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Publication Date : 14-02-2013
A guide to Cupid's favoured hunting grounds. Wear a target on your chest if you like
"When one discovers the meaning of love," promises author Pramuan Pengchan, "one also finds the beautiful meaning of life." Elusive love has been likened to the long-lost Atlantis, the treasure hunter's cache of gold, the fountain of youth, even the caring home at the end of a long journey. It's almost as if you need a map in your quest for true romance.
Well, we have a map. Unfortunately it doesn't say, "Proceed from Point A to Point B." There's no dotted line. But it's full of promising locations to search for love.
No one ever suggested that the Lord Buddha has a little Cupid in him, but there was a time not that long ago when young people routinely met and fell in love during a visit to the temple.
Before Bed Supperclub, it was the community's social nexus as well as its spiritual hub, and certainly the setting for countless prayers for good mates.
Faith is not to be discounted. People still meet and fall in love at the local wat today. For headline proof, look no further than Channel 3 hostess Meesuk "Kai" Changmeesuk. She was at a temple when a man called out her name. It was Pongsakorn "Kim" Kuldilongchaipat, a temple regular - he donates his time to chauffeur around a senior monk. (What a nice man!)
A month later Kim proposed. "I think he's my soulmate," Kai decided. They're getting married tomorrow, once St Valentine has applied his seal of approval.
It doesn't even have to be a romantic recital of Chopin minuets. Pakamas Boonjong met her soulmate at a roaring rock concert, the last place she'd ever expected to fall in love (unless he was on the stage).
"It was outdoors and it was drizzling. I wasn't dressed up at all and I was damp from the rain. Then this cute guy started up a conversation at the CD sales booth."
He asked Palamas if she'd seen the "Bangkok edition" of the EP she was holding. Not exactly a classic opening line, but the conversation quickly moved on to their favourite bands and other concerts they'd attended. "The next thing I knew I was on a date with him!" she giggles.
"I think concerts are a less pretentious place to look for love. Most people go to see the bands and enjoy the music - no hidden agenda, no need to be coy or impressive. But that cute guy has been my husband now for three years, and we count that concert as our first date."
THE HEALTH CLUB
Briohny Kate Smyth's fame as a luk kreung teen pop idol ran aground on the shoals of anorexia and bulimia before an unplanned pregnancy compelled her to move to the US. She married her boyfriend, but when they split it took a nasty court case to secure Briohny the right to raise her daughter Taylor.
Thankfully, yoga continued to serve as an anchor through her storms, and then the yoga studio she joined in Los Angeles supplied her with a new love in life as well, in the form of her instructor, Dice Iida-Klein.
Briohny and Dice have since married and opened a yoga clinic of their own to share the goodness. She probably tells her students about what's good for the heart too.
THE CLASS REUNION
Old school chums don't usually lie to each other. They know one another too well to get away with faking. Even after years apart, they automatically act themselves and renew their bonds over great memories. That's why a school reunion is a great place to find love, in a long-ago friendship that's now ready to bloom into something better.
Memory wasn't part of the romance that Chayada Vipattipumiprates found at her old alma mater, though. The Bangkok Metropolitan councillor didn't even recall the man she met at a reunion nine years ago as one of the boys in school - they were in different classes. But Phonpoom, a Pheu Thai MP, is now her husband, and they have a son, Ponpalat.
Their friends teamed up as matchmakers at the reunion and Cupid took over from there. "I was always impressed by his consistency," says Chayada. "He keeps his promises, and he has the gift of speech."
Love sparked at a school reunion for Apinya Mumanee and Chakrit Wongbrisoot as well. Having pursued separate careers over the years, they talked about the work specialities they'd developed, discovered mutual interests, and acknowledged their mutual faith - both are Muslims. It wasn't too much of a leap to decide to spend the rest of their lives together.
THE PLANE FLIGHT
Airline flight attendants set lots of guys' hearts aflutter, but Joakim Holmberg fell head of heels in love - and no need for a parachute.
He was on a flight from Bangkok to Abu Dhabi. Nattamon was serving snacks and drinks. He had an aisle seat and kept smiling at her - and spent the whole four-hour travel time pestering her for more stuff.
"I started to get a little annoyed," she says, laughing about it now, of course. "But after dinner was finished he came and talked to me about my interests and so on, and we ended up exchanging name cards. Then I got back to Thailand and here he comes!"
Despite frequent separations due to travel, Nattamon says, Joakim "has always been really solid and he's friendly with all my family and friends. We dated for two years before we got married. That was eight years ago."
Superman's Clark Kent alter ego fell for Lois Lane. The TV sitcom "The Office" has romance bubbling in every cubicle. But does this stuff actually happen in real life?
We spend most of our waking hours at work and, admit it, you're not always that busy, so sparks do fly between co-workers. Valentine's Day has to have all the singles walking around the office with pink bull's eyes painted on their backs, just begging for Cupid's arrow.
And with people tending to marry later in life these days, young workers are more likely to be single. Meanwhile there are more women in the workforce, their strengths and weaknesses on display for potential mates, their similar interests and outlooks beckoning suitors.
In Thai show business, we've seen actor-singer Patiparn "Mos" Pataweekarn fall in love with a publicist for GMM Grammy, his label. That was Duangporn, and - after a long time keeping their love hush-hush to safeguard his pop-idol status - she's now his very up-front wife.
Prachara "Bank" Panyayong was hosting a news show on TNN and had met Mari Sutita "Nina" Ruangronghirunya, who had a sports programme on Channel 7, but nothing in particular clicked.
That was until Twitter got involved. This modern gadget for the God of Love got them talking about their shared devotion to Liverpool Football Club and, eventually, about their shared devotion to one another.
Bank and Nine got engaged in October 2010 and married the following January. And to complete the happy picture, a little boy named Patchara (Pat) came along last August.