Will a vegan sit on a Barcelona chair?
May 27, 2008 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Is it rude to purchase leather furniture if I have vegan friends?
posted by plexi to Human Relations (36 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:20 PM on May 27, 2008

No it isn't rude, that is.

I don't know whether they'll sit in it. But you buy the furniture you want -- it's not your friends' call.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:22 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

If your friends don't mind, then who cares if we think it's rude?

On the other hand, if it makes your friends uncomfortable, then what good will our approval do?

Just ask your friends what they think.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:26 PM on May 27, 2008

It's not rude. However, if you avoided leather, that would be an act of kindness and consideration on your part. You would be doing something nice, not avoiding something mean.
posted by amtho at 12:28 PM on May 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

No. If your friends have such an overwhelming need to validate their narcissistic masochism they can stand. I think also that anybody that would seriously raise this as an issue with you would tend to be so annoying that your friendship is likely to be short-lived.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:28 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Kind of a weird question. I know hardcore vegans, and have been pretty hardcore into animal rights in the past, and for sure if I saw leather furniture in someone's house I would have silently scorned them... so if you're scared of that maybe you shouldn't make the purchase. But it'd be pretty bizarre to organise your own home according to friends' beliefs that you don't share. If it bugs your vegan friends too much then they'll stop coming round, that's all. But you won't be rude for doing it, and they won't be rude for doing it. That's how things work.
posted by cincinnatus c at 12:30 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Umm, its your furniture that is going to be in your residence. No, definitely not rude.
Refer to Inspector Gadget for additional info.
posted by a3matrix at 12:31 PM on May 27, 2008

I am a carnivore with vegan friends. I avoided buying leather furniture for exactly the reason amtho cited above. It's not so much that I'm worried about what they think; it's more that I don't want to alienate my close friends by confronting them with furniture made of big dead animal carcasses. My living room is a social area, and as such, I'd like my friends to feel welcome and comfortable there.
posted by spacewaitress at 12:35 PM on May 27, 2008 [4 favorites]

Oh, but also, it probably wouldn't stop me from buying a leather side chair. I would just make sure to have plenty of vegan seating options (just like at meals I make sure there are vegan options, or try to avoid serving meat altogether).
posted by spacewaitress at 12:37 PM on May 27, 2008

My gut reaction is No, get the couch, it's your house after all.

But, you do say friends plural, so I guess it depends on how many vegans and how close they are. And how much you like to hang out at your house, over someone else's who perhaps doesn't have a couch made of cow hide. (Depending on what kind of stuff your social circle gets up to)

Plus you are now in that position of having asked the question, and decided it's okay, rather then never even thinking about it and pleading ignorance to the issue, so you need to be sure of the impact it will (or won't) have.
posted by paulfreeman at 12:37 PM on May 27, 2008

No, they're your couches, in your house. Your vegan friends might find your leather couches ethically repugnant in addition to hot and uncomfortable, but that's their problem. (I'm vegan)
posted by beerbajay at 12:43 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Furniture tends to last a lot longer than many friendships.
posted by spilon at 12:44 PM on May 27, 2008 [6 favorites]

To expand on my initial answer: I'm a vegetarian and don't approve of leather couches. I appreciate if people don't eat meat around me because they actually sympathize with my views, but not because they're worried about being "rude."

Meat- and leather-afficionados (I'm not sure how to refer collectively to people who aren't concerned about cruelty to animals) tend to overinflate how much their specific actions will upset vegetarians/vegans. Remember that we have plenty of experience being around everyone else. Any given instance of seeing someone with leather or meat is probably not going to shock us. (I would not apply this to fur, BTW.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:46 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

To add to my earlier comment, there's a big difference between your vegan friends getting all huffy and refusing to sit on your couch and talking to you in other contexts about their objections to leather. Refusing to sit on your couch does nothing to further the interests of animals because the couch is already bought and paid for and will piss you off without reducing the demand for leather couches any more. That sort of behavior is lose-lose.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:52 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you're concerned, just have some vegan seating options. I am guessing that you're concerned that they won't want to sit on the sofa. So have some extra chairs or pillows handy.
posted by acoutu at 12:53 PM on May 27, 2008

It is OK if it is second-hand leather.
posted by tiburon at 12:56 PM on May 27, 2008

So far none of my vegan friends have berated me for owning four pairs of leather boots. And they've regularly complimented me on my beloved old suede jacket. Moral of the story... I can't speak for your vegan friends but I don't think my vegan friends would be very mad at you. So if you get the couch and your vegan friends are pissed, feel free to just invite mine over. Voila. Problem solved.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:16 PM on May 27, 2008

I love my friends, but I don't think I'd decorate around their tastes or beliefs.

That said, there's a LOT of synthetic and artificial leather these days that's pretty convincing, giving you the nice easy-cleaniness and good looks without offending anyone.
posted by rokusan at 1:19 PM on May 27, 2008

If they are vegan and still choose to maintain a friendship with you, a non-vegan, I would imagine they are reasonable enough to allow you to select material possessions based on your personal preferences and beliefs. Those who would hold such a belief to the extreme as to not even associate with you as a non-vegan, well they won't be sitting on your couch anyway.
posted by Asherah at 1:21 PM on May 27, 2008

I'm vegetarian, but I wouldn't see it as any of my business what my friends' chairs are made of, and I certainly wouldn't expect them to base their furniture-buying decisions on my preferences. In my opinion, causing a scene at someone else's house because you disapprove of their furniture is not cool.

That said, it would probably be nice of you to have some non-leather furniture as well. (Besides, a whole room full of leather furniture is probably a bit too Hugh Hefner anyway...)
posted by badmoonrising at 1:40 PM on May 27, 2008

Is it rude to have ironic Virgin Mary statues if you have Catholic friends? Depictions of any human figures if you have Islamic friends? Slouchy furniture if your friends have bad backs?

You really can take this sort of anticipatory consideration in so many directions you're left living in a cardboard box.
posted by adamrice at 1:42 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

You really can take this sort of anticipatory consideration in so many directions you're left living in a cardboard box.

I think that's the crux of the question. How far are you willing to go to appease the taste of your friends? Will you be wearing leather shoes in their presence? Eating cheese, honey or Jell-o? How far do you want to take it, and if you're willing to give up a leather seat for them, why aren't you going further than that?
posted by LionIndex at 1:57 PM on May 27, 2008

I'm a vegan and I don't find it rude if friends have leather couches. Leather couches are really uncomfortable and uninviting, kinda like sitting on a couch that's been wrapped in plastic, but it isn't rude to get one.

I doubt your friends will think twice about it.
posted by cmonkey at 2:27 PM on May 27, 2008

Ask your friends if it bothers them. Then decide how much you care if they say yes.
posted by ottereroticist at 2:49 PM on May 27, 2008

I was a vegetarian for 20 years and never found it rude if friends had leather couches. But I did think they were uncomfortable. I still do. Especially if any of your friends are short, they will tend to slide right off the damn thing.
posted by HotToddy at 3:18 PM on May 27, 2008

If you're buying for yourself, for your own house, I'd say no. If it's a shared housing type thing, I'd ask.
posted by Solomon at 3:20 PM on May 27, 2008

Hmm. I have two leather chairs that I got third-hand, and I've seen two of my vegan friends sit in them. So I think it's fine. It might be better that they were used; I don't know. They certainly didn't ask or say anything about the leather and whether or not it was previously owned. They're definitely more comfortable because they were used, though. New leather is uncomfortable, as noted above.
posted by k8lin at 4:32 PM on May 27, 2008

If your vegan friends are so judgmental that you're worried your choices in furnishings could damage your relationship with them, would you really want to be their friend?
posted by Nelsormensch at 4:58 PM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Another vegan saying buy whatever you want. You're being very thoughtful, which I'm sure they appreciate, but in the end it's your money, your ethics and your choice.
posted by AV at 5:52 PM on May 27, 2008

It's rude to buy leather furniture for your vegan friends.

Other than that... you should be fine.
posted by eleyna at 10:03 PM on May 27, 2008

Is it rude to buy non-leather furniture that was nonetheless delivered to your house by a delivery guy who eats meat?

There's no rational basis for excluding any particular products over any others in an economy in which animal products are an input to just about every good or service. There is only an emotional basis. How emotional are your vegan friends? (Obviously at least a bit.)
posted by hAndrew at 11:47 PM on May 27, 2008

On second thought, I retract that second paragraph. But I think the first paragraph still demonstrates that it's not really possible for you to decode what should or should not offend your vegan friends.
posted by hAndrew at 11:53 PM on May 27, 2008

I would hope that a friend respects the choices you make as much as you respect their right to be a Vegan. Obviously you care about what they have to say. The least they could do is return the favor. If you want leather furniture, get leather furniture.
posted by Silvertree at 5:31 AM on May 28, 2008

*I would hope that your friends respect

Hit the post button too fast.
posted by Silvertree at 5:33 AM on May 28, 2008


Are you for real?
posted by chunking express at 6:40 AM on May 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Maybe not all "vegan friends" are alike.
posted by amtho at 5:17 PM on May 28, 2008

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