I recently had the pleasure of talking about Esperanto with a fellow vegan.

As soon as I mentioned Esperanto, he started off on the offensive. “But hardly anyone speaks Esperanto right? It’s not useful for anything.”

Seeing where this was going, I said teasingly, “But where do you get your protein??

“I think Esperanto can’t be as good as a natural language. How can something made up be as expressive, as poetic?”

“I don’t mind if you go vegan as an adult, but making kids go vegan is just wrong.”

“Esperanto is never going to succeed as an international language. That’s what English is for.”

“BUT PLANTS HAVE FEELINGS TOO!!!”

Proteining

After my instinctual response to this guy, I started thinking that there are actually quite a few lifestyle choices where people tend to try and immediately shoot the idea down without really giving the other person space for making their case first. I’d like to call this “proteining” after the iconic “Where do you get your protein??” response to veganism.

The thing here is that these people are usually not interested in listening. They already know their position, and they want to impose that on you, even if they ostensibly seem to be asking for your feedback.

If you don’t get that instinct telling you what is going on, you can tell someone was proteining you after the fact – because the conversation consisted of nothing but their objections to your life choice and the person didn’t change their mind even a little.

Different Lifestyle Choices That Elicit Proteining

There are many different lifestyle choices which elicit proteining and each have their tired out phrases which are heard again and again:

Veganism: Where do you get your protein?

Polyamory: I guess that sounds good to some but I prefer my relationships to be committed! / Oh you poor girl, you must be really in love with him to put up with that…

Esperanto: But no one actually speaks that, right?

Unschooling: Your kids are going to go out of control and become lazy failures if you don’t use discipline on them!

And so on.

You should of course make a distinction between proteining and genuine curiosity; sometimes the words said can be exactly the same, but when there’s genuine curiosity a real conversation can happen, and when it’s proteining, you’re talking to a wall.

What To Do When Someone Proteins You



When you identify someone as proteining, it’s probably best just to duck out of the conversation as soon as possible. I had a lot of fun by teasing the guy I mentioned above, which incidentally helped me not enter the conversation on his terms and get into a debate. In situations where you don’t have such an easy way of teasing someone, I guess you can just try to minimise your answers and find an excuse to change the topic.

Actually, in future I’d like to try stopping them and saying, “Wait a minute, you’re proteining me.” Then, when they ask what that means, I’ll explain the concept to them. That might work as a pretty good pattern interrupt too, I think.

Good luck! :)

Related

Practical Uses I’ve Found For Esperanto

A Spiritual Perspective On Veganism

{ 0 comments }

The Intersection Between Social Justice And Personal Development

August 23, 2014

This website started out as a Steve Pavlina clone, and as such, a personal development blog. However, unlike many clones, it survived long enough for me to find my own personal style. I alternately define this blog as “stuff for conscious people” and “whatever I feel like writing about”. The second description is probably the […]

Read the full article →

Why I Find It Hard To Relate To Men

August 20, 2014

I find it rather hard to relate to cis men. (Cis means non-trans; I can relate rather well to many trans men, for reasons that might become clearer as you read on). The main reason for this is that I am very much aligned with a feminist worldview. (By feminist, I mean anti-sexist. If you […]

Read the full article →

Apparently My Body Traumatises People

August 18, 2014

In my “trying to be a real man” phase, I got into the obscure genre of “fratire” books, where men’s rights activists mix humour with oppressive and tragically limited performances of masculinity. One book was “I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell” by Tucker Max. OK, the dude writes well, and I suppose I could […]

Read the full article →

How Do You Define A Partner? Polyamory And The Blurred Lines Between Partners And Non-Partners

August 18, 2014

It’s a common observation that when you’re polyamorous or otherwise non-monogamous, the lines become blurred between friends and more-than-friends. I personally have a lot of people in my life that wouldn’t quite fit into the mono-normative definition of “just friends”. However, not all of them are exactly partners either. They seem to fit on a […]

Read the full article →

What Being Trans Taught Me About Sexism

August 14, 2014

Trigger warning for this post: descriptions of sexual harassment, mention of rape. There’s another trigger warning later so you can skip the description of sexual harassment if you want. – More than two years ago now, I wrote the blog post which started me off on a gender transition that would turn out to consume […]

Read the full article →

Gender Transition Updates For Summer 2014

August 11, 2014

Time marches on, and my gender transition advances. (Comic from Lifetechniques.tumblr.com) My perspective slowly shifts as I mature as a trans person. I’ve gone through a pleasantly oblivious phase, then a horrified phase where I slowly came to terms with just HOW much I was oppressed as a trans person, and now I’m trying to […]

Read the full article →

Looking At People Who Do Harm From A Social Justice Lens

August 8, 2014

I think it’s interesting if we look at people who do harm from a social justice lens. We could call the oppression “niceism”, the way people who do harm are oppressed and people who don’t do harm are privileged. If you think about it, it’s absolutely standard for people to use niceist slurs. “Asshole”, “Bastard”, […]

Read the full article →

The Lessons I’ve Learnt From Depression, Now That It’s Over

July 29, 2014

Three or four weeks ago I stopped being depressed. So far, I’ve stayed un-depressed. I have to admit I feel really uncomfortable announcing it like this, because somehow I feel like I have the obligation to stay un-depressed now, and if I relapse I’ll be letting everyone down. But I’ll try to ignore those irrational […]

Read the full article →

Practical Exercises To Overcome Sexism

July 27, 2014

My friend Laura came up with a great idea which I am proud to be stealing for this post. She suggested that we should make a list of things which (cis) men can do to overcome sexism. After all, no matter how much you read, and how much you think, it can be hard to […]

Read the full article →

Why Attraction To Trans People Is Not A “Taste”

July 26, 2014

Some people believe that attraction to trans people is a “taste” or even a special sexual orientation. These are the people who aren’t so crude as to say that e.g. gay men but not straight men would be attracted to trans women. I hope I don’t have to convince you that this idea is wrong. […]

Read the full article →

Fat Positivity

June 30, 2014

About a year ago, I wrote an article I’m a little embarrassed about, criticising a certain aspect of the Fat Positivity movement. While I guess I made a decent point, I think the subtext behind that article was that I felt a little uncomfortable with the movement and wanted to push back against it somehow. […]

Read the full article →

Why Trying Receptive Anal Sex Can Make Straight Men Less Sexist

June 22, 2014

I saw a sign yesterday in Pride which I felt like quoting here. “More passive anal sex for hetero men!” I’ve actually had this thought before but the sign I saw yesterday made me think of writing about it. Simply, I believe that if more straight men had passive/receptive anal sex with their female partners, […]

Read the full article →