It is now fourteen years since I plucked up the courage to tell my family and friends that I was a big old whoopsie. My mum had known for some time and had asked me at least once a month for three years whether I had anything to tell her and each time I said “no, I like women, phwoar eh, women eh, boobs and anginas, is that what they call those things they have?”
Of course this was utterly ridiculous and one February night I called my sister and mum to my house and told them of my bendery. My sister was surprised, she believed all my “phwoar Buffy, eh” talk. But my Mum just said “about bloody time” and gave me a hug. Telling my father was more difficult. I told him at his wedding reception. Yes you heard me right, I told him at the least appropriate time. This was mostly the fault of my father’s new brother in law and his boyfriend, who drunkenly believed that it was the perfect time to impart such delicate news.
This I have regretted ever since.
However dropping that bombshell was nothing compared to this, and in many ways it was easier admitting to a love of cock. In fact admitting to sleeping with geriatrics would be easier.
So here goes…deep breaths, just a sec somebody is at the door.
Right here we go, I’ve become a vegetarian.
Yes I know it isn’t that shocking. After all I’m not announcing my imminent death or a rekindling of my Catholicism–which I can assure you, is dead- nor am I admitting to some terrible crime. Why then do I find it so difficult to admit to something as simple, as a change of diet? Well, I think it’s my age. At 38 years old, I come from the last ‘meat and two veg’ generation. Back in the 70s and even eighties, it would have been unthinkable to put a meal on the table which didn’t include meat somewhere in the recipe. Meat was good for you, it built muscle and bone and made you live forever. Now of course we know that eating red meat is a contributing factor in cases of bowel cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However I can’t shake that early conditioning; it is hardwired into my brain, so turning my back on meat is a frightening prospect.
When I was a kid, vegetarians were portrayed on television and in film as pale sickly people who could barely stand under their own weight. Either that or nut cutlet wielding hippies who let radioactive rabbits out of laboratories.. Even now my closest friends think that there is something “weird” about vegetarians and they may be right. Who the hell limits their own diet?
Well I do.
This is not a sudden thing at all; I’ve been cutting down my meat intake since January. As of yesterday I was 98% vegetarian and if anybody asked, that’s what I’d tell them. The remaining 2% represented a cooked breakfast at the weekend or a packet of pork scratchings down the pub. It was my treat after a week of working hard, I deserved it or so I thought. However I was kidding myself: a 98% percent vegetarian is no different to a gay man telling the world that he fancies women a bit. It is a half measure, a sop.
So I would like to thank Michael Legge and Phil Pagett whose passionate, reasoned arguments and gentle encouragement, convinced me..
This will be the last you ever hear from me on this subject, I’m not going to lecture you if you eat meat or call you a murderer. That would be deeply hypocritical of me, as I’ve eaten, cow, calf, horse, sheep, kangaroo, squid, deer, pheasant, grouse, rabbit, shark, snail, lobster, crab, fish and probably a whole load of insects in my time. However from today at least, I’ll be able to look at an animal and know that I won’t cause it’s death by my actions. Others can have that on their conscience, although I doubt they’ll even notice.
I just need to work out what I’m going eat in the future. If you have any favourite recipes to share with me I would be most grateful. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll even publish them in this blog if that’s OK with you.
This has all been a bit heavy so here is a picture of some lurcher puppies.