“You don’t eat chicken?”
“What about beef?”
“Not even fish?”
Those are the inevitable row of questions that I get asked every time I mention something about being a vegetarian. But those are the easy ones. The toughest question is always the one that comes after.
“Why?” they ask and I can no longer get away with a simple “yes” or “no” answer. But thankfully I don’t have to explain myself for long, because we live in Armenia and mostly people don’t have the patience to listen till the end – even if what you’re saying is the answer to their question. So we just skip to the second part: the lecture.
Somehow everyone thinks that they have a new piece of health advice that no one has considered telling me during my 6 years of vegetarianism. Either it’s that meat has certain proteins that no other food can provide or that I am a “growing organism” in need of meat. Sometimes people get more creative, but those occasions are so rare that I hardly remember their arguments.
Part three comes when they give up. They either give me the “you’re hopeless” look or leave me with a final thought-provoking piece of advice, “At least eat fish”. I nod, more out of relief that the conversation is over than an agreement to take their advice.
I have gotten used to it, though, and have begun to think that since no one else is getting creative, maybe I should. Maybe I should just record my answers to the questions Armenians ask vegetarians and press “play” as soon as the “interview” begins!