Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wine is not vegan, for fuck's sake. What, you didn't know that?

So, I've been volunteering at a literacy organization in Echo Park, and they regularly host drop in drinking nights, during which they invite volunteers to meet up for drinks at a bar of interest. Since this week's bar was just down the road and since I would have otherwise spent the night watching Pride and Prejudice for the 47th time, I decided to check it out.

I knew within two minutes of walking in that I was doomed. First of all, most of the attendees were in their early 20s, which would have been fine, but they were also the kind of socially awkward, aspiring hipster twenty-somethings that used to wreak havoc on my self-esteem, and hence my social life. I immediately had a (very unpleasant) flashback to being 22 and having a vague sense that something I was wearing was hopelessly uncool in ways I could never even imagine. What's funny is that I have spent the last ten years living in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and LA, epicenters of hipster attitude, and I have long since learned how to not let it bother me. It is, after all, a manifestation of profound insecurity on the part of the perpetrator, and over the years I've found it's easiest to deal with it by keeping in mind the fact that deep down these people are absolutely terrified that someone will discover that 311 was their favorite band until well into college.

But man, there is something about these early 20s hipsters that still kills me. They're especially vicious -- it's as though they're testing out how badly they can behave without making other hipsters think they're total assholes. (That can be pretty bad.) And although, to be fair, there were only a couple of these types present tonight, they were enough to make the whole affair insufferable. The general disinterest each person displayed during introductions was annoying, but things didn't get really bad until the table talk turned to beers. One girl mentions that not all beer is vegan - did we know that? Fortunately we were at a German bar, however, and they had centuries old quality standards to ensure that our brews would remain untainted by animal products of any kind. Nods around the table. So I'll drink beer, this same girl continues, but not wine. Wine is not vegan, because some winemakers use a filter during processing that is made out of fish parts. It's very sad.

Mind you, this was all stated in the most supercilious way possible, and accompanied by looks around the table to make sure that we were all aware of this unfortunate fact. If I had had a taser available to me at this point, I would have straight tased this bitch. WINE IS NOT VEGAN! You pretentious loser! You pompous, humorless dreg of humanity! Oh, to think of all the fish that have suffered for all the wine we humans have been consuming for the past several millennia. So heartless, so tragic.

And in this way, I was undone. No, I didn't laugh and ask her to repeat herself to make sure I heard it correctly. No, I didn't look down my nose at her and make a snide remark about how I felt sorry for her and all that she was missing. Instead, I went into a fugue state for a full five minutes. The world went black. I had a vague sense that I should say something to make it clear that I was not complicit in this nonsense, but the enormity of the reality that some people actually hold this view stunned me silly. Stupefied me. I'm still processing it.

As soon as I recovered my senses, I laid down a ten and fled the scene. And thus ended this week's (and possibly this entire month's) attempt at networking with like-minded people. I got home, poured a glass of cab and set about hoping 2010 would bring more wine and less assholes.


Alex said...

I bet everyone else at that table thought that girl was ridiculous too, but were too chickenshit to say anything about it. I bet that if you'd have scoffed at that, everyone else would have joined you. They're just young, insecure kids that are too scared to say anything that might be construed as uncool. Fuck 'em. That girl will start drinking wine as soon as she dates a booze hound or finds some wine-swigging girl that she looks up to. I've never met anyone that was in any way straightedge or militantly vegan or whatever in their late teens and early 20s who maintained that beyond 26. Hell, the biggest cokehead/drug dealer I know in ATL used to be straightedge.
Just a different manifestation of insecurity...

Also, I'm really interested in this fish parts in wine making thing. Which parts? How does this work? I'm going to do a little research...

Shama said...

In my dealings with Jane Donuts, I have never seen her in a hopelessly uncool outfit.

Alex is right - everyone at the table probably thought she was a loser. I think in this particular discussion, I might have said something like, "Well, I'm not going to give up steak, so I doubt I'm going to give up wine because they use a few fish parts." And then I would have looked at her shoes to see if she was wearing some form of leather boot. I'd say the chances of that were above 50%.

Jane Donuts said...

Thanks, girls, I totally agree, I'm sure everyone else thought it was ridiculous too, but for some reason this just floored me. I am not so quick with a bitchy retort as I used to be! Getting soft with age, I suppose.

Alex, I googled it and it is legit - many winemakers use a filter made of isinglass, which is made from fish bladders, during the fining process. God help us all, vegans are actually out there worrying about this.

Alex said...

Fish bladders seem like they would be very tiny and impractical. Thanks for doing the legwork on that, Jane.

Do you think vegans wouldn't eat vegetables if they were fertilized with manure? Also, it would be interesting (not really) to engage a vegan in a debate about what they consider life. Because I'm sure that zillions of amoebas and bacteria die with every vegetable they eat.

Finally, that 311 line was hilarious. LOL

Jane Donuts said...

Ha, thanks. They were the lamest band I could think of at the time. And yes, trying to engage a vegan in any sort of debate sounds like an unusually effective form of torture. Although I wouldn't mind watching Borat or Ali G do it.