Dating Hijinks: Because The Way To A Vegetarian’s Heart Is By Running Over A Squirrel

On Wednesdays, Amanda Chatel will be sharing stories about her strange, fascinating and sometimes wonderful dating life. If it makes you want to date, check out TheGloss dating page.

From the time I was fourteen or so, to shortly after I moved to New York City, I was a vegetarian. I’d occasionally have fish — maybe twice a year — but by and large, I avoided anything that once had a heart beat. The only reason I ceased being a vegetarian was because it was cheaper not to be one when I moved to the city. These days I eat chicken and maybe a couple times a year a burger if the mood hits, but that’s pretty much the extent of it for me. I’d like to say it’s because of some allegiance to my furry friends, and in a way it is, but mostly it’s a texture thing and realizing that I’m chewing muscle. I was never an outspoken vegetarian whom you could find on the nearest soapbox condemning those who ate meat, but everyone around me knew I was a veggie and that was that.

Shortly after college I started dating a guy with whom I had had a few art history classes. His name was Anthony and although he wasn’t my type (he was on the football team!), I figured a quick fling to kill the time before I moved to New York City wouldn’t be a big deal. He knew I was leaving soon, so I figured we could enter into a casual something or other. But we never made it past three dates.

The first two dates were fine, lovely, to be exact. He was somewhat of a caveman and definitely worlds apart from the painters and photographers I’d been dating off and on throughout college, but he was entertaining enough. On the third date, he picked me up from a friend’s apartment in Portsmouth, NH. It was August and although the decks on Portsmouth’s waterfront are always fun that time of year, we decided we’d head to the beach instead. So we’re driving along, chatting it up, the wind in our hair and all that nonsense, and right before we get on to old Route 1 that runs up the coast, a darling little squirrel jetted out in front of his car. We were at a stop sign, mind you, so one would think that anyone with half a brain and even a sliver of a heart would stay at the stop sign for a few more minutes to let the furry man continue along his way — but not Anthony. No, Anthony stepped on the gas and ran over the squirrel. At first I hoped the thud was a tree branch that miraculously appeared on the road before I noticed, but when I looked in the rear-view mirror there was no denying that this neanderthal had murdered an innocent animal– for what? I don’t know.

Anthony immediately started laughing, and as I screamed and the tears poured down my cheeks, he laughed more that I was “crying over such a stupid looking animal.” Stupid looking animal? Did he not own a mirror? A 24-year-old who still thought he was going to make it as the next Tom Brady is a far more stupid looking and acting animal than a squirrel just doing his thing.

So I did want any rational human being would do when she doesn’t have a car or any means to get back to from where she came and demanded he stop and let me out immediately; this, of course, only made him laugh harder. I started to wonder if this was a Candid Camera type situation and the squirrel was a robot, or that I had been slipped some acid and this was all happening in my head and I was actually safe under a tree somewhere and the squirrel was still alive.

When he finally calmed from his fit of laughter, he asked me if I was seriously upset. My vegetarianism aside, I’m firmly against killing anything besides a mosquito that’s biting me. I put spiders outside and the one time I saw a cockroach in the stairwell of my apartment building, I ran up to my apt, put on my dish-washing gloves and put the little shit outside. I have no right to take the life of something that is living and breathing, no matter how “stupid” us human beings may find its existence to be. I asked him if he was seriously unaware of just how horrible his actions were, but he said it wasn’t any different than had it been a rat or a “lame” kitten. I never asked which “lame” he meant, but that line has forever stayed with me and I feared that if he had a less than perfect child, he’d probably have it euthanized or put it up for sale on Craigslist.

He agreed to bring me back to my friend’s place, and we didn’t speak the whole way there. I didn’t say anything when I got out of the car, because although I had perfected a speech in my head during the ride back, he didn’t deserve it. Obviously, we never spoke again.

As for what became of Anthony, I’d love to share what I’ve witnessed on Facebook, but that would just be me gloating and I try not to relish in the whole “eye for an eye” mentality, but let’s just say he got his. The next time you think it’s appropriate to kill an innocent animal, even though I, personally, don’t believe in Karma, just know that payback from the universe is a fucking bitch. Seriously; things always end up evening out and somewhere there’s a squirrel in Squirrel Heaven laughing its li’l tail off.

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    • Fabel

      WOW, good for you for ending that date immediately– I would have done the same thing. Dude was probably serial killer. Who the fuck does that?

    • Larissa

      Seriously. Apparently that’s one of the first signs of a sociopath, the torture/killing of animals. I’m a big animal lover, so on all first dates I do the animal-friendly test : I stop to coo over/pet a dog in the street (with their owners permission!), preferably a non-stereotypical cutie, like an older looking mutt or a big pit bull type. If they don’t stop and appreciate the pup too…red flag! Kind of dumb, and maybe just a coincidence, but the guys who just stared blankly at the dog without even the hint of a smile always ended up being cold/odd people.

    • Jenny

      That is SERIOUSLY messed up. I’m a catch-and-release household as well. there are currently two spiders camped out in my bathroom that I’ve been too lazy to relocate since I noticed them yesterday. Life is life. It doesn’t matter what vessel it’s in.

    • Renee

      Yeah, isn’t killing small animals a sign of a developing psychopath? Glad you made it safe!

      I actually do kill insects inside my home. They outnumber us by so many that I don’t think I can possibly be doing any lasting environmental harm, and I just don’t have the dexterity to capture them without crushing a leg or two. Honestly, I kill them because a fast death is more humane than my bumbling attempts to capture and release them.

    • horseloversdating

      you can go to the HoRs eLOversDa ting .COM.There you can meet a nice dating

    • ikea

      We probably kill millions of bacteria every time we brush our teeth or take a shower. Think of the poor bacteria!!

    • Maggie

      A “lame” kitten?! So he would’ve run over a kitten in the same situation?! Good Lord, I would’ve screamed until he let me out and then reported him to the Humane Society. Gross. I once saw a dog get hit by a car and the driver took off, so I pulled over to help, and the poor thing died in front of me… I actually had to go back to therapy after. Anyone who can be cruel like that to an animal is unspeakably disgusting.

    • Jacqueline

      “These days I eat chicken and maybe a couple times a year a burger if the mood hits” and
      “The next time you think it’s appropriate to kill an innocent animal, even though I, personally, don’t believe in Karma, just know that payback from the universe is a fucking bitch. ”

      I’m not on my soapbox condemning the eating of meat, but your statements contradict themselves. It doesn’t make any sense.

      • Amanda Chatel

        Wow. I totally suck for eating meat again.

        I’m not going to explain myself to you, because obviously, as a meat eater, I’m no better than someone who deliberately runs over a squirrel for sport. Thanks for pointing out what a hypocrite I am!

      • Jenny

        Seriously Chatel, quit being such a damn hypocrite. In fact, that guy you were dating, probably drove back later and picked up that road kill squirrel to eat for dinner. Making him INFINITELY better than you are.

      • Amanda Chatel

        I know, Jenny… you are so right!
        I’m a raging asshole hypocrite McDouchy McGee. I HATE MYSELF.

    • len132

      There are so many damn squirrels in where I live. And sometimes I think that they’re laughing at me, because they love to run in front of my car and freeze. I keep saying that I’m just going to start running over them instead of stopping, but I just can’t.