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Beckham's 'sex-romp' upsets Indian fans

In India, as across the world, fans have been stunned by revelations David Beckham's alleged sex romps with his former personal assistant and other women.
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 17, 2004 08:59 PM IST

Soccer fan Karma Wangdi Barfungpa is giving his David Beckham posters a second thought.

"I'm wondering how cool he really is after all," contemplated Barfungpa, a student of political science in Delhi.

For millions of soccer fans across India, like the rest of the world, the Real Marid star and England captain was the ultimate pin-up. Cool, and that often incredibly difficult to attain trait with coolness, happy, complete with a loving and famous wife and increasingly famous children.

But in India, as across the world, fans have been stunned by revelations of Beckham's alleged sex romps with his former personal assistant and other women.

So Barfungpa is considering replacing his now "overwhelming" collection of the English superstar mid-fielder, renowned as much for his hairstyles as his "banana bend" free kicks, with some of Indian soccer great Baichung Bhutia.

"See, I'm thinking that perhaps after all this sex romp stories, it's not bad or anything. I don't have a moral issue but it makes him, you know, common. Like all celebrities sleep around. He used to be different and special," said Barfungpa, who admits to sporting Beckham-style coifs a couple of times.

"And Baichung is even from my state (Sikkim)."

"Hmm, it certainly never seemed like this," said Sonia Lal, public relations agent, sipping a tall latte at a Barista coffee parlour and reading afternoon papers detailing murky details of sex-loaded text SMS supposedly exchanged by Beckham and his mistresses.

Lal has been collecting Beckham paraphernalia for the last one year and said she "identified a bit with the character in 'Bend It Like Beckham' who adores the footballer."

"Though, of course, I would never consider playing football myself. But, yes, you could say there are lots of Beckham images all around me. You meet him at every turn in my room."

Lal, who attributes her love for soccer to her early life in India's football crazy city of Kolkata, added: "This entire men thing of cheating on wives is a bit sick, really. Well, actually it's slightly sexy too, that you know he is such a hunk and everything.

"And given a choice, every woman would sleep with him. But it's still slightly weird."

From Kolkata, playwright Tathagatha Choudhury said he was quite amazed at the detail the scandal was taking. "I mean, here are these women who say they slept with Beckham, and they are just giving these intricate details of everything that happened.

"It's almost surreal. And it does take a nip off the old Beckham aura, doesn't it?" he said of the football icon who turns 30 this year and has a fee of around $40 million.

Some are, of course, plainly disgusted.

Said a Delhi-based gay rights activist, who asked not to be named: "We, of course, always thought he is in the closet. What with painting nails and what not, and he's only got married and had kids because, you know, who's ever heard of a gay soccer star?"

Beckham has often been touted as the perfect example of the metrosexual man, in touch with his feminine side, which made him a huge pin-up boy among the gay community.

"But this sleeping with more women is just revolting," the activist said, making a face.

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