There's an unfortunate stereotype about vegans that suggests they preach about their lifestyle choices to everyone and anyone. Personally, I've met vegans who couldn't care less what I eat and others who certainly have critiqued my choice of bacon burger. Either way, it's never resulted in any serious hurt feelings, but I can't say the same for this father and daughter.
Recently, I was scrolling through the Am I the Asshole? subreddit — where people go to share their personal experiences and ask other users who was wrong in the given situation — and found this story by u/frustratingbaconeate, who can't quite see eye to eye with his daughter who newly adopted a vegan diet.
Here's the story: "We’ve always been a meat-eating family, we live in the rural Midwest, and bacon for breakfast is pretty much a given," u/frustratingbaconeate, who we'll call Bacon, explained. "This year, my 14-year-old daughter decided to go vegan, and I jumped to her support with enthusiasm. We learned how to substitute ingredients, cook new things, try new things, I adjusted our budget to include more expensive vegan substitutes for her, etc."
"None of this has been a problem for me until recently," he continued. "She saw me cook bacon in a pan, and then, I rinsed it out to load in the dishwasher. She exploded in anger...and said that that was HER pan for vegan food. I was completely floored and said, 'Kiddo, this here is a family pan, older than you, it’s not YOUR pan.'"
"She asked me to purchase her a pan that she can solely use for vegan food. I didn’t want her to feel weird about food, so I said sure, and ordered her a few colored ones that are only for her," he said.
"The reason they’re colored is so it helps me remember that I’m not to touch them unless I’m cooking vegan."
"That wasn’t good enough," he said. "Now, apparently the dishwasher is ‘contaminated’ with animal product, and the fridge has ‘bacon grease fingers’ on it (because I eat bacon and then touch the fridge), and she’s asked me and her mom to completely stop eating meat at home.
"I don’t mean I literally touch the fridge with greasy bacon hands, because I wash my hands, but it’s clearly enough that it upsets my daughter.
"Frankly I’m on team hell no. Her mom is much more amenable and strongly wants me to consider taking our daughter up on the request. My wife’s reasoning is that both our parents live close, so we can eat meat products there, and that she doesn’t want our daughter to feel uncomfortable in the kitchen. ... I feel like she just needs to adapt and live side by side, because I’m not going to stop eating bacon in my own house. Am I the asshole?"
The overwhelming vote on the thread? Not the asshole. However, there was some nuance. First, several readers who follow vegan or vegetarian diets weighed in to share their surprise and awe over how much Bacon was willing to compromise with his daughter — and wondered why his daughter couldn't meet him half way:
"Lifelong vegetarian from a meat-eating family and with a meat-eating daughter here. Completely, totally, 100% not the asshole. I cannot express what I would have done for my parents to be as understanding about my vegetarianism as Bacon is with his daughter. ... I never once asked for anyone else to change their diets, sponges, pots, or pans they used, how they used the dishwasher, or anything like that," u/Jenn1110 said. "Bacon's daughter is acting ridiculous. While she is free to choose whatever diet she likes for herself, she is not free to make that choice for others."
"I became a vegetarian at Bacon's daughter’s age, and I was still cooking dinner with meat for the rest of my family while making do without vegetarian substitutes. You’ve been way more obliging than my family ever was. Considering what you’ve already done to accommodate her, she needs to learn the all-important lesson all teenagers have to learn — compromise."
However, others felt there were still a few areas where Bacon and his daughter could find solutions:
"Not the asshole. Get her a special sponge she can use to wash her own dishes so she doesn't have to use the 'tainted' dishwasher," user u/DoffyTrash said.
However, a few felt as though Bacon should put his foot down when it comes to only eating meat when outside of his home, and that by doing so, this dad would be teaching his daughter how to cohabitate with people who have different views and eating habits.
"I've been a vegetarian most of my life because my parents were. A huge part of having a dietary restriction of any kind is learning how to accommodate and be accommodated by people who don’t have the same restrictions you do," user u/opaquecouche shared. "By caving, you’d be teaching her that her views are more important than others...and that everyone else needs to solve her problems for her."
A few Redditors suggested the daughter is just a teenager trying to enact control in the household:
"Not the asshole. This is about control," one user anonymously wrote. "She's trying to control your actions that don't actually affect her. It's a sneaky way to rebel and take charge. You have been more than accommodating. Tell her she's not allowed to make choices for other people."
But others shot this down, showing concern over how passionately the young girl feels about her diet. They suggested Bacon ask her more questions, and that he make sure her relationship with food hasn't twisted:
"Teenage girls can have very contentious relationships with food, and that can express themselves in a lot of ways. I think you need to get more information going forward. She might just be a teen pushing limits and seeing what she can control. She might also genuinely be struggling with ideas about 'cleanliness' as it relates to food," user u/Hennahands said.