging body chick cares about what Bob’s body looks like too and she probably spends time working out which Bob doesn’t do so he looses one commonality straight off the bat…

    Now Bob gets shut down by all the bad body chicks… now Bob got low self esteem or either develops a defensive ego issue … so now Bob is trying to compensate for his lack of body by throwing around his cash…. I’m going to stop the cycle right here…

    All Bob had to do was take his superficial needs of banging body down a level or two … maybe just a chick with a nice…. or amazing… I say be superficial but be realistic with your superficial…

  • Jc1983

    and Amen!

  • guest

    Very good point. As the saying goes, “there’s more to than meets the eye”.
    As far as the first thing that captures one’s attention, that being the physical features, it comes down to first impression. The rule is you gotta dress to impress.
    i do agree with you on your statement “Be superficial but be realistic”.

  • Evatweed

    Ummm…. I think I just fell in love with you.

  • Tea

    I agree completely.

  • Symphonee Willoughby

    Hmm – I’m actually a vegan, however NONE of my friends are, and none of the people I’ve dated are.

    While I understand the symbolism in your article, understand this, relationships are about compromise…I’m a HUGE food person, as a matter of fact one of my favorite foods as a child was bacon, and fried porkchops, but due to the concern of what we should be eating versus what we do eat in copious amounts, I decided to try no dairy, products, and I liked the outcome so I stuck with it.

    This hasn’t become the criteria for anyone I date, but to your point, this does require that I date someone whose just as open-minded, so if you like beef tacos, maybe you’ll be ok with trying these tofu or black bean tacos! So you love ice cream, would you be open to vanilla bean ice cream made out of coconut milk?

    I’m more intuned with the criteria that requires the openess and the ability to try new things without the compromise, versus immediately writing them off because they have an attribute or trait that “may” be difficult to accomodate.

  • anonymous

    I am not sure this is a superficial request. Eating is an activity that you really enjoy and you want to enjoy one of favorite activities with the person you love. What is wrong with that. If you only like someone because they had brown versus black hair that would be superficial.

  • Christina

    I agree. There is a very slim possibility I could marry a vegetarian. I’m southern, meat is in everything, even our vegetables. Hell, some people even put it in their mac & cheese (not me though). People are saying things like be realistic with superficial desires and that’s fair, but the comment discussing Bob with the not so hot body that wants a hot body,,, I don’t say lower standards I say better yourself to meet your standards. It’s not about compromising your superficial standards, it’s about making sure you meet them too. You want someone open minded in eating because you are. Are “superficial” wants should keep us on a level playing field with our mate. If that makes sense…

  • Kara

    Boooo! I’m a vegetarian and you seem awesome but this lack of love for vegetarians is not cool. First of all, we’re great people. We’re not picky eaters. I love Popeye’s red beans and rice and biscuits. I hate chicken. And if you made me a steak . . . much as I might be feelin’ you, I’d politely decline and just eat the salad you made to go with it. I just don’t like meat. If you want steak, I’d make it for you. If you love meat great and if other people love meat great. I’d prefer that the way all of food produced in the U.S. is improved. I love food and have a great respect for it tasting good and that means responsible healthy production. If you’re hyped on all that processed mess, you’re missing out on great tasting food and possibly a great vegetarian woman who’d prepare the food for you.