Thoughts on an Engagement (ring)

For over a decade now I’ve held close to my belief that big-rock diamond engagement rings are some of the most superficial, dishonest symbols of love that exist. Let me be clear, I understand that it is a traditional symbol of everlasting love. It’s interesting to learn how precious gems were “reassuring status symbols to the aristocracy”. Even more interesting are supernatural powers the Romans believed diamonds possessed.

What bothers me, or perhaps impresses me from a marketing perspective, is how the diamond became the engagement stone of choice as a result of the De Beers marketing machine in the 20th century. You can thank them for “A Diamond is Forever” and 40% of world diamond production world-wide. Don’t get me wrong, it is easily one the hardest and hardiest gems. That’s quite pragmatic for cutting metals in manufacturing! But for wearing a rock whose ideal is devoid of color? Also, let’s be concerned that at one time 20% of diamond sells supported for illicit purposes such as supporting war lords. Oh, and to this day 50% of diamonds from Sierra Leone of Blood Mountain fame are still considered unlicensed and illegal.

But I digress (as usual). What I disagree with is how the symbol is not between two people, but rather between the two people and the rest of society. If a ring is just that — a symbol — why must that symbol be (1) a ring, and (2) a diamond ring to gain respect in society? How superficial and vain have we become as a society? Wait, don’t answer that, that will upset me.

I have held firm to my promise that I will not give my fiancee an engagement ring. In the end, as promised in one of our first dates, I provided my fiancee with a financial gift, a dowry of supports I suppose, stating *she* can select to do whatever she wants with the money. Go on vacation, deposit on the house, law school payment, even buy a ring, whatever. The point being it was a symbol of my commitment to her, albeit a significant financial one, that *she* could select do with as she pleases.

Fast forward 3 minutes to when the phone calls start going out announcing the engagement. The second question from every female (I’ll get to gender in a moment) — “tell me about the ring!” The ring? How presumptions! Ask about the wedding, as some officiating event must take place at some point, even if it is in front of a judge. But a ring? How dare you ask such a personal question. Since we are on the matter of appearances, how old are you? How much do you weigh? What’s with that growth on your chin? What brand of clothes do you wear? Oh, and let me know about your engagement ring!

The question onslaught occurred with such ferocity (ok, emotionally-laden words added for effect) that after but three days I encouraged my fiancee to apply some of her funds towards an engagement ring to quiet concerns. And, in classic Davidian-sarcasm, I encouraged her to pick the best, biggest ring the substantial budget could afford. I went online and brought up some pages so she could give me an idea of what she wanted. I bought one. Now, everyone will know clearly how much I love my dearest by simply looking at the huge engagement ring. Clearly.

Despite 99% of my females friends teasing me that I will never find a woman who would agree with my no-ring philosophy (what does this say about my friends, or my choice of friends), I found one. She is as precious as a diamond! My male friends, ironically enough, are jealous I have found such an open-minded, talented lady. But they only whimper this to me when their significant others aren’t around.


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