Earlier this week, actress Vivica A. Fox announced her engagement to Atlanta party promoter Omar “Slimm” White.

After a one year courtship, the 27-year-old groom-to-be presented Fox, 46, with an eight-carat ring in South Beach over the holidays. Unsurprisingly, tongues are wagging over the age difference.

While Fox did shock and appall many of her fans with some of her antics over the years (the MTV Awards booty short fiasco of 2004, the failed 50 Cent relationship and subsequent media tour . . . y’all, she even talked to my college newspaper about 50, it was sad), marrying a man 19 years her junior really isn’t the worst thing the actress can do. In Hollywood, and even here in Regular Peopleland, men take wives who are young enough to be their daughters every day. The criticism that Fox has gotten for a younger beau is yet another example of folks not allowing the goose and the gander to have the same goodies, and it’s not quite fair.

Significant age differences can create a different dynamic in relationships; the younger partner often has a level of deference for their older mate that isn’t typically matched by couples who are closer in age. The elder person may take on a leadership role in the paring that more so resembles a teacher/student or mentor/sage relationship than an equal partnership. There may be a much needed spirit of youthful exuberance that the junior person provides. Or you may simply have two people who relate in a special way regardless of the earthly time that separates them. Either way, if both parties are old enough to consent and make a wise decision about who they are spending time with and why . . . there should be no shame involved for the “cougar”/tenderroni combination.

After a divorce and years of dating Mr. Wrong, Fox may have simply found the best match for her in a young, nubile package. Instead of assuming that she’s somehow deficient in someway or that she’s lost her head, we should wish her the best and, more importantly, hope that we find the best match for ourselves . . . be they a seasoned vet, a peer or even a PYT.

What say you? Has Vivica bumped her head? Or has she simply found a good thing in a young package? Would you ever consider a tenderroni? Why or why not?

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