“Wedding rings: the world’s smallest handcuffs.”Anonymous
When you’re in love, you let some things slide. Maybe your man snores worse than a belt sander. Sure it’s an irritant, but you love the silly bugger, so you buck up and stick one of those adhesive thingies on his nose. If that doesn’t work, you break his nose, book him in for surgery, and open his sinal cavities like Lincoln Tunnel.
There’s always a way around little irritants, especially if you’re in love. As your mother probably told you, nobody’s perfect. Forget the idea of finding the perfect man. Choose someone you like being with, who touches your heart, then bend him until his spine folds like a sofa bed.
As the saying goes: “The fastest way to a man’s heart is by tearing a hole in his ribcage.”
Men are meant to be emotionally and spiritually exfoliated, and what better place to start than with the ultimate symbol of love: the ring.
Engagement rings have a profound meaning for women. It’s emotional, spiritual and, more often than not, financial. Pity the dumb or possibly disingenuous male who thinks he can go the economical route. Things can turn ugly fast, like the article explains in Viral Thread: “Woman Brutally Belittles Fiancé For Her ‘Small Ring’ After Finding Receipt.”
Having seen the receipt, I know he paid $1,674 for it — which is a lot less than I imagined he’d spend on such a significant piece of jewelry.”
It involves a woman on Mumsnet, who showed considerable displeasure (she was pissed) after her fiancé made a classic mistake. “DP proposed and presented me with the ring he’d chosen — a diamond solitaire in white gold,” she wrote. “I was so happy and excited to accept, but was disappointed when I saw the ring. The first word that entered my head was ‘small.’”
“His salary is nearing 6 figures,” she went on, “and he’s usually very generous. Having seen the receipt, I know he paid $1,674 for it — which is a lot less than I imagined he’d spend on such a significant piece of jewelry.”
Everyone got into the act after that, some calling her “grabby,” others saying she was perfectly justified. “You will get flamed for this,” someone responded, “but I can see where you’re coming from — not the cost per se but the fact that you’ll be wearing it every day and not totally in love with it.”
We all feel for the woman, but outing her fiancé on Mumsnet — along with a picture of the receipt — that’s pretty cold. If he chintzes on anything else, she might just take out a billboard saying: “My husband just bought this couch. He makes six figures. Am I wrong expecting a Barcalounger?”
Only that “three month’s salary” rule isn’t ancient law. It can’t be found in the scriptures or The Dead Sea Scrolls.
Women don’t take chintzing lightly — especially when it comes to rings. We’ve established the price for love with the “three month’s salary” rule. If men can’t follow that, maybe they should be outed.
Only that “three month’s salary” rule isn’t ancient law. It can’t be found in the scriptures or The Dead Sea Scrolls. In fact, it was pulled out of thin air. A mining company called de Beers discovered huge pockets of diamonds in South Africa. Diamonds themselves have little intrinsic value. They can be broken, crushed and even incinerated. So de Beers hired an advertising agency, and a clever copywriter came up with “A Diamond Is Forever.”
Given our love of proposals and marriage, three month’s salary didn’t seem all that crazy at the time, even if it was one of the biggest porkies ever. Somehow it sounded right, and women like things sounding right.
Within a few short years, sales of diamonds went through the roof. In Japan, prior to 1960, less than 5 percent of the women wore diamond engagement rings. By 1981, de Beers had that number up to 60 percent. Japan is now the second largest market for diamond rings next to the United States.
“She sounds perfect,” one man wrote back. “Does she have a pulse?”
Still, sounding right and being right are two different things. You’re going to have detractors—some pretty serious about it, too. One man recounted on reddit that he couldn’t countenance purchasing a “blood diamond.” Many lives have been lost or destroyed in the pursuit and distribution of diamonds.
His fiancé, being level-headed, and I guess not grabby, agreed and settled on an opal. “She sounds perfect,” one man wrote back. “Does she have a pulse?”
Another woman on Quora said that a diamond ring “shows a man’s dependability, dedication and love.” “If he’s going to get all uppity about what a ring costs,” she advised, “he’s the wrong guy. Keep looking!”
So, we’ve got a mining company telling women what represents real love, and women telling men what represents real love, even though we know it’s all based on a marketing ploy, and de Beers is, by all accounts, a porky champ.
A man wrote: “Don’t you know what a blood diamond is, for chrissake?!”
Did you know de Beers used to go into high schools, showing teenagers what engagement rings movie stars wore and what they cost? Often de Beers gave those rings to the studios, even pushing marriages they thought would showcase their diamonds best (think Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher).
The woman who said that a diamond ring “shows a man’s dependability, dedication and love” got some angry responses. A man wrote: “Don’t you know what a blood diamond is, for chrissake?!”
“I thought it was rose-colored,” she responded. When the man continued his rant, giving her the whole bit about thousands of lives lost, etc., she said, “Geez, dude, don’t have a bird. Grab a coffee or something.”
For a lot of women, we’re still talking about a symbol, and where love, dependability and dedication are involved, porkies make no difference. Bigger is better. What you wear on your finger is ceremonial and sacrosanct, so being rational, suggesting opals instead of diamonds, might win you respect in some quarters, but in others, you’re cheap, and love ain’t cheap.
We’re guided down the path, bright-eyed believers in all things thrilling, whether it’s a marriage proposal or a roller coaster ride.
Traditions are meant to be respected, and we follow traditions much the way we follow thrills. Nobody questions thrills. They’re part of our evolutionary make-up. We’re guided down the path, bright-eyed believers in all things thrilling, whether it’s a marriage proposal or a roller coaster ride.
There was an incident recently where a roller coaster in Japan malfunctioned, leaving the riders upside down for two hours. Fortunately, there were no casualties, but later that afternoon, the line-ups were longer than ever.
So maybe the woman outing her chintzy fiancé isn’t so crazy afterall. You don’t mess with a thrill. If that means paying three month’s salary for a diamond, you do it. A diamond is forever. Marriages aren’t, according to statistics and, technically, neither are diamonds, but you do it, anyway.
If you’ve got a problem with that, well, geez, dude, don’t have a bird. Grab a coffee, put on your big boy panties, and pony up some cash.
Robert Cormack is a novelist, journalist and blogger. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores (now in paperback).