We should start with that assertion, kittens. My love for fancy, glittering rocks is both ardent and genetic. Like my penchant for vintage textiles and pork cooked to at least 165 degrees (to prevent against tapeworms), this is all my mother’s fault. Growing up, no store was more often visited than the estate jewelers. We’d show up, pet the lovable shop Rottweilers, gossip, and buy gemstones of every color and size. I went away to college with more knowledge of sapphires than Socrates.
So, it should follow that I am very excited about an engagement ring, right? Well…kind of. The ring, devoid of any socially conscripted meaning, is great. My hand looks lovely with a bit of sparkle on it. Ain’t no thing! Except, why are we doing this again? Because, it seems like Professor McGregor is expected to put a ring on my finger in the same way we put a flag on the moon. We’re claiming this, bitches. Y’all, I’m not a giant space rock. Gravity does not chain me to the dear professor for all eternity. I can come and go as I please! I am way more Enterprise than Titan.
What’s the deal with engagement rings, society? Wedding bands, at least, indulge in gender equality along with their proprietary tendencies. For engagements however, only the woman wears one. Are we subconsciously giving men the right to keep surveying the field? Are women so forgetful that we need a conscious reminder at all times that we love someone? Or, perhaps, we’re all afraid that ravaging hordes of vikings will, at any moment, crest the hill and run off with any unclaimed uteri. Only a diamond can guard against the ghost of Leif Eriksson!
This makes no sense. It’s 2012, readers. We do not claim ownership over people anymore. Professor McGregor is not getting a dowry, along with my hand, or having to seriously ask for the permission of my father. (Though, admittedly, he feels like talking to my parents is the proper thing to do. That conversation will be mortifying/hilarious, when it happens, so stay tuned.) Yet, we proceed with this antiquated custom. Do we like diamonds too much to label them bullshit? Sexism is not okay, just because it comes in 1.5 carats with excellent clarity.
Moreover, most men give rings as a sign of their love, not as a claim. If they don’t give one, people are aghast. It’s seen as a breech of etiquette or, worse, a lack of to the commitment to the relationship. And yet, common “wisdom” tells a man to spend two or three months’ salary on a ring. I don’t know about y’all, but that seems like a lot of money. I’ve known so many people who ended up taking out loans for the ring. No one should have to borrow money to prove his love! This is all just strange. Wouldn’t we all rather go to Paris than buy a rock?
That being said, I’m getting an engagement ring. My mom is kicking in a sapphire from her vast collection, because she rocks, and I’ll have something to go along with the wedding band. In the end, my love of lovely heirloom jewelry is outweighing my hatred of sexist bullshit, but just barely. My rationalization is thus: I wear rings on my left hand all the time, but never have they had a claim on me. This one won’t either. It’s just a present, given to mark a big event, not a flag.
Be warned, American wedding customs: I am not so swayed by the rest of you. There’s a lot of non-sparkly sexist bullshit that comes along with weddings. I will not hesitate to throw traditions out the window, if they’re crap. I’m looking at you, bouquet toss…