(Closed) my ridiculous Tiffany's problemposted 7 years ago in Rings
- 7 years ago
- Wedding: April 2015
Ugh tough situation – I know all about family opinions and appearances and standards… ugh.
I see engagement rings as gifts, and in this case a meaningful (valuable!) gift that he picked out with what seems like a huge effort to please both you and your family. Personally I couldn’t care less if I would have picked something different, I’m just grateful my Fiance wants to marry me and made an effort to guess what I want. But I don’t underestimate exposing both you and him to years of “opinions” and occasional snarky comments.
I think I would accept it gracefully and use it for special occasions, and maybe eventually to be passed down as the ring your loving husband surprised you with – and definitely I would not mention where it is from. You could explain that you don’t feel comfortable wearing it on a daily basis, and if you both would rather have something you can wear as well, you could go together to pick something out. But for sure leave your family out of it when you talk to him.
Hugs and good luck!
- 7 years ago
Also my friend’s email reminded me of a story I thought you all might find funny. In the 1950s, both of our grandmothers were invited to the wedding of one of their friends in Newport. As our grandmother’s explain it, people didn’t really dress up for Newport weddings. It was a sleep beach town, and while things were much less casual than today, people didn’t go overboard. So, our grandmothers and all the other Newport crowd just showed up in basic party dresses and the like. The groom, however, was very “new money” and he and all his people showed up in full on white tie. The whole thing was totally glitzy and over the top. Everyone in Newport was scandalized and thought it was tacky tacky tacky and gossiped mercilessly about it.
The groom turned out to be one of our most beloved presidents and the world remember the wedding as glamorous and the height of elegance. So I suppose what the old guard considers tacky can what the future considers classy. Of course I wouldn’t want my marriage to turn out the way that one did! 😉
- 7 years ago
- Wedding: March 2014
The already-wealthy have the freedom to live modestly both because they can afford high-quality items that rarely need replacing (the “Captain Samuel Vimes Boots Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness” per Terry Pratchett- that a rich man can afford a $50 pair of boots that will last a decade, while a poor man must buy a new $10 pair every year- or in your family’s case, heirloom jewels) and because they have the money to back up whatever they do. If you have money and connections behind you, you can dress and live however you like and anyone anyone taking you for lower class, well, they’ve made an embarrassing mistake. If you’re ACTUALLY poor, and you want to be taken seriously by people in a higher socioeconomic strata (employers, banks, romantic partners) you have to dress and behave much more carefully. The rich man is eccentric, the poor man is crazy, etc.
So… on the plus side, you’ve got someone who sounds driven, hard-working, and intelligent. On the other… of necessity, he probably does value different things. You’ve grown up in an environment where status and wealth are a given and so other things have come to stand for social distinctions- when everyone has money, groups develop other ways of determining “in and out”. You say that you don’t need to work, nor does your family, although you choose to- but clearly your fiance does, and his success likely matters to him, emotionally and financially- he has nothing to fall back on (well, you, but few people like the idea of being supported entirely by their loved one’s inheritance). If his peers, employers, or clients don’t take him seriously, he… is back to square one, a bright working class kid. So he’s coming from a very different place than your family, but possibly one that’s very smart for him.
Self-snobbery shame confession- I often work with a very, very poor demographic, and although I know most of them can barely afford to eat and house themselves, they often carry or wear flashy expensive designer items. I think they’re ugly and ostentatious, and it made no sense to me- why would they carry such expensive items when they’re so poor, and struggling so much? And then I read a fascinating essay about class signifiers and how a status item can be crucial to getting the sympathy of or being taken seriously by a gatekeeper like a hiring manager or a low-level government official. That had never occured to me, but of course it wouldn’t- I’m a well-educated middle-class white girl with good teeth- I can carry a purse from Target and nobody questions my right to be taken seriously as a job candidate or a person. I don’t need a designer bag to make someone listen to me. But that’s my privilege, not a universal condition.
Obviously this is an extreme example, but on some level some of this has gone on with your fiance- for him to come from a working class family and make it to a big law firm, there were probably times when he had to present himself differently from his family of origin, and that likely meant “abiding by upper-middle-class norms”. When you’re socially climbing, you have to play by the rules. You don’t get to make or discard the rules till you’re already at the top. I’m not saying he needed to buy his fiance a Tiffany ring to get the boss to like him, but if the boss’s wife has a Tiffany ring… well, he lives in that world. It seems like in this instance, the ring itself is more a symbol to you of this possible divergence in values than an actual logistical problem (it is, as you noted, a very generic setting- it isn’t like this is some massively blinged-out Tacori that screams who made it; if you don’t tell people it’s Tiffany, nobody will know).
You just have to figure out if those values it might symbolize- well, first if they’re real and this isn’t just a huge O. Henryesque misunderstanding- and if they are, if they are compatible with your own- how far you’re able to step outside the mindset of the rareified environment in which you were raised, and see that some of the values of his law firm partners “rubbing off” is likely not just inevitable but integral to his professional success, and how much he’s willing to compromise to make you happy even when it may conflict with his idea of success.
No matter how successful he is, he’ll never be a trust fund kid, and your family is unlikely to wake up and smell the plebian roses. You will likely always be a bit stuck in the middle, so regardless of what you decide about the ring, I think you’re smart to be thinking about and working through what that means for you as a couple now rather than later.
- 7 years ago
Omg this thread is crazy! Who is upset to get a ring from tiffany! He was probably told that the Tiffany solitaire is the ultimate ring of erings and bought it for you bc he thinks you deserve the best. Your family sounds so ridiculous compared to the ‘real world’
- 7 years ago
- Wedding: October 2013
I think you just need to accept it :-/
If he had bought it for you without any input that’s one thing, but since he offered to have you help choose and you declined and told him to pick it then you can’t really complain. When I tell DH to pick something out (I.e. New lamps) I know I’m running the risk of him picking out something I would never habe chosen (he brought home lamps with owls at the base Haha!) but it is what it is. If I offered him to pick something out with me, he said no, and then he wanted to exchange what I picked out I would be pretty upset!
Your family sounds like a real pill. I was kind of shocked reading this that people actually think/act that way outside of reality TV shows. I would try to stop caring what they think. Your Fiance is your new family. I think you should be putting his feelings and opinions way above your judgy family.
Best of luck to you both!
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