how does one look vegan, anyway?

Tom started his job last week (sweet relief!) and is doing his damnedest not to be “the weird guy” already. It’s bound to happen sooner or later, but with each new city and each new job, you try to make everyone realize how awesome and smart you are before they can peg you as some sort of deviant.

Sure enough, on day three, at a meeting with the other IT guys, someone brought doughnuts and offered one to Tom, to which he replied, “No, thanks.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I’m vegan.”
“Yeah, you look like it.”

What? How does he look vegan? Because he’s dressed like your garden-variety computer geek—like probably everyone else in the room? Is it the shaved head and earplugs? I don’t see the link between any of those and not eating a ham-and-cheese omelette. Is it because he’s not fat and has pretty healthy-looking skin? What is it?! Of course you can’t ask, because then you’d be starting a confrontation. That’s definitely a no-no on day three. (For him it’s pretty much always a no-no.)

He did just get new nonleather work-type shoes, to replace the old leather Doc Martens that were too big in the first place. But it’s not like the shoes have a little “beep beep beep—vegan coming—vegan coming” alarm. Here, take a look.

He’s not very fond of how they look, but the boy’s used to those slightly puffy skate shoes. These are more like the urban-compromise work shoe. And even as he fought the gag reflex whilst trying them on, he did admit they were “wicked comfortable.” They’re the Earth Brion Vegan, and he ordered them through Zappos so they could be easily returned if he hated them, then walked around the apartment all evening just to be sure they were keepers.

I’ve said it before that shoes are the hardest part of avoiding animal-derived products, and it’s especially true for men, I suppose, although I’m wearing men’s Ben Sherman gym shoes right now that are a little big on me, because I can’t find a dark, decent pair of women’s gym shoes. If I won a bunch of money, after letting my parents retire and starting my literacy charity, one of the companies in my bookstore/restaurant/place where bands could play/gallery/computer repair shop that served as training for high school kids/whatever else i could fit into my superminimall would be a shoe company. And I’d make shoes I like and not charge $140 for them. (Yes, that’s how much Tom just paid for these shoes.)

So now I just need to win that money…

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