Can money buy love?
Around this time last year, I got to know a very attractive lady. She was in her 50s but looked younger than her age, a divorcee with no children who worked as an assistant principal at a preschool. Although she could support herself, she had some concerns about her life after retirement. One day, she called me and said she had something urgent she had to discuss.
She was set up with a man a few days ago who made a proposal. He was a wealthy man with a large apartment in downtown Seoul. But he was also 80 years old. He offered to give her 1 billion won ($882,000) in 10 years and pay her 10 million won a month if she married him. He has two sons living abroad and they have already gotten their share of inheritance. His children are supportive of his decision. She asked me if she should take the offer.
That is certainly an awful lot of money. But I asked her if she believed that a marriage based on money would last. What was the difference between selling herself for money and marrying for a monthly salary and lump sum a decade later?
A few days ago, I read in the news that 82-year-old George Soros is to marry 40-year-old Tamiko Bolton, who runs an online yoga education service. Many people responded to the news with envy. They think that the billionaire marrying a much younger woman made sense. But can you buy love? Was I unrealistic to compare such a union with prostitution?
The 2005 French movie “How Much Do You Love Me?” is based on money and love. A lottery winner asks a beautiful woman to live with him for 100,000 euros ($123,000) a month until his 4 million euro lottery winnings run out. She is tempted by the money and accepts the offer, and in the end, she falls in love.
Perhaps people remain graceful on the surface but measure each other’s qualities secretly when getting married. Just as we would think about an offer of money, we take into account the affection, efforts, passion and physical appearances in such a situation. Anything can be offered and traded.
Taiwanese blogger Chung Wen-lung analyzed love through supply and demand with an equilibrium price. But when we get married, we cannot be completely free from upbringings and qualifications. Am I the only one lamenting over this outwardly materialistic trend for love?
The author is a guest columnist of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Eom Eul-soon