I find it truly disconcerting whenever I come across another instance of a woman being disappointed with her ring. I have spoken with my fiancee in great detail about this, but she takes my comments to mean I don’t want to marry her. “What comments”, you might ask. Well, after being pressed many times on what kind of ring I would like, I genuinely didn’t have an answer for her. I don’t have some diabolical hatred for rings or anything, but I’ve just never worn any jewelry of any sort. I’ve just never seen the point. If you think about it, what is the purpose of any sort of jewelry? Is it so you will feel pretty or that others will think you are pretty or be impressed by the apparent monetary investment that precipitated your current adornment? Let’s take engagement rings in particular, a subject matter that both saddens me and fills me with frustration and even some anger. My fiancee is/was/is – obsessed with her ring choice. Basically, I will wear a wedding band if it makes her happy. That, however, was not good enough. I had to want to have one or else…well, just instert a bridezillish continuation here. Over the next days and weeks, I calmy engaged her in conversations about the reasons behind her wanting a nice ring. She didn’t come out and say it, but, as seems to be the case far and wide, the more expensive, the better. My fiancee, as most women and not a few men, suffer from various instances of low self esteem, unworthiness, and paranoia (in the sense that those around her are judging her). One of the things I asked her is: “Why do you care? Why do you want to play their game? If your ring is smaller or less expensive, there is ostensibly a judgment (manifested in varying degrees of overtness, from outright to nonexistent, at least on the surface.) Ok, fine. But what is this judgement based on? What makes a ring inferior to another. By and large it seems to be price, the size of the diamond, etc. I just find it genuinely disheartening that women do this to one another. It’s just a encrypted way of saying “I’m better than you because I (or my fiance) has more money than you. Now, understand, I’m fully aware that these conversations rarely occur out loud at that “special” moment of the showing off of the ring. How did we as a society get sucked into this bullshit? I grew up very poor, and felt a ubiquitous aura of indadequacy and inferiority – because I didn’t have fancy shoes, and my clothes were either hand me downs or purchsed from walmart. Then there was the standing in line for lunch, and at the school I went to, if your family made below a certain amount, you qualified for free lunch. Fine. Except that everyone in the line could see that you weren’t paying for your lunch, and you would be pegged as poor, and unworthy of anything but scorn or, if you were lucky, indifference.
I could go on and on about how I was conditioned – trained – to know that I was not as good as everyone else as a direct result of our shitty car, my cheap clothes and shoes, my free lunches – and anything else that involved money. Read again – I KNEW I was inferior. I didn’t just get sad because someone was rude and made me “feel” inferior. I “knew” that they were right, and I accepted it. I won’t get into the long, and almost certainly tedious details about how I began to steadily 1. Become aware of this, 2. Reject (or, for the beginner, question, or don’t swallow whole) the paradigm in which one is inferior due to lack of an external manifestation of wealth. 3. Refuse to acknowledge or be emotionally affected by scorn or judgement (be it overt or subtle) directed your way by those whose ideologies are based on shallow, flawed, irrelevant, igornant, or arbitrary worldviews that they were fed by family, friends, society, or of course, the media. There is generally little to no examination of their views, or if there is such emamination, they don’t understand or have the courage to ask how they came to have the views or beliefs they do. I will get back to rings after “#4” in my disjointed recounting of my verbal couching of the major landmarks I perceived as inherent and inevitable in my own fortunate escape from those essentially scripted behavioural and coginitive response defaults. I share with you the most important question that began to permeate the majority of my thought sessions. Indeed, this question became far more than just present. It became an absolute necessity, something unthinkable to devalue – which became a virtual nonissue as this uncomfortable question took on a life of its own, and, regardless of the apparent obviousness of x y or z, the question would go on the attack. The general form of the question, when applied to onself (which is where it should start). It may sound innocous, but it has the potential to knock you on your ass if you are able to hear the question (whether posed by yourself – which is ideal – or by someone else, a text you read, etc.) Now, a lot of people will give stock answers they have also been conditioned to use as a makeshift defense or answers they have been fed, trained in, and feel such confidence that no questioning of the sentiment in question is considerend necessary – in fact (this happens a lot in churches) – it is frowned upon. I know I waxed a bit wordy for #3, but I wanted the reader, should he/she decide to give this asking yourself why you believe X Y or Z a genuine shot, to understand exactly what that entails. Stock answers or shallow responses will get you nowhere, except perhaps an illfounded sense of confidence in your ability to be open minded and honest with yourself.
I know I promised to get to rings, so let me move to #4 in my voyage toward insanity and/or peace. Let me briefly (I promise this time) warn you that #4 may not be for you, and that it is not precisely necessary. But it’s almost as much fun as throwing rocks at senior citizenz. 4. When given the opportunity, that is, finding myself in a situation where value or worth is understood in terms of wealth or possessions (these occasions abound, obviously, though as we get older they don’t necessarily become fewer in number; nonsense, they increase, yet are concealed by labyrinthine webs of rationalization, justification, and well, just plain bullshit). Anyway, when I find myself in a situation where I can do the opposite of what is considered indicative of wealth, popularity, desireability, any of those things that people want…The key here is not to let on that you are doing it on purpose. Self deprecation with a straight face. Let it slip in front of a group of girls that you have a small penis even if it is not. Say something that no “right minded” person would admit to. I don’t recommend #4 for everyone, but I think it can be a freeing experience.
Ok, so, you probably have a decent idea of what I might say about engagement rings or what society tells us we should spend. I’m just going to make some comments in no particular order, because I have to go pee in the shower (raise your hand if your view of situational acceptability was adversly jostled). I have come to understand the value of a symbol to let the outside world know that you are in a committed relationship, and the most common form in use today is a ring. So, ok, I’ll wear a ring. I’m not a big fan of jewelry, and you will certainly never see me spending any unnecessary money on it. I challenge you to disprove my assertion that jewelry is worn so that other people will see it. Why? So they will think good things about you? Why? Because we are selfish…rather, self concerned. I know, many people will say, “No, I just wear this because it makes me feel pretty.” Listen to what you are saying. What is it that makes you “feel pretty”? It necessarily derives from other people viewing you in a favorable light, which in turn, benefits you emotionally/psychologically. Same thing with clothes. I mean there are variations and continuums could be brought into play for more specific delineation of the variegated levels of awareness both by self by self and self by others and of others of self by self. Sure.
Anyway, my little one is making noise – I must needs go see to him. I just felt like writing. Seriously though, I hate the idea of engagement rings. What a disgusting dynamic it perpetuates amongst women, not to mention the fact that it exacerbates the already mind-numbing simplicity of the “I-man-I-like-woman-I get-her-shiny-thing.” mentality that permeates the knuckle draggers and the vain women they marginalize while believing they are being magnanimous. As for the women who expect, demand, or even hope for expensive rings and openly or secretly judge, gossip about, or demean other women who either didn’t have a knuckle dragger, or her dragger didn’t make enough money, or, god forbid, couldn’t care less what others thought of her ring, so either bought a cheap one or not at all – invite cheap/no ring girl to lunch. Don’t worry, she wouldn’t think you were trying to show her up money wise.
Last word for you women: Whether it be rings or clothes, or hell, facebook pages (the way everybody seems addicted to them). Stop judging one another. It’s very popular for women to talk about women’s issues nowadays, but they still want to live in a patriarchal society. Why don’t you by your fiance a ring? Oh, you don’t have two months salary? Or is it three?Anyway, rings are arbitrary. Why don’t we have marriage necklaces? The ring is not necessary for the marriage. Society (say custom/tradition if you like, but those are just slither words to try to give yourself more credibility that you actually possess). Yeah I said it. Slither words.
I gotta get outta here.