Fabio Made Me Question My Veganism

The author and Fabio
The author and Fabio
Josh Choe

It's not like I'm going to break straight vedge just because Fabio told me that vegans and vegetarians get bags under our eyes, but one look at the picture above and it's clear which person you'd be more likely to take health advice from.

Still, I can't help but think maybe he's right. Perhaps the reason I'm 35 and can't grow facial hair, why I've been 5'10'' since sophomore year of high school and why I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year (and, most importantly, why it's 2015 and I'm still wearing Mudhoney t-shirts) is because of my animal-free diet. And, maybe, all of these reasons, on some sort of subconscious level, are why I went to his appearance Saturday at Whole Foods in Torrance.

The supermodel/romance novel cover boy was at my local nature-food supermarket hawking Healthy Planet Whey Protein Powder, a company he founded and serves as president. As expected, a slew of elderly women were in attendance and each gazed deeply into his eyes as he explained the importance of glutamine, how his company was the first to use the term "grass-fed" on its products and something about how Healthy Planet uses ingredients from New Zealand.

Honestly, I should know exactly what he said regarding that last bit of information because he repeated it only a thousand times, but do you see how good looking he is? I mean, pardon me for not paying attention. I was in the presence of a goddamn Adonis. 

Seriously, even at 55, Fabio Lanzoni is hot. So hot, in fact, I didn't learn a single thing about anything related to his products. What I did learn, however, isn't that I should stop being vegan and start drinking whey — it's that I should have been born attractive.

Had I been blessed with these sorts of strapping, Italian good looks, maybe it would have been me in that suburban Whole Foods talking to two elderly women for more than a half-hour and taking pictures with guys in D.O.A. shirts. And maybe the gorgeous Asian girl in front of me in line who said, "I can't believe how good he looks" would have said the same about my physical appearance.

Fabio Made Me Question My Veganism
Ryan Ritchie

Instead, I was born me, so standing in line for five minutes hurt my back and all I could think about was how these women and Fabio's half-hour tardiness meant I would have stood in front of the freezer section at my local Whole Foods for more than 60 minutes to take a picture with a man whose work I know nothing about except that he's really ridiculously good looking in print and even more ridiculously good looking in real life. 

Anyone else and I would have confronted him about his poo-pooing of veganism and vegetarianism, particularly the "bags under the eyes" comment. I've been vegan for more than a decade and the only thing not wrong with me is I don't have bags under my eyes. I've spoken to numerous doctors and read the works of even more health professionals and this was the first I'd heard of herbivores getting bags under our eyes. As I write this now, I realize Fabio might have been wrong about that one. But as I stood there with embarrassing facial stubble, a hairstyle even I can't explain, oversized Ben Davis pants and cat fur all over my man-purse, all I could think as I stared at his immaculate chest was "yes, yes, yes" every time he said something I otherwise completely disagree with.

Right now, I wish I could have explained the numerous health benefits to veganism and also how many people give up meat and dairy for ethical reasons and don't care if eating animals could be (emphasis on "could be") healthier. But Fabio isn't anyone else. Fabio is Fabio, so I continued staring and nodding as if I was a 72-year-old grandmother from Lomita.

So maybe none of my physical shortcomings have anything to do with the fact that I haven't eaten meat since 1997. In fact, one could argue what little I have going for me is attributed directly to veganism. But if that's the case, then Fabio is right because God knows being an underweight, pale diabetic vegan doesn't exactly blow up your OKCupid profile.

Your God might be an awesome God, but mine is cruel, which is why I'm me and Fabio is Fabio. That's a different discussion for a different day, but it's two days later and still I can't help but think how much better my life would be if I looked like Fabio, which proves the old adage that it's better to look good than be good. Sadly for me, I am neither.

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