Photo: Kyrylo Glivin/Alamy Stock Photo
The dead of night, with the hum of six pints bouncing around my skull, and I'm on the prowl. It's a sordid, carnal pleasure I'm after – something I hide from friends and loved ones, taking backstreets to avoid running into people I know; people who might let slip my secret. Slinking out of the dark and blinded by tacky, halogen lighting, I spot what I'm after. "Eight wings and chips please, mate."You see, I'm a vegetarian, supposedly. Or so I tell everyone. I (supposedly) stopped eating meat a few years back, for a combination of moral, environmental and personal health reasons, and I'm not alone. Vegetarianism and veganism is undoubtedly having its breakthrough moment – a quarter of dinners in the UK now come without meat or fish on the plate. But like a third of other vegetarians and vegans, those supposedly clear-cut mealtime morals fall by the wayside when I'm drunk.
This is more than simple "flexitarian" or "reducetarian" behaviour, too. Despite these slip-ups, myself and my fellow drunken diners still consider ourselves clean-cut vegetarians, as if it doesn't count once you've broken the three-pint barrier. And while supermarkets and restaurants across the country are attempting to cater for those rising numbers of veg-only or veg-heavy eaters, the fast food chains and chicken shops of the world aren't keeping pace. Trust me, I've tried a veggie wrap. It's just not the same.Below, a bunch of so-called vegetarians, who've "broken veg" under the influence, share their sins.
I was in Massachusetts in September of 2016, staying with a friend in this big lake house compound. It was the New England Patriots against the Buffalo Bills in this football game. We go out for some beers, come back to this outhouse and there is so much food and so much alcohol. So we all start drinking in a big way. They all start passing round a weed pen; I thought it was just an e-cig, and I don't smoke weed, so I have a go on it and I'm like, 'Oooh fuck, I'm stoned as shit and drunk as hell.'The guy who owns the outhouse comes in with this pot, turns on the cooker and just starts bubbling this giant pot full of marinara sauce and meatballs that are the size of a fist. It gets to the game and everyone's fucking smashed – we've been drinking for like four hours. It gets to halftime and it's time for the meatballs. He gives a bowl to me and, literally without thinking, I just put a fork into it and take a bite out of this giant meatball. There's mozzarella inside the meatball; it's the most fucking delicious thing I've ever eaten.
My friend looks over at me and is like, "You look so happy!" I'm like, "I haven't eaten meat in eight years, man." The whole room then goes well silent, looks at me and is like "…fuck yeah, man!" Everyone takes it as a challenge, like, "How much meat can we make Charlie eat tonight?"
I've been veggie since I was eight. When I was in my first year of uni, the person I was dating accused me of fancying her friend when I didn't, and said I was flirting with her when I wasn't. I threw a huge strop, drank loads of tequila, then ate a Burger King burger that had both beef and bacon in it, to somehow… spite her? It was disgusting. I haven't eaten meat since. My friends filmed me crying and eating this gross burger, and showed me it the next day while I had this awful hangover and a broken relationship.I said in the film, "Are you filming me?! I don't give a fuck!" and opened my mouth and showed this chewed up burger. But I did give a fuck – I literally ate meat because of how much of a fuck I gave. The girl didn't care; she just thought I was being ridiculous. The relationship lasted the rest of term, but it was never the same after that. Once you've thrown a tantrum and eaten meat, been filmed doing so and cried about it, you can't really pretend to be cool and sexy anymore.
The last time was when I was two bottles of wine in at a pasta restaurant, and my friend ordered a cured meat platter, which is my absolute kryptonite. I didn't feel too guilty about it, due to it be being a sharing platter, so, like, the same amount would've been eaten whether or not I had any. The time before that was a 20-piece McNugget box, though, and I have no defence for that – I was just really pissed. I felt guiltiest about the McNugs, but also they were delicious and hit the spot. I still consider myself veggie – the last incident was three months ago – but I reckon if you break it weekly you're just a flexitarian.
I don't normally slip with my vegetarianism, but this was a biggie. On holiday in Portugal recently, I was adamant I wouldn't cave to meat – I'd already picked out a veggie restaurant prior to going, which was going to be my regular while I was there. Day two, and two bottles of wine in between my girlfriend and I, we ended up at a steakhouse. We were limited as to where to go and she wanted to go there, so I went with it, lying to myself along the way that I would still pick a veggie option.When the waiter came to the table and asked what we wanted, I had a moment and ordered a full platter with three different cuts of steak. I'd never had a steak before in a restaurant, and I think the veggie choice was something shite, so I just panicked and went for it. Once the food arrived I found myself sat there, dipping the meat on my fork into the blood on the plate, and thinking to myself, 'Wow… I'm not a good vegetarian.' I felt ashamed the next day, but was amazed that I wasn't ill and my body had dealt with me going balls to the wall from no meat to basically half a cow.@ginandconnick