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Anwar Hussain launched his Vegetarian and Vegan Dating Service in San Francisco last October. “It hasn’t quite taken off,” he acknowledges. “I had a lot of men calling, but not a lot of women” (at least 100 of the former, he estimates, and fewer than 10 of the latter). “I even ran a couple of ads that specifically read, ‘Vegetarian men seek women.'” But the odds refused to even out.

Hussain markets the service by posting ads in natural-foods stores and at health conferences, though he is not currently setting up any dates. He admits to a slight subterfuge at the beginning of our interview. “Since you’re a woman, when you called I said, ‘Yes, the service is still active,’ because I’m trying to keep up a list of names in case I start it up again.”

Hussain came up with the idea after scouting around Bay Area dating services and realizing that “a lot of people are charging a lot. Some people are charging up to $2,000.” He intended to offer about 15 dates to each member, and to sell memberships for $350, with the opportunity to renew after six months.

But his motives were not strictly monetary. “I thought it would service the environment in a way,” he says. “My vegetarianism comes from a compassion for animals, and I believe we’re all connected.” He saw the dating service as being “an extension” of his beliefs, but admits that “it’s hard to make a living anymore, doing something that’s of your higher ideals.” But Hussain is optimistic: “Now, I think, ‘Well, eventually, maybe I’ll find someone who can do this with me.'”

Does Hussain have a vegetarian partner himself? “No, I don’t,” he laughs. “I have my feelers out, I guess. Are you vegetarian?”

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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