What a strip club taught me about veganism
Casa Diablo in Portland, OR, is the world’s first vegan strip club. Or something like that.
I visited recently.
Now, I’m kinda a prude (example: when a male friend knowingly told me to bring lots of ones on my trip to Portland, I thought, “but I’m bringing my bike — I won’t need bills for the MAX!”) and had never been to a nudie bar or had any desire to visit one, but felt compelled to go to Casa Diablo because it’s, you know, a vegan strip club. And I’m vegan, so I belong anywhere that’s vegan, right?
So I went to Casa Diablo. By myself.
I sorta thought it would be like the strip club in that episode of Parks and Rec, where they take Tom to a strip club to cheer him up after his divorce and there’s a buffet and Ron Swanson eats lots of shrimp (only sub “shrimp” for “vegan mac and cheese”).
Yeah, that’s totally what I thought a strip club would be like. I was wrong. There was no vegan mac and cheese.
A handwritten sign on the bar advertised a Southwestern tofu scramble, but all I saw were titties, titties, titties, and even a bit of vadge. I was the only girl in the room wearing a shirt, so I drank half a PBR and texted awkwardly with a friend before heading out.
The other girls left me alone, though I really wanted to have a frank conversation with each them — ask them how they got on the pole and whether they were happy stripping. Like a sister, or a mom, and all. (8.29.12 edit: I don’t mean this in a judgmental way. I’m just legitimately curious about their profession.)
The moral of the story is this. As vegans, we can be so excited to be vegan that we want to support each and every vegan business or product just because it’s a vegan business or product. We sometimes eat vegan foods that we don’t need to or want to eat just because they’re vegan and there, or get excited about products that aren’t very good just because they’re vegan, or become caught up in movements just because they seem like the thing to do.
But we don’t need to do this. We have choices.
We can so desperately want to support our movement, to find commonalities, to no longer be the weird kids, that we can lose sight of ourselves as individuals. Just because something is vegan doesn’t mean it’s good for us on an individual basis, and being super-duper pumped for something bad or weird isn’t doing the movement any favors.
Be true to yourself. Don’t feel obligated to support a business, product or movement just because it’s vegan.
You don’t need to take a second helping just because you’re at a vegan restaurant, unless you are still hungry. You don’t need a vegan tattoo, unless you want one. And you certainly don’t need to watch topless girls fondle themselves for male enjoyment, unless you want to.
Just support the things you like and forget the rest. Veganism isn’t yet mainstream, but we have options. Don’t settle or feel obligated to do anything you aren’t comfortable with doing.
Tags: Casa Diablo
This entry was posted on Friday, August 24th, 2012 at 10:58 PM and is filed under opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.