This happened a few years ago on a day when the weather was really terrible, despite being summer. My sister and I were heading for the big Vegan Fair in Stockholm. It was in some obscure suburb that we’d barely heard of before so it was quite difficult for us to get there even apart from the fact that it was chilly and the rain was coming down in sheets. Since it was summer, I for one, wasn’t even dressed for that kind of weather so I was shivering. On our way out there we ran into a girl who was going to the same place. At first we were quite happy about it, since we don’t really know any other real life vegans. Then we realized that she wasn’t happy to see us at all. A look of shock, maybe horror spread across her face and you could tell from her tone that she could hardly believe her ears. She said exactly those words: You don’t look like vegans! Then she gave us the slip by lying to us so she wouldn’t be shamed by arriving at the vegan fair with two girls looking so un-vegan. I was actually hurt. This is the first time I’ve been able to mention it to anyone except the closest family.
So what does a vegan look like? Were our clothes all wrong? Maybe we needed to carry around half a pound of scrap metal on our faces, like she did?
I don’t know and these days I try not to hope that I’ll ever get to know any other vegans, because they’ll probably just look at us like this one did. Well, we are vegan and we live for animals and animal rights (and books, but that’s another story), so they’re just going to have to deal with it.