August 14, 2022

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The prosecution: Paolo Ray has become a bit intolerant since I’ve gone vegetarian Ray is...

The prosecution: Paolo
Ray has become a bit intolerant since I’ve gone vegetarian
Ray is generally a good person to live with, but since I’ve gone vegetarian I think he’s become a bit intolerant. I was never a big meat-eater before I met my girlfriend; I was always trying to up my protein intake with unhealthy shakes and supplements. My girlfriend, who is vegan, taught me that I don’t need all that. Ray could take a leaf out of my book, as cutting animal products out of my diet has made me feel amazing. Surely he should want that, too.
Since then, I’ve bought new kitchenware as I don’t want Ray’s cooking to contaminate our food. I have asked him a few times to stop using my pots and pans but he still does it – I think he gets a slight kick out of seeing me panic. Once, when I smelled pork on my pan, I told him he was selfish and that I don’t want meat in my veggie meals. He did apologise and said he got them mixed up, but he also told me to calm down in a silly voice, as if it were a joke. He needs to be more considerate.
Ray points out that while I have become a vegetarian, I still smoke. He thinks it means I’m a hypocrite, but that’s a false equivalence. It’s a way to silence me when I start telling him about the problems with eating meat. I believe it’s a good idea to be more conscientious with regard to the impact we are leaving on the planet.

Ray says he can’t live how he wants in his own home, but that’s not true

My girlfriend doesn’t come around that much, but when she does we try to cook at different times to Ray so we don’t have to smell or touch meat. She doesn’t want to use utensils covered in animal products either. We’ve tried to devise a schedule, and I always tell Ray in advance when she’s coming, but he gets sulky and complains. He says, “I can’t live how I want to in my own home,” but that’s not true.
Ray needs to adapt to my lifestyle changes as I would do the same for him. He needs to realise we aren’t the same selfish twentysomethings we were when we met. I want to be healthier, live longer, and reduce my carbon footprint. If Ray did the same, it would benefit him and everyone else, too.
The defence: Ray
Paolo once told me I was killing myself because I’d made a tuna sandwich
I moved into this flat with Paolo a couple of years ago. Paolo was a big meat-eater, which worked, as I am too. We ordered pepperoni pizzas for our hangovers and occasionally cooked the odd fry-up or curry in the week. But Paolo recently went vegetarian and now he wants to control how I cook meat in our kitchen, which is not fair.
It all started when he began dating his new girlfriend. She sends him Netflix documentaries about vegan athletes and the ills of the meat and fish industries. After their first month of dating, Paolo was converted. He threw out all the bacon and burgers in our house, including some of mine. Paolo bought himself a separate fridge and lectures me on the dangers of eating animal products.

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I compromise by letting them cook alone, but it’s annoying, sneaking a Nando’s up to my room

Once he told me I was “killing myself” when I made a tuna sandwich. That was a bit intense. I care about my health, but I’m not going to change my diet based on his views. He’s too forceful with his opinions. Paolo tries to get me to eat chickpea burgers, salad and stuffed peppers as it’s “better” for my health.
His girlfriend visits often and they cook vegan meals together. It means I can’t be in the kitchen at the same time as them. They say the smell and sight of meat makes them sick. I do compromise by letting them cook alone, but it’s annoying having to sneak a Nando’s up to my room. When Paolo first went vegetarian, cooking in our flat was fine; we just did everything separately. Then he bought new pans as he didn’t want the “meat juice” contaminating his food. One time he said I was poisoning him. However, he still smokes.
Paolo needs to relax and mind his own business if he wants me to stay in this house. He can’t expect me to change my lifestyle overnight to suit him. We don’t socialise together as much now, because he’s always with his girlfriend and prefers vegan beer and bland meals to the stuff we used to like. Paolo could also stop banning me from the shared spaces when we both need to cook, and remember that he once loved a good steak.
The jury of Guardian readers
Should Paolo back off and let Ray cook meat in their shared space?
My housemate of seven years turned vegan a few years ago. I remain a meat eater. However, we respect each other – she has specific pans, and I air out the kitchen if I’m cooking something smelly. Paolo is within his rights to want separate cooking equipment, but he needs to understand that he doesn’t have the right to lecture Ray on his lifestyle.Ben, 37
Paolo has good reasons for becoming vegetarian, but it’s not up to him to lecture Ray on changing his lifestyle – it’s his choice. Ray shouldn’t use Paolo’s pots but they need to compromise and share cooking space and time equally.Sally, 69
Paolo is being unreasonable: he’s made a major (and positive) change but the houseshare started on the basis that neither minded what the other cooked. He should win Ray over by upping his vegan cooking game.Sara, 46

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Do I detect a hint of jealousy about the new girlfriend in Ray? The previous status quo was clearly a meaty one. But now Ray needs to move in Paolo’s direction, and show sensitivity by respecting the veggie saucepans. Paul, 58
While Paolo’s life choices are admirable, he’s not being fair to Ray and the ethos of communal living. Separate pans are fine but segregated kitchen time is a step too far. Paolo needs to establish a better balance between his new life choices and his housemate.Mark, 34
You be the judge
So now you can be the judge, click on the poll below to tell us: should Ray stop cooking meat in the kitchen?
We’ll share the results on next week’s You be the judge.
The poll will close on Thursday 17 February, 9AM GMT

Last week’s result
We asked if Regina should ditch her multiple morning alarm clocks, because it annoys her boyfriend Harry.
62% of you said no – Alicia is innocent38% of you said yes – Alicia is guilty
Have a disagreement you’d like settled? Or want to be part of our jury? Click here


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