hi. i’m michele and i’m vegan.

This is SO not how I introduce myself. I don’t often wear my Herbivore sweatshirt (though I love it and it is super comfy and made by American Apparel) and I never wear message buttons or patches. I don’t have vegan or AR stickers on my car. I don’t do these things because (as those who know me know I’ve said before) I keep my religion in my pants, so to speak. If I were Christian or Jewish or any other religion known for its pendants, I don’t think you’d know it by looking at me either. If it comes up, well then, it comes up.

As I’m about to start in a new office on Monday, I’ve not been too concerned about outing myself; it usually comes up the first time someone brings in treats*, and possibly when you have to go to lunch with a new coworker. Well, I just received an e-mail from my new boss that I should not bring a lunch Monday because we’re all going out.

I decided not to say anything. I’m pretty good at finding something to eat, and Portland eateries tend to have some veg-friendly items on the menu. And I don’t want to prompt anyone to try to accommodate me. I don’t know the area all that well (that neighborhood, not at all) so I can’t make a suggestion, and I probably wouldn’t even if I could.

I guess on Monday, if there’s a “where to go” discussion, I could mention it so I could peep the menu online just to make sure I could find something. But if not, there’s almost always a grilled chicken salad minus the grilled chicken and cheese and all that other crap that’s not vegetables.

I don’t want this to sound like I’m self-hating or apologetic or closeted. It’s just that when someone meets me, I want them to meet all of me as a package. I’m a complex gal, and to hold one part of it out in front of the rest just isn’t my style. I’m not trying to joust anyone here.

*At my last job, they had cake and ice cream for someone’s birthday and it was maybe the third time I’d declined birthday treats (maybe they thought I was on a diet). One woman gave me a “Come on,” so I told her I don’t eat animal products. She then asked, “Well, what about cake?”

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