Couple kissing in a tree This could happen to you. Photo: Jenae Weinbrenner

Welcome to TreeShagger, our new column on green dating. If you’ve got dating issues you want us to address in future columns, drop us a line. And scroll down to vote for whether we should call it “TreeShagger” or “Treefucker.”

No one knows what tempeh is. Seriously. Except for an elusive breed renowned for their hotness as well as their dexterity with soy. These people are called vegans.

So you’d like to get frisky with a vegan, eh? Here’s everything you need to know.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Vegans “partake not in the flesh nor the breast milk nor the ovum of anything with a face,” according to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, obviously the most reliable source. (Ovum means egg. I Googled it for you.)

Folklore says vegans travel in packs. If you aren’t a vegan, you’ll need a strategy to break into the pack so you can wrestle away a mate. Start by stocking up on the following:

  • membership to rock-climbing gym
  • early Björk album
  • dreads or hipster haircut
  • fixed-gear bike
  • Thich Nhat Hanh book
  • yoga mat
  • facial piercing or tattoo
  • PETA paraphernalia

Next, unlearn some vegan myths. Not all vegans are preachy scolds (aka vegangelicals). And “vegan” doesn’t necessarily mean “healthy” — the pool (OK, droplet) of vegans I’ve dated liked candy. A lot.

Let’s say that, thanks to your shimmering personality or the Vegan Passions dating site, you have caught a vegan’s eye. Now what? To make your first date a smashing success, heed these tips:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

What to wear: No Lady Gaga meat dress for you! Har har! But seriously now, no leather. (A denim jacket with an eagle patch on the back has worked well for me.) What about faux fur, you ask? If it’s convincing, skip it. I learned that on Veronica Mars. Anyhow, don’t sweat the small stuff — if your date grimaces upon seeing your leather watchband, you may have incompatibilities beyond diet.

Where to go: Beginner: Google “vegan [your city name]” or try Yelp for restaurant options. (At a “normal” restaurant and trying to avoid meat? Watch out for double-crossing foods possibly containing meat stock, like gravies or acorn squash soup.) Intermediate: Stay in and make soy milkshakes. Advanced: Since some vegans are really into animals (just not tasting them), consider volunteering at a Humane Society or animal shelter together. Or look for events thrown by a vegan, vegetarian, or animal-rights organization in your area. The Boston Vegetarian Society has monthly dinners and guest speakers.

What to talk about: Vegans might get sick of “How long have you …?” and “What made you decide to …?” Differentiate yourself with the more nuanced “So how long did it take you to adjust to not eating meat?” and “Fake meat, cool or gross?” More talking points:

  • “Yeah, I try to avoid leather. A lot of fabrics have issues, like all those pesticides used to make cotton. And I guess pleather’s often made of PVC, so it gives off these funky chemicals when it’s created. We should prrrobably join a nudist colony.”
  • “You know, PETA gets a lot of flak for their methods, but they’ve really done a lot for animals, like getting companies to stop animal testing or using fur. Although their treatment of women isn’t super-cool.”
  • “I’ve thought about becoming a vegan once or twice. I eat meat in moderation and try to pick happy meat — you know, free-range animal products. And I try to just eat it as a side dish, not the main course. I think Michael Pollan suggested that?”

How to get down: Congrats, you’re about to sex a vegan! Legend has it that the sexyjuice of a vegan is sweeter than birdsong. (You’ll just have to find out yourself and report back.) But before vegan sexytime, learn yourself this: Many lubes are made with animal fat, so stock up on ethical options at sites like The Sensual Vegan, The Vegan Sex Shop, and Vegan Erotica, or make your own. Glyde makes vegan condoms (who knew condoms had milk protein in ’em?). And Smitten Kitten sells animal-free bondage and fetish gear. “We have some floggers that are made of nylon rope … natural rope, and rubber, ” Smitten Kitten co-owner told Grist in 2005. “The same with the paddles, collars, cuffs, and whatnot. Totally leather-free, animal-product-free. “

So there you have it. Go forth and romance a vegan! And please tell me how it goes …

Update: The results are in:

What should we call our new dating column?

  • 67 percent — TreeShagger
  • 33 percent — Treefucker