Someone recently asked me if I was a “vegansexual,” and I didn’t know how to answer. I’m definitely vegan, and I’m certainly sexual, but I don’t date only other vegans. In fact, I have extensive experience dating both vegan and non-vegan dudes and have found that either scenario can have its joys and its woes. Lots more goes into compatibility than what’s on your plate, though shared values would seem at the core. That said, let’s not pretend that vegan crème brûlée is all there is to a successful relationship. Also, why narrow the options? Finding “Mr. Right” (or “Mr. Right Now”) can be challenging enough, so when you add to that that he also has to be “Mr. Vegan Who Went Vegan for the Animals,” I think you can see the limitations you might face. Let’s venture into the wild world of vegan dating—that is, dating as a vegan, especially as it applies to dating non-vegans. Even if you identify as vegansexual, these tips could be handy for you as well because, really, a relationship is a relationship is a relationship. Your Mistress has spoken.
1. Be true to you
As with all kinds of dating, don’t give up who you are for somebody else. Don’t try to please your prospective heartthrob by erasing your identity and forgetting who you are. Instead, arrive open, present, and curious about the other but totally trusting in your own choices, knowing that those choices are perfectly valid. Besides, there’s always the bonus of getting a self-proclaimed carnivore to eat more plant-based. Sometimes, all it takes is showing them that delicious vegan food is out there—they just have to find it. And you can lead the way, especially if you’re wearing something bright and sparkly (sequins are a must!).
2. Take control of the situation
I’m not talking about a whip and harness here (though that works, too). I’m talking about making sure you get what you need, not just going along for the ride. Don’t be so agreeable that you end up going to a steakhouse for your first date. Bad idea. When deciding where to go out to eat, come to the conversation with a few ideas for vegan-friendly dining. It might be your favorite all-vegan spot in town, or it might be a place with a fantastic atmosphere that has at least one fabulous plant-based dish on the menu. Girl, you gotta eat, so you take care of you and show this dreamboat just how it is. The gorgeous grub on your plate will assure them of the potential awesomeness of vegan food. Make them salivate and wish they ordered what you got.
3. Don’t try to make them over
Diving into any kind of dating scenario with even a faint hope that you’re going to change the other person is a recipe for disaster—not a recipe for lovemaking. Sure, by day, you might be a supervegan avenging the lives of farmed animals near and far, but for dating I’d recommend leaving the hell-bent activism at the door. Why? Because it probably won’t work. Your potential paramour will likely go on the defensive and dig their heels into their current ideology, becoming even less likely to change. So yes, of course, we’d love it if everyone, especially our lovers, went vegan. But what’s effective? With a potential lover, the best way to win them over is to show them the same kind of respect, compassion, and acceptance that you desire. Be the joyful vegan, and if this person is the right one for you, they’ll also respect you for you, however you are. And maybe one day they will make the shift—but keep that faith in check and stay present to what’s in front of you now.
4. Be realistic
Not every hot date is going to be the perfect fit. Whether you’re looking for Mr. Right, Ms. Right, or Mx. Right, glean what priceless gems you can from each encounter and have some fun along the way. The foundation of success in vegan dating is mutual respect. Along with that, be tender and playful (and say “yes” to sequins if that be your thing). Remember, each of us is sublime. And each of us is also a hot mess. A little humility, even if you’re a devastatingly gorgeous cabaret diva such as myself, goes a long way to nurturing a great romance.
Mistress Ginger is a cabaret performance artist and vegan cookbook author based in Minneapolis.
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