I was blog hopping a few weeks ago when I came across something that really, really disturbed me. The post itself was cute, a girl had written a sweet story about the heirloom diamond wedding ring she had. She then invited her readers to post about their own wedding rings. By the time I had slogged through thirty comments like “my ring really isn’t as big as I hoped”, “my fiancé really couldn’t afford what I wanted but the fact that he bought it anyway really shows how much he loves me”, “we are definitely going to upgrade someday,” I was having trouble keeping my lunch down.
I want to be clear that I love the symbolism of wedding rings. I think it’s cool to have a way to say to the world, “I am committed.” What makes me feel sick is the weird importance we place on female engagement rings. So I’m proclaiming this right now, for any future ring buyer I run across….I don’t want one. The day we get married we can put nice bands on each other and you won’t have to worry that it’s too small or too cloudy or not exactly what I wanted. I have all kinds of feminist and political reasons for thinking that diamonds are a huge scam but those aren’t even at the forefront of my uneasiness with engagement rings. I don’t want to waste that much time and energy on something that sits on my hand. Two months salary? Let’s buy a house, let’s spend three weeks on a honeymoon instead of two, let’s celebrate our first anniversary somewhere amazing, lets buy a piece of art we will both love. Let’s not start our marriage with me making it clear that my happiness hinges on what material things you can buy me. Let’s not let an industry with a brilliant copywriter dictate what forever is going to mean to you and me.
I realize this is a controversial statement and for those of you who love your diamonds-I say “great!” My mantra as of late is that most of the life decisions we make aren’t “right” or “wrong” and if we want people to understand and respect our choices, we have to extend the same respect to them. But the older I get and the less my life goes according to some arbitrary plan, the less I feel myself bound to all kinds of traditions. Fantasizing about a gigantic rock is just not one of them anymore.