For six years prior to meeting my wife, Amy Zerner, I had been a strict vegetarian and, unfortunately, the kind of person you never want anywhere near you when you are eating or even thinking about eating. I was so boring! I did not eat any meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products, which is all well and good (double entendre intended). I was not content just to practice my vegetarian ways and let my good example and glowing health be the best sermon. I was filled with self-righteousness instead of actual concern for the people I was annoying “for their own good.”
Amy and I met in 1974 when I was a twenty-four year old rock musician (code words for “drug taker”) and the hypocrisy of purifying my body and then polluting it with marijuana and cocaine wasn’t apparent to me then. Plus, I would fast for days at a time, sometimes a week or more, which had the effect of making me an even bigger pain in the butt from being so lightheaded. I was so judgmental about being natural and pure that I had actually vowed never to even date a woman who wore eye makeup!
Fortunately, my yearning to live a life as pure and spiritual as possible had within it a built-in safety valve that saved me from my own rigid stupidity. I know now that being a spiritual person is being a kind, considerate, and supportive person. However, at that time I had all kinds of magical expectations attached to what I thought my experience of true spirituality would be, all of them unreasonable expectations. Luckily, at the heart of even the most impenetrable of sacred teachings was the admonishment to the sincere seeker to remember their own ignorance. I had reached the point of being aware of my own ignorance and it led to my having an enchanted relationship.
My previous decade living the young musician’s life had shown me more than enough examples of my being wrong to put me on the lookout for future spectacular failures of knowledge, judgment, and timing. So when I met Amy, at the filming of a rooftop party scene for “Up The Girls,” billed as the first feminist porno movie, I was able to see through my own prejudices and Amy’s heavy eye makeup and into her rich brown eyes and her sweet heart.
There she was, puffing on a cigarette and having some bacon wrapped cocktail franks off a waiter’s tray, both of them passing in front of me like the Sirens on their island of temptation passing Odysseus, deafened to their song and bound to the mast of his ship, just in case. Like all men lucky enough to live in the free world and especially in New York City, I was not bound to any mast except the one all men hold dear and that, too, saved me from a life of no meat and no Amy. I thought she was beautiful and couldn’t stop staring at her. Suddenly, food was the last thing on my mind and she was the first thing.
“Put your relationship first, above everything else,” our first and most important rule for having an enchanted relationship, was probably born from my lapsed vegetarianism. I think one of the first things I said to her was “Don’t these cocktail franks taste incredible! For six years, the smell of bacon has been driving me crazy!”
It was a two-way street; she stopped smoking in 1974 and now eats healthier than I do. Whether it was pheromones, fate, or fatal nitrate attraction, I’ll never know. All I know is that I took the perfectionism and worried criticism out of my ears and let her beautiful voice weave me into the tapestry of her life and our life together.