Returning to meat

Last week, my flatmate had her friend round to stay. This is nothing new – often it’s not until the wait-time to get a shower on a Saturday morning exceeds an hour that I realise we have guests.

I don’t know her name, but this is also nothing new. My flatmates seems allergic to introducing people formally. So we shall call her Lucy, because it’s a nice name and I only have to type four letters.

After a brief exchange of pleasantries, Lucy wandered into my room and asked to look at my bookshelf before I had time to remove the handful that say ‘psychopath’ on the spine. As I sat on my bed, trying not to look like a psychopath, she pulled out a vegetarian cookbook.

“Are you vegetarian?” she asked.

I sat up from my nonchalant, horizontal position.

“Pescetarian,” I said, relieved. She’d know there was no way a pescetarian would have the energy to be a cold-blooded killer.

She told me she’d been vegetarian for ten years, but had recently started eating meat again.

“One day my boyfriend asked me what I wanted for dinner, and I just said ‘steak’. So we went to the best steakhouse and did it properly”.

She said not eating meat had made her ill, and she finally realised she needed to listen to her body’s cravings and take them seriously. She said she has steak once every couple of months, when she feels her body start to crave it.

“Eating steak makes me feel amazing. I feel so alive afterwards”.

I was jealous. Recently, when Nando’s messed up my order, I bit into a chicken wrap. I immediately spat it out and felt sick for the rest of the evening. I thought about what it would feel like to eat a steak, to have all that iron inside me. What it would feel like to not be tired and pale and feeble. Maybe I should consider it, I thought. 

“I’m not stupid with it though, I don’t just eat meat for the sake of it. I just realised that nothing is worth your 

Her words floated into my ears, taking on a much softer edge than before. She returned her attention to the bookshelf, and I realised my eyelids were were beginning to descend.


  1. Hi Jessica,

    You mention psychopaths. Have you read Zero degrees of empathy by Simon Baron-Cohen?

    Really interesting book; It outlines the theory of empathy's relation to human cruelty and kindness.

  2. I only eat meat when I'm hungry, which is 3 times a day. Seems to work out okay for me. Not so much for the cow, but I mean, I'm doing well.

  3. I'm a vegetarian, but I don't believe not eating meat makes you ill. I know what you mean about iron though, but I take a multivitimin with iron everyday and since I've been doing that I feel fantastic! x