Jen Phanomrat and Leo Samanamud are the duo behind the popular food blog and YouTube channel Just Eat Life. The couple, who’ve been together nine years, recently got engaged and when they shared the news on Instagram, they got some unexpected backlash.
“I said YES to my best friend!” Phanomrat wrote in the caption of a photo taken after the proposal. Instead of fans flooding the comments section with congratulations and well wishes, many were focused on the size of Phanomrat’s ring.
“Congrats!! Where’s the ring?” one person wrote. While another said, “Very happy, except that’s the smallest ring I’ve ever seen.”
But there were others who made even more direct insults. “My best friend would at least know my ring size, especially after nine years,” someone said. Another went so far as to say, “It must suck to wait 9 years for a ring that look like that.”
Unsurprisingly, Phanomrat was offended by the putdowns. Especially since the ring was what she would have chosen herself.
“He knew exactly what type of ring I’d love,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle of her soon-to-be husband Samanamud. “A delicate, hammered gold ring with a tiny pearl. I don’t usually wear any jewellery, but when I do, it’s simple and minimal.”
As a cooking show host, Phanomrat notes that a large diamond would be impractical for everyday wear because her hands are usually working with food and getting messy.
“What mattered to me the most was the tiny detail on the inside of the ring,” she shares. “He asked the ring maker to inscribe the initials of our nicknames for each other. I swear I thought I was floating in the air when he pointed it out. My heart smiles every time I see it.”
For two days after the proposal, the couple curated a list of pros and cons about sharing the news with their followers. But after building their online community for five years, the couple figured their fans were like family, and didn’t want to wait too long before letting them in on their exciting secret.
Phanomrat is used to online haters — but she’s never experienced such a flood of spiteful comments and derogatory speech. What’s more, a majority of the negative talk came from women.
“I’ve always been an advocate for women supporting women, so I was shocked to see so many females wasting their time replying to each other to dampen our happy moment,” Phanomrat says. “I deleted many comment threads to ease the cycles of hate speech. What I couldn’t remove were the memes that people created and shared on Snapchat and Instagram. Another female influencer shared one of the memes, which said ‘Ladies, would you accept the ring and say yes?’ above our photo.”
While Phanomrat finds the fact that people would take her happy news and turn it into something so negative, she’s maintaining a positive mindset and looking towards the future with her fiancé.
“What Leo and I do want those people to know is that we mostly choose experiences over material things, and we encourage others to think about how they measure value in life,” Phanomrat explains. “We made it our priority to travel around the world, eat bucket list foods, and experience dream adventures together. That’s all we’ve ever wanted and will continue to do, ring or no ring.”
Anyway, Phanomrat would prefer the money that would’ve been spent on a massive sparkle go towards a new set of wooden bowls.
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