How to date a vegetarian or vegan.

It may seem simple, you catch someone’s eye, have a little chat and then decide to go on a date.  The thing is, most dates usually involve eating, so there’s a whole other element you need to consider if the person you are taking out is a vegetarian or vegan. There are probably a whole heap of questions running through your head. Where do you take them? Can you share food? Are they going to eat something weird that you don’t like? Are you expected to not eat meat in front of them? Will they start trying to convert you? For many people, going on a date with a vegetarian might be the first vegetarian they’ve ever met, so treat it like a learning experience. We are actually usually a pretty nice bunch that love nothing more than some good food and conversation.

Things to do:

Ask intelligent questions and show you’re interested in their lifestyle. Parroting out “where do you get your protein” or “if we didn’t eat cows they would take over the world” isn’t going to make you sound smart at all. Stick to questions such as “what’s the best thing about being vegetarian?” “whats your favourite dish that you make at home (and if the date is going well, when you will you cook it for me?”)

Offer to order all vegetarian or vegan dishes so you can share.  You might be surprised at the variety of tastes and textures you can discover by going meat-free for one meal. By showing that you are willing to compromise, you will also receive the same back from them. Plus, it’s more fun to share!

Do a bit of reading up before the date. Veg News and Ecorazzi are vegan orientated news sites that share lots of good news stories as well as personal opinion pieces. By showing you have a bit of knowledge around the topic makes you that much more appealing.

Offer to do something like have a picnic and pack a lot of veggie friendly snacks. It shows you are considerate and creative, which will score you big points with your herbivorous date.

Things not to do:

Don’t insist on ordering the most offensive, meatiest item on the menu. It just makes you look like you are trying to purposely gross them out. And if they are grossed out, they aren’t going to want to see you again.

Stay away from the “I know you don’t want to hear this but I had the best bacon today”. You are right, we DON’T want to hear that. It just makes you look like an insensitive idiot.

Make fun of them. Most vegetarians and vegan are quite sensitive, gentle, people and have a tough time when they feel they are being belittled, especially about something as personal and important as their dietary choices.  So stay away from offensive jokes and teasing (until you get to know them a bit better and you know they can handle it).

Argue.  A first date is usually not the place for a fully-fledged ethical debate on the morality of eating animals. Most people just want to concentrate on getting to know the person sitting in front of them and have a good time rather than a really heavy, emotional conversation.

Most importantly, have fun and enjoy your date!


Catherine Douglas

An Australian expat writer that has lived in Colombo for many years. A passionate animal rights and environmental activist, she is well known in Colombo for bothering restaurant owners on social media about having vegan options and not using plastic bags.

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