Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Size matters

Now that I have your attention, let's discuss a common practice among many women. Oh, I have participated in the discussion a time or two myself but its been a long time and I am quite thankful to say so. On my morning flight to Philly yesterday for a period of approximately 20 minutes which actually felt like forever, I enjoyed very little the conversation of two women behind me discussing of all things, size of her recently received engagement ring. She was excited and giddy the way most women with newly minted fingers are, but it is the line of dialogue that makes me think, 'if he could hear you right now, he would likely change his mind.'

How did we as women devolve into creatures where a large portion of a man's value is directly correlated to the size of the diamond he bought you? Really, tell me how. How can we surpass confidence, intelligence, loyalty, kindness, family ties, ambition, care, skill set, religion even choice of music, books and dance moves and land all the chips on the box marked RING?

The conversation behind me went something like this:
Friend: Oh, did you know he was going to ask you on Valentines Day?
Girl: OMG no, and it was a total surprise. Except we talked about rings for 6 months.
Friend: LET ME SEE IT!
Girl: Didn't he do good?
Friend: WOW that is SUPER DUPER!
Girl: oh, I was VERY specific! (apparently also part of the 'total surprise component')
Friend: Well, you have a keeper.
Girl: Even my Mom was like, OH what a good boy.

Really girls?  Your soon to be spouse is a 'good boy' because he knows "how to buy stuff?"
So the simple act of shopping categorizes him as top shelf? Does he know your system by which he is measured? I hope not. PS: You sound mentally soft. PSS: The first time you get really irritated w/him, talk to your ring about it. PSSS: "mentally soft" is the nice way I say "dumb."

Is it fun to be excited? Yes. I like to say things like "Yippee" and toss in a few high kicks. Is it fun to be giddy? Bring it. Is it fun to get a sparkly new treat? Amen. But this on-going conversation isn't about happy/giddy/sparkly. It is about gauging worth based on size.  

Oh listen, I like baubles like the best of them. My husband is great at picking out gifts and I have some fabulous pieces of jewelry. When I see beautiful jewelry on others, I say, "how awesome" or "that is beautiful" or "what a gorgeous surprise."

I do not look at engagement rings and exclaim "you are so lucky to get that guy based on that ring."
And I was once privy to the most awkward conversation between ring-wearer and another girl  who clearly thought the ring was a 'starter' ring. The ring-wearer made an uncomfortable expression and politely exclaimed, "It was his grandmother's."
My thought: Why are you explaining yourself to Princess Tactless?
My second thought: Now you don't have to invite her to the wedding. 

One of the most beautiful couples I know have simple matching bands.  Frankly, I would also classify them as one of the most happily married couples I know which in this time of society of dwindling counts of happily married people, it is quite a statement.

In the current times where our culture certainly spends days sliding down a sewer pipe of trash television and poor behavior, can we set the bar a little higher? Let'd so and teach younger women to side step this type of conversation. Pretty please?


brokenteepee said...

I cannot believe the number of couples who GO INTO DEBT for a diamond. It is an absurd way to start a marriage. My engagement ring was 1/2 the size of most of my friend's but my husband didn't buy it until he could pay for it in full.

Tomorrow is our 31st anniversary and you know what? I hardly wear it any longer. We now keep a small farm and wearing a diamond around goats and chickens is just not feasible. It sits in my jewelry box and comes out on special occasions.

Many of my friends of the 1 carat+ stones are on second or third marriages....need I write more?

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Excellent post!!
I have said many times that if young women worried as much about their marriage as they do the dress, the ring and the party there would be less divorce.
I didn't get married for the jewerly, I could buy my own damn baubles thank you.

Chain Stitch Crochet said...

I too feel as you do. Although the one speaking to the Tactless Princess? I probably would have said the same thing, only with a look that would wither her to her plastic slipper. Some people have no sense of feelings for others' feelings. Respect, yeah, that's it.

I've missed you!! :o)

Michael said...

I can't disagree with your thoughts here. I have a bit of a unique experience, I bought my wife the wrong ring, didn't consult her on it, and went about it myself and got it wrong. The level of disappointment was obvious and it eventually blew up into a much larger argument.

We eventually got my wife the 'right' ring before the wedding, albeit at double the price, funny how she didn't seem to care about that.

I have to admit there were moments I thought about throwing up my hands and saying "Hell with it" for marriage. I didn't but it gave me a heads up of what types of struggles we were going to have in the future, ones that I don't think she had an idea of. We've made it through the rough spots, and I still find some of the personality that cared so much about the ring there, but I've also seen growth since that time as well.

webb said...

A guy friend of mine confided in me that he was planning to pop the question, and that he had picked out three rings. He wanted to kno
W if it was ok to show them to her and let her choose. I thought that was a good idea.

Apparently, at the jewelers she suggested a ring that cost 2.5 times as much as his selection. They did not get engaged. He's never said any more andi will never ask, but i suspect he learned thing s about her in those minutes that he would rather not know. Perhaps she was on your plane.

So. Cal. Gal said...

I once had a conversation with an 'almost' engaged woman. She said, "If he doesn't get me at least a 2 ct., I'm going to say no. That'll teach him." I was SO tempted to respond, "Yes. That'll teach him that you're not the right person for him." I don't know whatever happened but I hope he's with someone else now.

Amy Green @ Sweet Home Amy said...

Omg, AMEN. And I love what fellow commenter Patty wrote.

I can't stand when I hear those conversations. I've been married & divorced and trust me - the bling of the ring don't mean squat. It's all about being happy together, and if you have to put a dollar amount on your relationship to consider it "worthy" of taking the next step, you got issues.

SmartBear said...

This is a great post because it is SUPER big deal round here in the burbs of the heartland. We recently celebrated our 10 wedding anniversary and I told my husband I'd like to trade in my engagement ring for a simpler band. I still here these comments like "did you get a look at that ring?" when I talk with other gals...even those who have been married awhile!
It's really just part of a bigger problem too. Like, people want all this STUFF...the nicer car and a bigger house and then they can't understand how we travel or do other things like have date nights. And I sort of want to laugh and say "you know...because we don't own a BMW SUV and we live within our means!"
And it's funny because like you, one of the most amazing couples I know wear simple bands and I think they are the wealthiest couple I know as well. They live in a smaller house with a reasonable car. They don't define themselves by their STUFF.

A Cuban In London said...

A very witty and humourous post. I agree with your last thought. Can we set the bar a little higher? Here's hoping. :-) Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Facie said...

Size should not matter for pretty much anything, but the conversations you witnessed do not surprise me.

I have been wearing my grandmother's wedding ring for about 10 of our almost 14 married years (ever since my fingers got bigger when I was pregnant). I like that I don't wear an engagement ring and instead have something sentimental. Yep, you nailed it with "our culture certainly spends days sliding down a sewer pipe of trash television and poor behavior."

Unknown said...

I could not agree more, what is it with some women? My blood boils when a women says, I'm not a feminist. Oh really, so you don't mind that half of the population gets a larger salary for the work they do just because they have (physical) balls? And you don't mind that women get raped, and abused, and the men who do it often get scott free because the authorities can't be bothered to deal with 'domestic violence'. And don't even get me started on religious reasons women are denied human rights all over the world just because of their gender.

Sorry, rant over, but people like those girls going on about how wonderful a man is because he managed to buy an expensive diamond ring are a big part of the problem.

Great post, as always, Jenny!

Helena xx

Beth (@RunTraveler) said...

AMEN to that!
The worst one I heard was: "Look at that rock. He must really LOVE YOU!" (Said to a woman in a horribly dysfunctional, but financially lucrative relationship.)

The whole diamond "thing" is a wildly successful marketing ploy by the De Beers diamond monopoly. Did couples love each other less during World War II when they had no money and metal was being rationed for the war effort? Hardly.

Like you, I love beautiful, elegant things. And if someone gives a gift as a sign of their love, that's wonderful. But dollar signs don't equal love. (Case in point: Every engagement ring in Hollywood. Ever.)

The Savage said...

I have a coworker who guilted her husband/ex-husband-now boyfriend into buying her two super-sparklers after being disappointed in her trivial 1/4 carat engagement ring.
Diamonds don't impress me. I can burn them to ash with a small pile of lit charcoal and a hair dryer.

Liz Aguerre said...

Haven't been around in a while, and I was poking a bit...trying to catch up on you a little. After a few posts, this one was my fave. I have always loved when you share your take after overhearing...

And yeah, I so agree. Here's a little story for you. True story. Swear on my shoe collection.

Met my husband's exwife many years ago when she was still his wife. A group of us were standing around (Hubby and I have worked together for years..it's how we met and how we ended up together after his divorce) at a work function, being polite to this girl, making chit-chat. We had just met her. We knew he was not particularly happy with her, because we had known him for a while. I point out her "beautiful eternity wedding band."She responds (loudly and with an eye roll): "Oh yeah, I asked him for the real one, but he gave me this one [at this point, she turns her hand over so we can see the back of the ring, which is plain] which isn't really an eternity band at all."
The rest of us were rendered a little speechless...and totally understanding when they divorced shortly after.
Her loss...my gain.
How's that for karma/irony?
SERIOUSLY, though, how can someone do that????