Fall is well underway, with winter already whispering frosty sweet nothings late at night. In case you didn’t know, fall and winter are the official cuffing season, so many single-folk are looking for someone to cozy-up with through the holidays.

If you’re a single vegan, then you already know that finding another single vegan who you are mutually attracted to can be seriously tough. While not all vegans are adamant about dating another veg-head, some wouldn’t even consider going to dinner—let alone bed—with someone who eats meat. If that sounds like you, then here are 4 tips for finding another vegan, excerpted from The Lusty Vegan, co-written by myself and Chef Ayinde Howell and available now wherever books are sold.

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I was hanging at a dude friend’s place last week with a few other friends, mostly dudes. As it usually does, the topic eventually turned to sex, and one of my friends started telling this story about a girl he slept with a few years ago. Midway through the story, another (male) friend turned and said “oh is this about Turkey Sandwich?”

Then everybody laughed. Except me, because I didn’t know what the hell that meant.

Let me preface this with the fact that these male friends of mine are not douchey beer can crushing frat boys. They are nice and genuine, and until this exact moment I had never witnessed anything appalling about the way they treat, speak to or speak about women. Nothing they had ever said or done before had ever fired off my misogynistic flare gun.

Back to the story.

“Turkey sandwich? Why do you call her turkey sandwich?” I asked.

I was hoping for some tale about how every time they would have have sex, she would make him a really great turkey sandwich after. Or maybe they met while he was working at a Blimpie and he always knew her order was a turkey sandwich? Extra olives?

My friend, let’s call him Jim Bob, went to explain that this girl had hooked up with one of his friends years before the two of them one-night-standed. “Okay, and…” I pressed.

Jim Bob responded, “well what do you do with leftover turkey after thanksgiving?”

“I don’t fucking know, I’m vegan,” I said. Just kidding, I didn’t say that. I stared at him blankly.

“You make a turkey sandwich,” he punch-lined.

Me and the one other girl in the room proceeded to projectile vomit on Jim Bob’s head. Just kidding, but I wish we did.

“Wait wait, let me get this straight,” I said. “This girl did nothing wrong other than deem you worthy of having sex with, but because she also had sex with one of your friends you’re labeling her a left-over?”

I was all kinds of horrified, because this was a 28-year-old male, who up until that point had always showcased logic, reason, compassion, decent judgement and good taste in whiskey. This wasn’t some punk-ass college frat boy or anyone with an unmanageable ego. Jim Bob had always seemed like a sweet guy!

Worse, the other guys in the room didn’t seem to be disturbed by this. They went on to discuss other nicknames given to girls they have slept with – Closet Monster, because they had sex in a closet, was one of the more memorable ones. Not Closet Girl, or girl-I-fucked-in-a-closet, both which would have been much much more respectable and less derogatory. Closet Monster. Monster!?! The names Jim Bob and Co. were choosing placed all of this undeserved shame on the girls they slept with, like they were some dirty, dishonorable creatures for choosing to have sex with the people now talking shit…I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.
Now let me clear the record: in college, my roommates and I came up with nicknames for the guys we slept with or wanted to sleep with. We did it because we went to a tiny, tiny college and if we wanted to talk about the guys we were crushing on without everyone on campus finding out, we had to do it in code. (Much like how I just changed my friend’s name to Jim Bob so I could bitch about him on the Internet.) So we had names like Roman God, for the dude who was so painfully beautiful he appeared to be from another time. Or Niney, because of his blessed endowment. Or Shakespeare Lit, because we met in—you guessed it—Shakespeare Lit. If a guy became a steady hook-up or a boyfriend, the nick names fell away and they simply became “Pete.”

In college, we never meant anything derogatory by nicknaming the guys, but after my half heart attack at Jim Bob, I could see how it could come off that way. While most of our nicknames were positive (Niney was a legend), and we never ever tacked on a word like “Monster” or referred to them as cold lunch meat jammed between two slices of bread, we were boiling down a human being into a nickname that barely begins to encompass their entire person. So I would like to take a moment to apologize to them all. Sorry Roman, Niney, Shakespeare, Snake Wrangler and Geometry Todd. I never meant to offend you, I just wanted to talk about you at brunch without being overheard by the entire Lacrosse team.

So, I lectured Jim Bob good and hard that day. The other female in the room did as well. Later, I grilled my boyfriend to see if he had derogatory nicknames for his former conquests. He swore no, but I was already drumming up nightmares of him sitting around with his old college roomies, hitting the bong and telling stories about Areola Alice. Okay that one isn’t very good, but I just can’t think of any more shameful names right now…

Do you make up nicknames for the people you’ve slept with? Did you used to? Do you think it’s okay as long as they aren’t shaming, belittling nicknames? Would you have been horrified if you overheard your friends talking like this?

Let’s all grow up and start calling the people we sleep with by their names. Like Beatrice. That’s a nice name, isn’t it?

Want more from Zoe? Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

For more Lusty Vegan, check out The Lusty Vegan book, available on Amazon.

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My manpiece doesn’t cook. Okay, well he tries sometimes. Before we lived together, his kitchen repertoire consisted of: noodles with crazy salt, noodles with cheese, noodles with cheese and crazy salt, and steak.

As a vegan/omni couple, we have a “no animals in the kitchen” thing going on, so his cooking skill-set is knocked even further back. He’s the master of oat meal.

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Some of us are really awful at apologizing. Instead of making a whoopsie better, we end up backing ourselves into the hole we already dug. Sometimes, it’s an accident. We might really be attempting at a sincere apology, but we don’t understand what an apology really looks like.

Below are a handful of ways you can give a heartfelt apology that will hopefully get you out of trouble without making you look (any more) like a jerk.

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A lagging sex life is the number one signal that something is awry in a relationship, followed by the urge to punch a hole in the wall if you have to watch your partner chew with their mouth open for one.more.second. Okay, the second issue just means you’re spending too much time together. But the first—the mysterious vanishing of your sex life—is a real red flag.

When you cease to want to fuggle your partner, it’s often a symptom of a larger issue that needs to be addressed. You know how it feels: You still think they’re attractive, but you’re not really all that attracted to them anymore…

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I’m gonna get a little long-winded and sappy today guys, so bear with me. If any of you follow along regularly with this column (Hi, Mom!) then you know that 6 month ago my manfriend and I decided to leave the East Coast and move to Hawai’i where we would pursue a shared creative dream (form a production company, write/produce/direct feature films) and live together…for the first time.

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This photo was taken last summer. While it doesn't have anything to do with playing pretend, poop is funny, and April 1st is all about funny.

This photo was taken last summer. While it doesn’t have anything to do with playing pretend, poop is funny, and April 1st is all about funny.

It’s April fools day, everybody! All around the country, people are playing with one another. I dig it. I stupidly chose this day to announce on the Internet that I am moving to Hawaii in 8 weeks, and now all of my friends not inside my core communication sphere (those people knew this has been brewing) think it’s a joke. Boy, will they be surprised come June when my Instagram feed is brimming with pictures of me hacking down coconuts.

But this post is not about my up-and-coming move. It’s about playing pretend. I have never actually pretended to be someone else during sex. While I am down for some dress up, full on role playing and I have never become acquainted. I am happy enough to be “Z dressed like school girl.” It has never really occurred to me to then ACT like a school girl.

But a type of pretend playing I am familiar with is pretending to be strangers. Not in bed. In public. This is something my boyfriend and I do randomly, and it started one evening on the train, without any planning.

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“Do you wanna get naked? Yeah me neither…”

When you find yourself hit with a bad case of feelings, “Friend” can be the ultimate F word. We have seen a million cheesy rom-coms that end with previously platonic bffs falling in love, and you know it just doesn’t happen that way. The most believable part of When Harry Met Sally is when Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm in the diner.

In real life, we all know what happens when a friend catches feelings for another friend: they get caught in the infamous “friend zone,” a topic over-done in the rom-com department in 2011 alone. So on the day in summer of 2011 that I found myself randomly holding hands with my best dude at an Alexander McQueen exhibit, my mind imploded with questions… This is just a friendly hand-hold, right? I mean, friends hold hands. And cuddle. When did he start smelling so good?

P and I had been friends for just shy of 10 years, and nothing had ever happened between us. Nothing had even come close to happening between us. I spent most of our youth making out with various members of his garage band, and once at a party I played bouncer outside a dark bedroom as he fooled around with my friend inside. I’m STILL a believer in platonic male/female friendships, and while sure, I thought he was an attractive person, I was more interested in helping him get handies from my girlfriends than giving him one myself. He was sort of like my good looking older brother…

Which is why it was bizarre when I suddenly found myself wanting to remove his clothes with my teeth.

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It’s Friday! That means it’s time for my Lusty Vegan column on iEatGrass.com.

I typed “talk” into my Google image search and this came up. Ha!

Communication is a bitch. It’s absurd how in a world where we’re all so connected 24/7, we can simultaneously be utturly disconnected to each other. But trust and communication are the pillars to a healthy relationship. Yeah, love and chemistry and the fact that you both like Apatow comedies and Chinese food are all important, but without trust and communication, everything will fall to shit. If your communication is bad, then your relationship is doomed. DUN DUN DUN. Just kidding. Like everything else, you can work on improving communication, but it’s hard, and you have to really commit. Here are a few helpful suggestions/exercises for those who are shoddy communicators, and/or are partnered up with someone who has trouble fessing.

Big note: there is a difference between being quiet and being unable to communicate properly.

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You guys, sorry for neglecting you! I have been crazy busy and AFTER I was crazy busy, I went to visit my mom in Hawaii and have yet to return. It’s really hard to write with all this sunshine and tropical fruit. But here is my weekly column from iEatGrass.com! And you can also keep up with me at XOJane.com. Sorry! Stay tuned for more island adventure fun…

I’m being facetious. This was my real life this week, and NOT a fantasy. #bragbragbrag

If your Valentine’s day was more Love Stinks than Love Actually, then you might welcome a little bit of fantasy right about now.

Fantasy, or “pretending” as you called it in your youth, can be a useful tool in all facets of your life. All those uplifting think-yourself-happy motivational types swear by using fantasy to improve yourself, except they call it “visualizing.” Visualizing yourself landing that promotion or killing that presentation will make you more likely to do so. That’s all good and well, but none of that is as fun as sexytime fantasizing.

Sexual fantasy allows you to explore sides of your sexuality you may not be able to in real life, and it creates a safe, super hot space for you to retreat to when you need a little, cough, motivation. Role playing? Done. Bondage? Yes please. Sex in public? On it! Sex with your ex, or best friend, or teacher, or boss? You betcha. Pony play? Uhm…maybe?

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