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Breaking Up With Richard Gere

The other night I had a dream in which I broke up with Richard Gere. Apparently, we were in a serious relationship – I even got to touch his hair (swoon) – but I had no choice. I had to end things between us.

Before I get into the dream analysis, perhaps I need to give a little back story. I may have what some might call a mild obsession with Richard Gere. Nothing extreme – I don’t stalk him, I don’t hang out around his home in the Village or his restaurant upstate, and he has never had to take out any restraining orders on me. I’m just one of his biggest fans. That’s all, I swear.

So my office is decorated with multiple posters of him – hey, he’s done a lot of psych movies! It’s relevant to my discipline. I’ve had social psychology students analyze Chicago for its many themes of sexism, discrimination, influencing a jury and more. I’ve had abnormal psychology students watch Primal Fear to learn about dissociative identity disorder and malingering, Mr. Jones for bipolar disorder and Final Analysis for its Freudian content.

When teaching about erotomanic delusional disorder (where people think they have a special relationship with someone when in fact, no relationship exists), I used to explain it to my students by saying that IF I had this delusional disorder, I might think that Richard Gere was sending me hidden messages in his movies. I used to do such a good job at this example that some of my students questioned whether I really thought that his holding up three fingers in a scene of Chicago meant I should meet him at 3:00.

Word of my teaching examples got around enough that my coworkers began teasing me, telling me that I had phone messages from Richard Gere and one professor superimposed my face over a picture of some woman Richard was standing next to in a newspaper photo and framed it as a gift to me. If you look at the comments past students have left about me on Rate My, you might see suggestions to mention Richard (and my dog) to get on my good side.

What can I say? Richard Gere is a very handsome man. I wasn’t always a fan. He only got onto my radar when I saw Pretty Woman. Maybe it was the fairy tale movie (I’ve been a big Julia Roberts fan too since then) but I really think it was his hair.

I have a thing for men with silver or graying hair. When The Hunt for Red October came out, I barely noticed Alec Baldwin because of Sean Connery. Alec Baldwin lost my attention again when he co-starred with Anthony Hopkins in The Edge. And I haven’t been a Law & Order fan all these years just for the drama. Sam Waterston can prosecute me any day!

But of all the silver foxes out there, Richard Gere holds a special place in my heart. And it’s not just his acting because I haven’t even seen all of his movies (even since he went gray). He’s an accomplished pianist, composer, singer, dancer, photographer and author. I love his voice and the way his eyes blink a lot. All that is true but it’s also true that he’s a humanitarian.

He founded NYC’s Tibet House, a non-profit institution devoted to preserving the living culture of Tibet. It’s because of Richard Gere that I became interested in Buddhism and the plight of the Tibetan people. I even listened to The Tibetan Book of the Dead  on tape. He is a longtime supporter of human rights, AIDS research, and prisoners’ rights. He is involved with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the AIDS Research Alliance.

Richard Gere has also been working with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans for Vegetarian Society to turn Bodh Gaya, the town in India where Buddha is believed to have first attained Nirvana, into a vegetarian zone. Tibetans for Vegetarian Society “asks people to abstain from buying, selling, or consuming any form of meat during their pilgrimage tour in the holy land.”

Richard Gere is all of these things but there is one thing he’s not: a Vegan. He’s not even vegetarian. There are gazillions of rumors that because he’s Buddhist, he’s a vegetarian but they are not true. He, himself, cleared up those rumors on a television talk show, saying that while he gave up red meat decades ago, he is NOT a vegetarian. For that matter, neither is the Dalai Lama. That surprised me until I did some research on Buddhism and learned that many of the schools of Buddhism do NOT require vegetarianism.

In fact, the restaurant owned by Richard Gere, The Farmhouse at Bedford Post, serves not only meat but foie gras. It was just reviewed by the New York Times and is a frequent haunt of Martha Stewart’s. This saddens me to no end.

Back to the dream. I remember the first time I had a dream in which I was Vegan. I was so happy because it felt like my Veganism had truly become a part of me, an ingrained part of my identity. Since then I’ve had dreams where I eat something and then panic that what I just ate wasn’t Vegan or dreams where I refuse food because it’s not Vegan. Since becoming a Vegan, I have never had a dream where I have eaten animal products and that makes me ecstatic, both consciously and subconsciously.

In this dream, Richard and I were arguing. I wanted him to give up chicken and he didn’t want to. And even though it deeply upset me, I told him that he did not have to become a Vegan for me. He didn’t have to learn to like tofu. But that wasn’t enough for him. He wanted me to eat the chicken. He wanted me to give up Veganism. It was him or the tofu. I had to make a decision.

I looked deeply into his eyes, swept his hair off his forehead (ala Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford in The Way We Were) and I chose the tofu. There was nothing else I could do. I could never give up Veganism. Not even for Richard. Sigh…

So I guess I will just have to do with my fantasies of the perfect Richard Gere – the ones where he is handsome, single, an accomplished artist, a humanitarian and a Vegan. Who knows? Maybe one day he’ll decide that living a cruelty-free life is the right thing to do, for him and his restaurant. Then he can call me and I might reconsider.

Hey, a Vegan girl can dream, can’t she?

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30 Responses to Breaking Up With Richard Gere

  1. Maxine February 4, 2016 at 5:16 am #

    Absolutely brilliant!
    I loved reading this.
    “I chose the tofu”
    <3 😀

    • Rhea February 23, 2016 at 1:07 pm #


  2. Ashish April 21, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    hilarious! love it

    • Rhea April 21, 2014 at 9:25 am #

      And he’s single again!

  3. Diana Owen April 14, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Hilarious and wonderful and …. this totally could have been me. Also, WHY ISN’T HE VEGAN!?!??! Oh and I have dreams where I eat meat or gluten and i’m like … NO!!! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN!! I’M CHEATING ON MYSELF WITH DEAD WHEATY THINGS!

    • Rhea April 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

      Hi Diana,

      I know! Right? And now he’s not even married anymore!!! Sigh…..

      “Dead wheaty things” HAHAHAHAHA XOXO

  4. Rhea Parsons May 4, 2013 at 5:25 am #

    Ha ha! You’re on!

    Silver foxes are the best!!

  5. The Vegan Gypsy May 4, 2013 at 5:22 am #

    Just found your blog while searching for, “Richard Gere vegan?” and am disappointed to read that he is not. However, I believe that with the right woman, he might be convinced! I’ll fight you for him! May the best veg-woman win!

    PS I, too, have an..ahem..fascination w/gray-haired men. My hubby is completely gray and has been so since his 30’s. It’s one of the reasons I keep him around. 😉

  6. busymomof3spectrumkidz November 22, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    I really enjoyed your Richard Gere post! LOL (also from one psych major to another!)I totally thought he was VEGAN! What a disappointment!:(

  7. Sunil Pedgaonkar June 11, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    Becoming Vegan(except milk)is to live according to modern medical &
    civilization.It is best for body;
    & personal hygiene & cleanliness.
    Veg food consumes little energy to
    cook/make;cheap;easily available/
    grown;economical;long lasting;clean
    Religion/Sin has nothing to do with
    these aspects.-Er.SUNY Pedgaonkar
    India;Mob 9483368701/9579950627
    We can get all Vitamins;Proteins;
    Minerals;Carbohydrates;Energy in it

  8. Anonymous April 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    How horrible that his restaurant serves foie gras. I don’t get it.

  9. Anonymous April 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    How horrible that his restaurant serves foie gras. I don’t get it.

  10. CarolynP. March 19, 2012 at 5:06 am #

    Love this entertaining post! I switched from psych to sociology – every psych dept’s nightmare! – and my therapist said it was the healthiest thing I ever did. I wasn’t vegan then, however. Ha, ha!

  11. Anonymous December 16, 2011 at 5:54 am #

    Interesting. I have never understood Buddhists who pick and choose what is convenient for them while denying the basic tenets they are supposed to live by…but why should it be different from any other religion? The foremost tenet of Buddhism is Ahimsa which means non-violence. That is the foundation of Buddhism – to practice kindness and non-violence towards ALL living and sentient beings, human and non-human alike. In fact, the very first precept which forms the Buddhist code of ethics is to abstain from taking the life of a sentient being. How then can anyone call themselves Buddhist and not at least be vegetarian, if not vegan? There are those that say as long as the animal was not killed by your order for your purposes, then it is okay to consume animal flesh. But guess what, by supporting the meat industry, YOU are directly ordering that animal’s life be taken. It’s simple supply and demand and it is naive to think that since you are served the meat killed by someone else, in a restaurant, cooked by someone else, that when you consume that meat that it wasn’t killed for YOUR purposes. It is a convenient and lazy way to circumvent the issue. I wish that people who obviously care about suffering in the world, as Richard Gere has demonstrated, would step up and truly live the compassionate life they believe in. The Dalai Lama was turned off from being vegetarian when he tried it for a few months and fell seriously ill. Why? Because he was subsisting off of a crazy diet of milk and nuts alone. In recent years, he was supposed to be exploring the transition to veganism, which has risen in popularity as a an incredibly healthy diet (of course, when practiced properly and balanced). What happened? So disappointing.

  12. Rhea Parsons December 14, 2011 at 5:19 am #

    If you see him, make sure you sleepwalk over and get me!

  13. Vegan Traveler December 13, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Yes a girl can dream. Maybe I’ll dream tonight that I see him in a vegan resturant…….

  14. Lisa is Raw on $10 a Day (or less!) November 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    Just saw this. I understand totally. I had to break up with Julian Assange (Wikileaks Man) when he didn’t release that BoA info. I’m sure he was devastated. We weren’t together long enough for me to turn him vegan.

    (You may call it erotomanic delusional disorder … some of us call it love.)

  15. Asha November 4, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    Rhea, Love your post on Gere. Did not know that he was not even a vegetarian. His humanitarian work & especially founding The Tibet House is monumental. He does it quietly. If his wife could be persuaded to become vegan perhaps she could take the time to slowly change him.

  16. Fireweed October 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    Love it! As for Richard, you deserve better. His loss!!! That’s cool about the possibility of a totally veg zone in Bodghaya…I’ll dream on that!

  17. Colleen Orozco September 1, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    Rhea, two things:
    1) i was a psych major too 🙂
    2) “she’s beautiful, Hubble…”

    ok a third thing: this was awesome! you rock!!! thanks for the great read!

  18. Tina September 1, 2011 at 1:27 am #

    Yes, I can’t type this morning! lol

  19. Tina September 1, 2011 at 1:25 am #

    Your are great Rhea! I’m following you now. Tina Rashed

  20. Robyn Lazara September 1, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    OMG Rhea, haha love this!!

  21. Rhea Parsons April 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    purplelady, I’ll share him with you 🙂

  22. purplelady April 14, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Rhea, I too am a Richard Gere fan, however, I do not dream of him only fantasize occasionally. He is a prince charming that’s for sure. I know he is not a vegetarian as well as the Dalai Lama 🙁 but I forgive him. He may change some day and then we will be fighting over him….but knowing how those Hollywood guys like younger women, I think you will be the winner ! 🙂

  23. Rhea Parsons April 12, 2011 at 2:30 am #

    Cecile, I’m sure he is a good man and he’s a humanitarian who does so much good. But unfortunately, he is not vegetarian. He cleared that rumor up on “Regis and Kelly” years ago. He said he gave up red meat decades ago. But that’s it.

    His restaurant serves meat, fish, dairy and even foie gras which is beyond cruel. That’s why there is no future for us 🙁

  24. Cecile April 11, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    I too have a mild obsession. I too am vegetarian and am preparing to open up a restaurant. I heard a rumor that Richard was not vegetarian but, are you sure? I heard him say in an interview that he hasn’t even killed a bug in twenty some years. He also talks about raising his son with a respect for all living creatures. I have seen the menu at his restaurant and I’m confused. I do believe he us a good man to the core. What to do,what to do????

  25. Rhea Parsons March 25, 2011 at 2:51 am #

    Hi VeganElder,
    You were a psych major too? Cool! As someone said to me yesterday, she thought it was great that my subconcious was testing my committment to Veganism by putting my “greatest temptation” in front of me.
    It even sparked another dream last night where I refused to buy a car that had leather seats. Thanks 🙂

    Leah, funny thing is when I went vegetarian, I told my husband (who reminds me he’s not mentioned in the blog post 🙂 that he didn’t have to do it but he said he couldn’t not do it with me. Same thing when I went vegan. It helps so much to be in it with a partner and I’m glad he’s doing it for the animals and not just for me.

    I’m glad your bf seems to be taking steps to join you and doesn’t expect you to cook animal products for him. You are probably influencing him in ways he won’t say but that you see. Sometimes quiet advocacy ends up being the loudest.

    And I’m glad I made you laugh 🙂

  26. Leah March 24, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    LOL, Rhea!!! You are cracking me up this morning.

    Sometimes I wish that my live-in boyfriend would at least go vegetarian. (okay, all the time)

    But I’m like you and Richard, as long as he doesn’t try to get me to eat meat/dairy/eggs, or to cook said items for him, we’ll be fine. He recently started “meatless mondays”, too, so that’s a step in the right direction. 🙂

  27. veganelder March 24, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    Very interesting post (from one psych major to another). 🙂

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