socially inconvenient

HolyUnicorn

Senior Member
Mandarin / the Shanghai Dialect
Hello,

“Of course a gluten-free diet is also socially inconvenient and requires constant vigilence, as anyone with celiac disease can tell you.”

Op-Ed: The truth about gluten-free diets

How can I interpret “socially inconvenient” here? Does it mean a gluten-free diet makes someone more difficult to socialize with others?
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It means it’s a problem at social gatherings such as meals out (or in) with friends or parties/functions where food is served.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    My cousin's daughter has celiac disease and has to order special meals in restaurants. Her close friends know what is going on, but acquaintances always ask about the special meal. It was both inconvenient and somewhat embarrassing.

    I suggested that she simply reply, "I ordered that because it is the way I prefer it." In most cases that ends the conversation. But explaining special meals will always be "socially inconvenient" even if it is no longer embarrassing to her.

    I think the phrasing is perfectly apt for this situation.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    To me there is an emphasis on the physical in that sentence.

    “Of course a gluten-free diet is also socially inconvenient and requires constant vigilence, as anyone with celiac disease can tell you.”

    "Constant vigilance" means you have to be very watchful to not eat something that will make you sick. So when you are invited anywhere that food is served by a host (i.e. not at a restaurant where you might have choices), then you find yourself in a situation where you potentially might not have anything to eat. Think of parties, dinners, picnics, weddings, and casual invitations to home-cooked meals. You either have to say no, bring your own food (which is pointless in the case of someone inviting you for a meal) or burden your host with a bunch of special instructions - all of which are socially awkward.
     

    HolyUnicorn

    Senior Member
    Mandarin / the Shanghai Dialect
    Thanks, lingobingo, Packard and kentix for your detailed explanantions.

    I agree with all of you as I used to be a vegetarian. I know what it feels. The phrasing is indeed apt for this situation.
     
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