The Ultimate Pickle – How adhering to your vegan or vegetarian lifestyle around the guys threatens your man card

A report released last week by the Royal Geographical Society revealed that men who can’t (or don’t want to) eat meat feel peer pressure to order vegetarian or vegan options when in public with other men.

My list of unofficial “Rules For Men” is relatively short, but close to the top of the list is to give peer pressure the middle finger. We’re not in high school anymore. Who gives a shit what anyone else thinks about what you put into your mouth?

When I took a three year hiatus from drinking alcohol, I faced similar pressure. But I stuck to my guns. Was it hard not to have a beer with the guys after a round of golf on a hot day?

Absolutely.

Did I drink water or gatorade instead and continue to enjoy myself with the boys?

Absolutely.

Did they try to persuade me to “just order a taster glass”?

Absolutely.

But I didn’t.

I stopped drinking for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, I wanted to prove to myself that I could – that I didn’t need it. There were health concerns too. Daily consumption of beer, wine, and various spirits gave me a nice fat beer belly. I was working hard to get rid of that and get my health back. But most of all, I needed to prove to myself that it didn’t have a hold on me anymore.

If you’ve made any lifestyle decision for your own benefit – be it physical health, mental health, or for ethical reasons, it’s no one’s place to brow beat you for it. Fuck them, plain and simple. It’s no less “manly” to order a salad or a mountain of grilled vegetables than it is a bacon cheeseburger. Food is food.

Given that, I’ve tried giving meat a backseat and I found it hard. I did it out of curiosity – to see if I could live without it. I couldn’t. But I respect those who make the choice to give it up and make it stick.