Paul Thomas: Alone again and that's just how George wants it

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Between relationships? Looking to rebound, but no takers? You think you've got problems, spare a thought for movie star George Clooney.

He's turned 50, has spent the last two decades going from one short-lived relationship to another and has just split with his Italian lingerie model girlfriend.

According to the headline writers he's "Lovelorn", "Alone Again" and "Unlucky in Love".

For men who aren't quite as blessed as Clooney - practically all of us - this news might have prompted a gentle gloat. Poor old George, eh? Boo hoo. Just goes to show money can't buy happiness. Maybe it's true after all: what women really want in a man is the ability to listen and a sense of humour, as opposed to say wealth, fame and good looks.

While the notion of the world's most handsome man ordering room service for one or having a quiet night at home with his laptop may provide a grim chuckle, these scenarios aren't supported by the facts. Clooney isn't lovelorn at all, he's alone again because he wants to be.

It seems he got married once, didn't like it much and came to the conclusion that he's not the marrying kind. So when ex-girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis told a magazine she was a firm believer in marriage, the alarm bells going off in Clooney's head must have sounded like the peals from Westminster Abbey after the royal wedding.

This isn't being wise after the event. Those who make a living tracking stars' love lives saw the writing on the wall. When the interview appeared, E Online reported it under the headline "George Clooney Break Up Countdown Begins" and asked, "Uh oh, is that Clooney's car we can hear screeching out of the driveway?"

Show business sources pointed out that her timing could hardly have been worse - the awards and film festival seasons are over, so for the time being Clooney has no need for arm candy to accompany him down the red carpet.

As well, he has a history of terminating relationships before heading to his villa on the shores of Lake Como for the summer.

Why? Perhaps it has something to do with the hordes of attractive young women who descend on Lake Como at this time of year.

Clooney is what used to be known as a bachelor gay. (His reluctance to settle down has generated whispers that he's gay in the contemporary sense of the word, but then Hollywood leading men can't win: settling down hasn't stopped the whispers about Tom Cruise and John Travolta.)

I suspect many men are with Clooney here, privately believing that settling down defeats the whole purpose of being rich, famous and handsome. These attempts to present the playboy lifestyle in a forlorn light bring to mind a famous but perhaps apocryphal story about another Gorgeous George.

When George Best was at the height of his powers, a friend entered his hotel room to find the floor littered with empty champagne bottles and the finest British and Irish footballer of the last 50 years sharing the bed with two young women.

"George, George, George," said the visitor reproachfully. "Where did it all go wrong?"

Meanwhile Prince Harry, another of the world's most eligible bachelors, is supposedly embarking on a relationship with a lingerie model.

At least that was the aspect of Florence Brudenell-Bruce's CV that interested the media. She was described as A) a lingerie model, B) a swimsuit model, C) the ex-girlfriend of Formula 1 driver Jensen Button. Her degree in art history brought up the rear, with the fact that she's descended from John Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, who led the charge of the Light Brigade.

When fellow officers pointed out that not only did he lead the charge, he also led the retreat, Cardigan sued for criminal libel.

His explanation for not taking part in the skirmishing around the Russian gun batteries was that it would have been unseemly for him "to fight the enemy among private soldiers".

One of Cardigan's accusers was his commanding officer and brother-in-law, Lord Lucan. The current holder of that title hasn't been seen since 1974 when he vanished after murdering his child's nanny, apparently mistaking her for his wife.

There have been many reported sightings of Lucan, notably in 2007 when a man resembling and sounding like him was discovered outside Marton living in an old Land Rover with a possum called Redfern and a goat called Camilla.

Sadly, it was too good to be true. Although the mystery man was British, had left the UK the year Lucan vanished, and confessed to having been "on the run" for 33 years, he was 10 years too young and 12 centimetres too short.

- NZ Herald

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