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Celebrity romance is no Cinderella story

She is a hot young actress and he is old and rich. When the two announced their marriage plans, everyone had something to say about it. Yes, you are right, we are talking about the recently-announced love story of actress Bongkot "Tak" Kongmalai and millionaire Boonchai Bencharongkul, which has been all over the traditional and social media for the past week.

The romance is no Cinderella story. The fact that it involves lovebirds with an age gap of 30 years has put almost everyone in the judge's chair, and there has been a wide range of verdicts. As The Nation's editor commented, no one can be politically correct about this modern romance. The more I read and hear about it, the more it reminds me of his comment.

"Whatever other people say about this romance, I love it, as it makes me feel incredibly young, said a 49-year-old male office worker.

The above remark is an example of how few people can be politically correct about this romance. Humour aside, the 49-year-old man was alluding to the age gap between Tak and her future husband. He could be seen as mocking the groom's old age.

Isn't age a big issue nowadays? Boonchai is not the first older man to take a young and hot wife. Think of Donald Trump or Larry King and you'll realise that it is not a new phenomenon. Even considering the age gap between them, Boonchai and Tak don't break any records. Formula 1 millionaire Bernie Ecclestone wed a Brazilian beauty who is 46 years younger than him, and he is 81.

A lot of men put Twitter on fire when the news broke earlier this week. On one side, some wrote frankly that they envied Boonchai, while some - probably sufferign a bout of jealousy - said they wished they were rich enough to attract someone as hot and beautiful as Tak.

The other side of the story sees criticism targetting Tak for trying to climb the wealth ladder by using her beauty. A 50-year-old male colleague of mine believes that Tak is surely doing it for the money, and that Boonchai is madly in love. "But I bet that Tak won't be his last love," he added.

Then there was a comment that Boonchai could have chosen a better young woman. "Tak has had many boyfriends before," said a 40-year-old office worker.

It is impossible these days for celebrities to have a love life that is free from public scrutiny. All scenarios invite comments and opinions. A rich guy marrying a rich woman could be a marriage for business prosperity. A rich man wedding a poor woman could be a case of "she's after your money". A rich old man marrying a young beauty can be viewed as either "she's after your money" or "money can buy you love". Perhaps the only romance likely to be free from criticism is when an equally poor couple gets married.

This modern romance also draws criticism from the media. "What's the big deal about it? People fall into relationships every day," said an American sub-editor. Sometimes people in the news industry can't understand, what is the big fuss about two people in love getting married."

But Thailand's best-selling newspaper topped them all when sexism comes into consideration. Its headline screamed: "Talk-of-the-town, big-breasted actress Tak to get engaged to millionaire Boonchai." It says it all: emphasising the size of her boobs and linking it to the future groom's wealth.

"Oooooh, as if marrying a rich man is a big achievement. Not that I hate Tak Bongkot, I like her a lot, but putting it all over the newspaper just implies that it's a big deal when some hot actress gets married to a rich man. As if marrying a rich man will make you happy. Think hard, think again. Most rich men are major a**holes," wrote my young and pretty ex-colleague on her Facebook page.

This modern romance may mean different things to different people, but whatever it means, my 50-satang comment is that true love is hard to find these days, and even when it happens, people tend to be sceptical about it. As far as Tak and Boonchai are concerned, none of the comments really matter. It takes only the two of them to prove opinionated people right or wrong.


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