Monday, March 5, 2012

The Right Reaction

I got to hit the road again with my buddy, Holly Spangler. We headed to Chicago (i.e., the land of milk, honey, and Nordstrom), where we were in attendance at another event for Illinois Farm Families. Holly recapped the event nicely, and you can read it here.

Anyway, the event was really interesting. While it was all for a good cause, supporting the Be Bold, Go Red campaign for the American Heart Association, the networking we did while we were there was fascinating. I met other women who blog, stay at home, work PR, produce television shows, and also enjoy a cocktail, getting their eyebrows threaded (yes, honestly, I did this, and I highly recommend it) and discussing their lives, children, husbands, etc.

I tried desperately to fit in.

I tried.

I tried to not poke around too much at the food, which was not the average Farmington party fare. There was discussion that the baba ganoush  was not really good baba ganoush (which Holly and I laughed at later, and I claimed I thought it was just a nickname Owen Wilson used for Vince Vaughan in Wedding Crashers...which, ironically, Vince Vaughan's mother was there and her book, which had her in a pair of stretchy pants on the cover and discussed meditation, was part of our swag bag...weird). Anyway, except for a few topics (traffic and Greek food, mainly), Holly and I fit in great. We had a great time.

However, it wasn't the topics that I worried about discussion, it was my reaction to one. Our hostess for the evening was Sara. She is fabulous, great networker, excellent blogger, really interesting. Anyway, we got on the subject of hair or skin or something (there were lots of spa treatments available that night), and she mentioned that she had gone Vegan.


This topic came up a few times during the course of the evening, and each time, women around Holly and I proclaimed to her,  "Oh, good for you!"

Good for you!

 Really? Good for you?

It's not like she said she finished a marathon, or her kids had gotten into a really good college or she had received a promotion.

She went Vegan.

Good for you?

Now, please don't take this as a knock at being Vegan. Sara explained that dairy and meat and the like were making her feel weird, her skin acted funny, etc. I get that. I'm all for not having crazy skin and not feeling gassy. However, the reaction was interesting to me. Why is it good for you? Why is going Vegan, not purchasing, not eating, not utilizing the very product in which we produce, the product's profits we use to pay for insurance and gas and preschool and jeans (the ones I got for a STEAL at Nordstrom that very day!) good for her?

Why it is good for her? Why didn't I step up and say that I had gone anti-Vegan...eating meat and/or drinking milk at nearly every meal? Why didn't I pipe up and ask more questions, other than, "So, your skin is better, huh?"

Duh.That's just what she said!!

Why didn't I have the right reaction?

Because, it's still not socially acceptable to be pro-beef in the presence of trendy women, I think. I was there as an ambassador of the agricultural world, and I just responded, "Oh!" I was the girl in the half marathon two springs ago wearing a stinking steak on my shirt for TEAM BEEF, and I said, "OH!"


Why didn't I have the right reaction? Why didn't I ask her if she had tried switching make up as I had a few years ago, which did wonders for my skin (thank you, Bare Minerals!). Why didn't I defend the beef industry by using that anecdotal evidence?

Because I was afraid of not fitting in.

Welcome to high school again.


Anyway, I'm doing better through writing this as an afterthought I guess, but I need to step it up a bit. That's why I'm put in places like this event. I should have been less concerned about the right reaction, and just been at peace with my reaction.

So, my hope is that the next time I'm faced with a "I went Vegan, so good for you" conversation, I will continue to be respectful, but respectfully explain to them that not all that crazy anti everything bit works all the time.

Not to mention...what the heck and where in the heck do you EAT?


  1. I totally agree with your reaction and your re-reaction!

  2. LOVE! So true. I wish I had thought to ask her if she knew ALL THE THINGS beef or beef byproducts are found in (leather, makeup, cleaning products, etc) and what was her plan for avoiding all of that. I think it's a trendy thing to do or say in that sort of context, and you're exactly right - it's very un-trendy to disagree in a place where "you're so skinny!" is meant to be a compliment. But I saw a lot of agreeing and gushing that night over all sorts of topics...and I often wondered whether they really believed what they were gushing over. Many behavioral studies could be done there...!

  3. This post made me chuckle, because I get it all of the time! Not for being vegan, but for adopting. I have dear friends on both sides of this tall fence. I can't speak for all of them, but the ones I know up close and personal, they have truly chosen vegan or beef-eatin' out of educated conviction, not because of trends. We tend to fall somewhere in the middle. We do eat quite a number of non-meat dishes each week/month. But I have to say we also thoroughly enjoyed the most scrumptious sirloin last weekend, which was grown on our friend's local farm. ;) I never know how to respond to people when they tell me "good for you". It's actually nicer than what many others have said, so perhaps I should be thankful. ;)

  4. Great post! I can't stand it when people say they have gone vegan and I am a lot like you and just keep my thoughts to myself. I try to tell myself that in order to be a face for agriculture, I have to speak up on those topics but sometimes it's so hard to fit in.

  5. I love BEEF! Vegans can be politely reminded that the majority of their vegan meals are grown by FARMERS...and I know a few RANCHERS who grow their own ALFALFA SPROUTS...if the dang heifers don't get to them first! Wink, wink, who needs farmers when we've got grocery stores...wink, wink. You represented, and you represented well b/c you were real. I don't think I would start preaching the benefits of BEEF in a room full of strangers, either, so you represented me realistically. Everyday, you tell about your life and things that I relate to, poop of animals on boots, coveralls, breeding and calving. You represent me and lots of other agriculturalists realistically. And keep up the good work! You do what you do because you love it....was she/is she doing it b/c its a fad and "cool?" Now that's high school!