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Am I Crazy to Think I Can Find a Vegan Roommate?

Patrick Kwan, who once referred to this couch as a

Patrick Kwan, who once referred to this couch as a “straight person couch”, has previously lamented the difficulty of finding a vegan roommate. I swear my couch is comfortable and welcoming to all sexual orientations!

Am I crazy to think I can find a vegan roommate in New York City these days? How many of you live with other vegans? Did you try to have a vegan household and fail? How much of a priority is it for you? Me, I’m going a little bananas over the issue.

I’ve got a really nice place, for a reasonable price, in a nice part of Brooklyn. Just finding a roommate in general would not be that hard. But I’ve lived in a vegan house for many years now (longer than I’ve even been strictly vegan myself), and I’ve gotten pretty used to it. It really means a lot to me to live with another vegan. Not someone who is kind-of-sort-of willing to try to maybe be vegan in the house if that’s the only way they can get the nice apartment. Believe me, Craigslist is hooking me up with plenty of such folks. And with even more who contact me without even mentioning the vegan thing (which is quite prominent in my listing). Does that mean they’re so vegan they don’t even think it’s worth mentioning? Or does it mean they’re too lazy or inconsiderate to even bother addressing the issue?

Obviously, not just any vegan will do; all the other stuff that makes a good match applies. They’ve got to tolerate my landgrabbing record collection, my curious cats, and my allergy to dirty dishes. But in exchange I’m willing to put up with all manner of idiosyncrasies from them, as long as we basically get along. That’s what roommates is all about, right? (Well, and splitting the bills.) I’d settle for Felix and Oscar. I know we can’t all be as tight as this odd couple:



So, what do you think? Should I give up? Do you have any encouraging or discouraging war stories to tell (either about the cutthroat NYC market or elsewhere)? And most importantly, do you know anyone who might be good for moving in with me? All the details are here.

13 Comments

  1. Comment by

    gemma

    on #

    i think that’s totally reasonable! i’m living in Shanghai, working at an architecture firm here for a while…but man it’s hard to be vegan here – near impossible – no cool shops/clubs/support groups/ingredients to cook! – and the support of a housemate would be so nice :) wish i was in New YORK! goodluck you seem like a really cool person!

  2. Comment by

    Hannah

    on #

    this is why i live alone – my fridge is exactly how i want it.

  3. Comment by

    JenDiggity

    on #

    I absolutely, positively would not compromise here. If it’s important enough of an issue to you (and clearly being vegan is a major attribute – you do have a blog called SUPER VEGAN) it’ll drive you crazy to have to live in the same house with someone who doesn’t “get” a major part of your lifestyle and sharing a fridge with a bunch of nasty meat would just be gross. Good luck!

  4. Comment by

    Andrew

    on #

    You sound like conservative Christian saying “you’re not religious enough to be my roommate. You must go to Church three times a week, spend two days a week proselytizing, speak in tongues, and…oh, do you like snakes?”.

    Your ease of finding a roommate will be inversely proportional to your standards and criteria.

    Plus, you posted on Craigslist. That’s a guaranteed way to get lowest common denominator replies. Your vegan social network (I mean network of real people, *not* Facebook and Twitter) will be the best way to find applicants who meet your exacting criteria.

  5. Comment by

    champurrado

    on #

    I would definitely be a shameless fundamentalist about this issue. You want your home to be a sanctuary and don’t want someone bringing murdered carcasses into it. What’s so crazy about that? Best of luck!

  6. Comment by

    Jamie

    on #

    I dunno, man. I’ve been vegan for six years (vegetarian for 14) and I’ve never had a problem living with all kinds of people. Diet is a very personal decision and I’m not going to tell others what to eat. Do you also shun meat eaters for friends? I find that being friends with or living with me is good for meat eaters, as it gets them to at least question and think about their choices and get interested in the food I make. If all of my friends and roommates agreed with me on everything, my life would be pretty boring.

  7. Comment by

    Jamie

    on #

    Also: as far as meat in the fridge goes, you should all have your own designated shelves anyway. Voila! No meat touches your food.
    And make sure you don’t use each other’s cast iron pans.

  8. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    Thanks everyone for your comments! I’m actually somewhat surprised by the range of perspectives. I naively expected everyone to share my goals, if not feel like it was worth the trouble.

    I did end up finding someone and I think it will work out great!

    Lets keep this discussion going, though. I’m quite curious to see how more folks think about this issue.

  9. Comment by

    seriously?

    on #

    Jason, stick to your guns. Who wants to come home to a fridge full of dairy and flesh? Even if you keep your own dishes, pots, and pans, you’d still have to keep your own kitchen sponge and you’d still have to smell rotting flesh being cooked in your apartment. There is absolutely no reason to compromise on this. And frankly, to those who say being vegan is a choice: the animals didn’t have a choice when they were born into a system of slavery, murder and exploitation. Why should we condone support of such behavior by living with it?

  10. Comment by

    pdx to ny and back

    on #

    When I had a place in NY, I was searching for a fellow vegan to move in with me. I actually had people contact me, tell me they were vegan, and then later I found out they weren’t even vegetarian. One guy was even a butcher hah. All I have to say is that it is hard finding a decent roomie in NY, yet alone a vegan one. Good luck Jason. If I still lived there, I would apply for the opening!

  11. Comment by

    Jason

    on #

    And this is why I have a small, 200 square foot apartment. I’m not above compromise, but this is something I would definitely NOT compromise on. So many people want to reduce our choice not to consume animal products to less than what it is. I’ve heard it all. (i.e. “Well, if you throw a party, you have to provide food for your non-vegan guests.” “If you have kids, don’t you think it’d be unfair for them to make them eat vegan? It wouldn’t be their choice.”) The fact of the matter is that it’s not simply choosing not to eat animal products because we “don’t like” them. It’s because we’re morally opposed to the exploitation of animals. It’s because we view it as murder. I would be able to deal with a plethera of annoying habits, but putting meat in my refrigerator would NOT be okay.

    Nonetheless, finding a vegan roommate has to be easier than vegan dating. Ha!

  12. Comment by

    CB

    on #

    I’m a vegan and looking for a roommate now – I’ve lived with non-vegan roommates, not my first choice but it’s a matter sometimes of survival and being able to stay in my apartment and in the city. All of my roommates have been very respectful of my veganism, and if anything they learned a lot about being vegan which is always a good thing. The way I see it, if I want my lifestyle to be respected then I have to offer that to someone else, regardless if I agree with it or not. I would absolutely prefer a vegan roommate, who knows maybe this time around that will happen! Wish me luck! : )

  13. Comment by

    Eva

    on #

    I agree with Gemma and Hannah. When you care about an aspect of your life to that extent, it seems fair enough to me to set criteria accordingly. I`m not a vegan, by one of my roommates is. I respect her lifestyle and she respects mine. It is a matter of assertiveness. So, Jason Das, I agree and support your way of thinking. Looking forward to interesting related issues to discuss.

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