When Bernie, a 23-year-old seal at the Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium, was first introduced to Coral, the 3-year-old seal who was brought in to mate with him, they bonded immediately. Coral was attracted to the older seal's wisdom, experience, and familiarity with the tank. And Bernie was smitten with her smooth skin and silky whiskers: "It's a classic romance, sort of a May-December kind of thing," aquarium director Jon Dohlin told the Daily News. "He's got himself a young lady and he's really come alive. He's the Tony Randall of seals." The paper took an adorable photo of them kissing (inset) and the seals became media darlings. But now, a month later, a photo taken in what is clearly an unguarded moment between seals shows doubts about the relationship are creeping in. You can see it in their eyes: Coral is experiencing pangs of regret at her lost youth — she will never know what it might feel like to be made love to by a younger seal, one with unwrinkled flippers and a firm snout. Meanwhile, Bernie is exhausted by having to keep up with his young bride, and just kind of wants to kick back and watch SportsCenter.
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