As my aunt placed a runny egg on each plate, there was this awkward silence. Her beautifully prepared breakfast dish was plated with brightly colored red peppers and vegan sausage and crusty french bread and fancy cheeses with names I couldn’t pronounce.
And then – the grand finale – the coup de gras – a super soft egg.
Cue the awkward silence.
I am a vegetarian. Not to be confused with a vegan (that’s my husband). I don’t eat fish. I don’t eat chicken. I don’t drink milk and eggs are currently on the chopping block, so undercooked eggs? Nah. I’ll pass.
But I did so politely. I just said, “No thank you Auntie. I’m not very hungry.”
That was it. A simple “no thank you.”
Meanwhile, two of my cousins were eyeballing the uncooked eggs with nothing short of admiration. I watched, in amazement, as they slurped and smashed and devoured this unique delicacy.
In the background, I could hear another family member shouting from across the room, “Hey guys! Don’t eat those eggs! They’re not cooked!”
As my cousins politely ignored the warning, they offered the extended family member a weak smile and continued to savor every bite. They were really nice about it, but I did laugh out loud because my younger cousin was throwing light shade. He kept making these orgasmic noises every time the egg made contact with his sophisticated palate.
The whole exchange was pretty comical, but it got me to thinkin’.
Why do we do that?
Why do we say YUCK to another person’s YUM?
Isn’t that rude AF?
In short, yes it is, but people do it all the time and it starts at a very young age.
My children go to an incredibly diverse public school. In their school, there are children of all ethnicities, all cultures, all faiths and all socioeconomic groups. Fifty percent of the students bring lunch from home. In those lunches, parents send everything from falafel and hummus to peanut butter and jelly. While one kid pulls out a tamale and another eats cold pepperoni pizza, nobody shouts across the lunchroom, “DON’T EAT THAT!”
Nobody does that, because my children go to a school where they are fed a mantra: DON’T YUCK MY YUM!
From the time they were in kindergarten, the teachers have been programming the children to not just exist in a diverse environment, but to respect the delicate differences of their diverse environment.
If someone offers you a frog’s leg or a pig’s intestine or a pickled beet, it is okay to politely say, “No thank you.”
No thank you, I don’t want to eat like you.
No thank you, I don’t want to vote like you.
No thank you, I don’t want to parent like you.
In the literal sense, yucking someone’s yum may refer to making negative remarks about their decision to eat certain foods, but nowadays, there are bigger decisions that elicit insulting yucks from others.
In the polarized world of social media, people are using their massive platforms to join forces with other people who think how they think and eat how they eat and like what they like. Nothing wrong with that, right?
We are shouting at each other from across the airwaves, saying things like, “DON’T EAT LIKE THAT! DON’T VOTE LIKE THAT! DON’T PARENT LIKE THAT! EAT LIKE ME! VOTE LIKE ME! PARENT LIKE ME!”
The online wars between the liberals and the conservatives, the spankers and the non-spankers, the carnivores and the herbivores lacks respect.
We have a powerful weapon at our fingertips. Our words are the ammunition. The enemy is the person who eats differently and votes differently and parents differently. But instead of politely saying, “no thank you,” we are shooting them down, deleting them from our life and creating an environment that lacks diversity.
I don’t like soft eggs, but if my cousin decides to crack open an egg and swallow it completely raw, I will respect his decision, because I believe in the mantra:
DON’T YUCK MY YUM!
Claudine Cooper is a Los Angeles based fitness trainer with over 20 years of professional experience. Originally from Minneapolis, this busy wife and mother is committed to sharing her passion for healthy living. You can follow her on Instagram @fitwit3.
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