Thanks to everyone who sent stories, gchats, comments, and responses my way after yesterday’s Role/Reboot engagement ring piece.
There were two substantive threads that came out of my follow-up conversations that I kind of wish I’d addressed in the original essay:
A number of people pointed out that I neglected to really consider the gentleman’s perspective on the engagement ring issue. How do they feel about the cost of a ring? How do they view the tradition? Does it feel burdensome and unfair? Or does it make them feel manly and mature? Both? If I purport to being all about equal partnership etc etc, where was the male perspective on this ancient tradition? Super valid points, folks, so valid that I’m contemplating a Part 2 specifically focused on how men approach the traditions and conventions of proposals. If you want to chat, shoot me a note/tweet/post etc.
Another facet of this conversation I neglected (this one more intentionally) is the emphasis on “showing off” the ring. You’ve all seen it; a woman walks into the office tentatively waving her ring finger around, waiting for someone to notice. When the first person does, a free-for-all ensues, a stampede of coworkers to see who can get closest to the gem and emit the loudest, most appreciative ”ooooooh!”
Some women I talked to described the feeling as “like you’ve won a prize.” People treat you like the newest lottery winner, possessor of a trophy marking some sort of status earned. The bigger the trophy, the more admiration bestowed on you. Here’s an example from the old standby, People:
For women, the indication that someone wants to marry you and is willing to prove it with a big diamond is still considered your biggest achievement. Really? An engagement ring trumps Olympic medals?
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