Maxine Swann’s article “The Professor, the Bikini Model and the Suitcase Full of Trouble” is very compelling reading. It’s about a 68-year-old physicist who met someone online professing to be a famous 28-year-old bikini model who wanted to quit posing for pictures so she could marry and settle down. Online romance bloomed, one thing led to another, and soon the physicist was arrested in Buenos Aires for trying to smuggle cocaine.
Some stray thoughts:
1) Damn, loneliness makes people terribly vulnerable.
2) I suspect the professor, Paul Frampton, is a misogynist, in a way that some very successful and independent-minded guys tend to be. Mainly because he apparently habitually looks for a new wife among young foreign women on the internet. Another article about Frampton notes:
It is not however the first time that he has pursued love with young foreign women via the Internet in recent years, friends recalled.
Indeed, he once flew to China after meeting a woman in her twenties there online and persuading her to marry him. It took just one encounter for her to back out of the agreement.
If we could question Dr. Frampton, would he say that American women are too independent and liberated to be a good pool of potential mates?
3) To be fair, he seems to be specifically looking for a woman to have children with, and would say that’s why he isn’t looking for women his own age. Although I’m uncomfortable with someone Frampton’s age seeking to become a parent; after age 70, the odds of not being around to be able to raise your children become uncomfortably high.
4) The story makes a lot of how being an absent-minded physicist made Dr. Frampton especially liable to fall for this sort of scam. Maybe, but the very fact that the scam is being pulled suggests that there are other folks out there – folks who aren’t renowned physicists, and who won’t get sympathetic articles in the New York Times about their plights – who are falling for it.
5) The University of North Carolina seems to be taking the opportunity to screw Dr. Frampton over.
6) I pretty much think that all drugs should be legalized, so in my ideal world there’d be no punishment for Dr. Frampton. But as punishments go, house arrest seems much more reasonable and appropriate than prison.
7) I really wonder about the person who pretended to be the bikini model. What does she or he think about all this? Has s/he followed the publicity this case has received? Does s/he feel any affection at all for Frampton, or is it all just a day’s work?