Fish: Nature's Vegetables

Story Submitted by Rupert:

I met a lovely young lady, Julie, at a bookshop.  We had a good conversation, discussed books we liked, and our various common experiences.  Everything continued fine so we made a date for a movie and dinner that weekend.

She asked me if I had a preference on place, and I mentioned that I was a vegetarian and told her, "I'm not militant about avoiding places that serve meat, but it would be best if we could go somewhere with a good selection of vegetarian food."

She said, "Got it.  I know a great place."  All fine then.

I forgot the name of the movie that we saw.  It was a romantic drama that she wanted to see because she'd "read a really good review!"  In hindsight, I should have asked where she'd read the review, as it turned out to be within the pages of a particularly vapid magazine.

The film was slow (at best), and to stave off boredom, I munched my way through a carton of stale popcorn.  By 45 minutes in, I contemplated eating the carton itself for diversion.  It was so bad that I turned to Julie to make some smartass comment, but in the flickering light of the screen, I saw her face wet with tears.  Her hands were clutched together and she was sobbing into her sleeves.  To be polite, I managed – with heroic effort – to refrain from making sarcastic remarks about the film.

Finally, we made it to the restaurant.  It seemed charming enough except for the fact that it was a seafood place.  Now this may only be my own experience, but I have yet to see a seafood restaurant that has anything remotely resembling decent vegetarian fare. Even a steakhouse will have grilled or baked vegetables and as many ketchup-covered chunky fries as one could possibly desire!

I said to her, "This is a seafood restaurant. I'm a vegetarian."

She replied, "Vegetarians eat fish."  Not a question – a statement of unassailable fact, spoken with iron-clad confidence.

I rebutted her, "No, we don't. At least, I don't."

"You'll be fine."

Not for the first time that evening, I wondered if the date was going poorly. However she seemed perfectly content and I didn't want to rock the boat... after all it had to go back out to get the fish of the day tomorrow!

I had a miserable excuse for a salad. She constantly asked if perhaps I wouldn't rather have the pike, or perhaps some tuna? When I refused, on grounds of vegetarianism, she gave me a look of wounded indignation and we spent the remainder of the meal in awkward silence.

When we parted, taking separate cabs home, I gave my best I-had-a-horrible-time-tonight-but-I'm-trying-to-hide-it-because-you're-pretty-and-we-read-the-same-books smile and lied through my teeth:

"I had a great time tonight!"


  1. OP, I'm sure you're a great guy, but this story does kind of come across as A Bad Case of the Spineless. She drags you to a movie you hated, and then she drags you to a restaurant with a miserable vegetarian selection, and you don't put your foot down except to gently remind her that you don't eat fish? You need to stand up for yourself more.

    At it stands, you let her dictate every major decision when it came to how you spent your evening and you hated every minute, and yet by the end you decided to lie to her anyway. That tells me one of two things: either you don't respect this person enough to tell them the truth, or you don't respect yourself enough to tell a pretty girl that you don't want to see her again. Either way, not a good sign.

  2. Discussion: does the word "respect" really belong anywhere on this site? It doesn't show up very often. Neither do spines.

  3. All we can hope for is that he learned from this experience.

  4. I would have been tempted to start talking to this chick like she was three years old (hell, I probably would have done it).

    "Vegetarians eat fish."

    "No dear, pescatarians eat fish. Vegetarians don't eat any kind of animal flesh. 'Vege' is the root of vegetable, not fish."

    Side note, I don't expect everyone who isn't vegetarian to know where the veg-option restaurants are. Unless we've known each other for a while (so they know where I can eat and where I can't, in general), I always suggest specific restaurants. If ya want to eat, make sure that part is settled before you leave your house.

    To be fair, I learned that the hard way, too. I had some "friends" many years back who insisted I'd be "fine" at a steakhouse, even after a bunch of back and forth with me asking "Are you sure?" "You're familiar with their menu?" "Are you really sure?" Yeah, the veg "options" were a tiny plate of iceberg lettuce and a dinner roll. (In my defense, every restaurant in the city I'd been to at that point had at least *one* veg friendly menu item, including bars and other generally veg-unfriendly places, so I was thinking they'd have a veggie burger or similar, as they kept insisting that there's be something for me. I don't take anyone's word for that anymore. :P )

  5. "However she seemed perfectly content and I didn't want to rock the boat... after all it had to go back out to get the fish of the day tomorrow!"

    Wow, what a hilarious comment! OP is SOOOOOO funny!

    "To be polite, I managed – with heroic effort – to refrain from making sarcastic remarks about the film."

    Heroic effort? He's a GENTLEMAN too!

    "Not a question – a statement of unassailable fact, spoken with iron-clad confidence."

    And SOOOO erudite and well-spoken! What a prize. Yup, Julie really missed out on something "special."

  6. Actually Kat, the word “vegetarian” is derived from the Latin word vegetus meaning lively or vigorous.

  7. ?? Did you miss the point on purpose? Vegetable and vegetarian share the same root. "Vege" is indeed the root of "vegetable" as well as "vegetarian." That's not exactly in dispute, here. "Vege" in vegetarian has nothing to do with fish.

    Why yes, vegetarian comes from the Latin root. SO DOES VEGETABLE. (And it doesn't mean "vigorous", it means able to live and grow: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/vegetable.)

    Bizarre. If you're going to be pedantic, at least get it correct.

  8. Wolfdreams01: ...Wow. The OP may have missed the mark there when he was trying to be funny, but seriously? Don't you have anything worthwhile to contribute?

    OP: You were rather spineless, to be honest. The girl was ignorant, but you could have less of martyr attitude. You should have suggested something if you weren't ok with what she wanted to do.

  9. ^Yeah, I was wondering how being well-spoken is a flaw, myself.

  10. ^ He's NOT well spoken, is my point. What I was doing is referred to as sarcasm. The OP is melodramatic and seems to never use a common word when a clunkier and more obscure one will do. He comes off as extremely pretentious

    Also - "Even a steakhouse will have grilled or baked vegetables and as many ketchup-covered chunky fries as one could possibly desire!"

    ...am I the only one who pictures Little Lord Fauntleroy when I read this?

  11. "Unassailable" is obscure? God help us all.

  12. It's clunky, and it doesn't fit well into that into that sentence. He puts extra words in just for the sake of putting them in. It comes off as pretentious to me.

    Or "within the pages of a a particularly vapid woman's magazine." Who TALKS like this? Just say the name of the magazine already!

    To me, intelligence is about expressing maximal content with minimal flourishes. That's just how I roll.

  13. Er... I have to agree with Kat here... I don't see how having a more diverse vocabulary is a bad thing. I speak and write like he does all the time because I read a lot. I think it's a little sad that perfectly good words are thought to be pretentious and archaic... Even if it's not your personal idea of what intelligence is.


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