Love is in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches and many students are consumed with thoughts of seeking or safeguarding romance. This can be much harder for some than others considering different tastes and backgrounds.
However, recent articles argue that no group of people have a harder time finding love than vegans.
“Veganism is still a minority pursuit,” wrote Robin Banerji in an August 2012 BBC World Service article, “Vegan dating: finding love without meat or dairy.” “Vegans looking for vegan dates sometimes have a hard time,” she continued.
Despite the growing vegan population, it remains a relatively small group. So how do they reach out to fellow single vegans?
“There are social groups everywhere geared toward veganism,” said Jennifer Jovinelly, a sophomore biology major. “It’s not difficult to meet people.”
Such groups, like Temple Vegan Action Network, can be found on Main Campus. TVAN is an educational group that advocates abstaining from any use of animal products.
Corey Waters, a graduate student and sociology major, is a member of TVAN but doesn’t find his role as a vegan difficult, especially regarding dinner dates.
“Vegan food is everywhere and in every restaurant I have ever frequented,” Waters said. “You just need to be attentive.”
In today’s society, veganism has become increasingly catered to. There are numerous restaurants in the city that cater to vegan and vegetarian crowds. Even the dining halls on Main Campus offer menus that are suitable to vegan needs.
It’s not as difficult as non-vegans might assume to find commonality among students.
“Being vegan can make it hard to find a significant other,” said Jesse Delaney, a junior environmental studies major. “But it’s a lot like anyone who has a passion. You want someone who you can share it with or at least enjoy it with you.”
Delaney, also a member of TVAN, is currently dating a non-vegan, which she feels can sometimes complicate things.
“When I tell my significant other we have pancakes in my apartment and he asks if I made them or if they’re ‘real,’ I get really mad,” Delaney said.
Though, like Waters, Delaney agrees that the menu for vegans is pretty expansive and can include a lot of non-vegan favorites. PETA lists notable snack examples, such as Oreos, Kool-Aid and Fritos.
“Sometimes it’s hard to sync up your snack choices or find restaurants that have options for both of us,” Delaney said. “But I don’t mind those complications since I always get to pick where we eat. They always have food he loves, but he just didn’t realize the food was vegan.”
There are many websites dedicated to committed non-vegans who are trying to please their vegan partners. They help distinguish what is and isn’t vegan and give recipes that are suitably delicious for everyone.
With all the help designated for guiding vegans and non-vegans to perpetual bliss, opinions differ on whether a vegan diet and lifestyle even factor into looking for a potential date.
“It’s a big plus, but it’s not a deal breaker,” Jovinelly said. “The person must [at least] be vegetarian, though. That’s where I draw the line. Other people might draw it elsewhere.”
Waters, however, does not allow diet to hold much stock in choosing potential dates.
“My choice to interact with people is based on countless factors, excluding their relationship with veganism,” Waters said. “Vegan advocates can benefit from forming social ties of any kind with non-vegans because they can then encourage them to question the act of consuming other animals.”
Waters added that, if dating a non-vegan, he would attempt to convert them, but not to the point of agitation.
“Above all, I model the behavior,” Waters said.
Delaney, despite a successful relationship with a non-vegan, notes that veganism is still important in her love life choices.
“Eating meat isn’t a huge deal for me, but you shouldn’t be eating it every meal,” Delaney said. “I definitely need someone who can appreciate vegan food, even if they’re not vegan. Food is kind of a big deal when it comes to dating someone.”
Jessica Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.