The Greatest Expression of Love (It’s Not a Ring!!)


Today while reading an article online I came across a link to another article entitled “Five Ways to Get the Engagement Ring You Want.”  I think something inside of me died when I read that.  Actually maybe I should say something came alive, a part of me that was so angry & disappointed in our culture that seeing that article made me want to hurl my computer across the room.  I don’t know about y’all, but my brain is still a bit miffed at the fact that people are writing such articles, & not only that, but professional newspapers are publishing these articles!  Good lord, if we as women want to be viewed as the intellectual equals of men, may I suggest that we stop pandering to such ridiculous ideas of what being a woman means?  If we want to be seen as equal partners in marriage (or just relationships in general), maybe focusing less on what kind of ring we’re going to wear would be a great place to start

Kim Kardashian's ridiculous engagement ring . . . for a marriage that lasted less than 90 days . . .

Kim Kardashian’s ridiculous engagement ring . . . for a marriage that lasted less than 90 days . . .

On a slightly different topic, lately I’ve been seeing a link shared on Facebook about some kind of really sweet proposal story.  I haven’t watched it because I’m not a hopeless romantic & such things just don’t interest me.  I’ve also never seen or read The Notebook or any of the other popular Nicholas Sparks movies/books.  In fact that entire genre makes me want to puke.  Then there are the inevitable posts in magazines about the gigantic (& just plain gaudy) engagement rings that celebrities wear (see the above picture!).  Lest you should think I am a grump, please let me explain why these things are anathema to me.

I’ve never been enticed by the idea of public or over-the-top marriage proposals.  One of my biggest goals in life is to not be judgmental so I won’t go so far as to say I think these things are wrong.  Of course not.  But I just don’t see the appeal.  To me, getting married (or having any type of serious long-term relationship) is all about sharing real life with someone.  It’s about understanding that real life isn’t always exciting or even super interesting.  It’s sharing all of the little day-to-day events of life, like going to the grocery store, cleaning up after the dog, & vacuuming the carpets.  Lots of people can have fun together at concerts or the beach or on vacation in the Caribbean.  It’s when you can have fun with someone doing all the mundane little things than make up real life, that you know you’re onto something special.  Maybe it’s because I am at heart a bit of an introvert, but the idea of being asked to marry someone in front of thousands of people at a baseball game or some other such public event makes me cringe.  To me, a proposal is an intimate thing to be shared with your lover & no one else.  In any case, my point is that a proposal that isn’t public or elaborately planned out isn’t any less romantic at all.

When I got engaged I remember the inevitable questions about how it happened, & part of me regretted that I didn’t have a better “story” to share, but deep down I was so glad I didn’t.  I’m still so glad that my husband proposed to me in a very casual way without even having bought a ring yet.  I love that so much because it implies that the decision was very much something we arrived at together & he’ll never have to feel like he “bought me” with a ring.

Coming back to the ring discussion, my husband & I were “engaged” in our hearts for a long time before we actually got engaged.  We knew for years that we wanted to get married but we didn’t want to officially get engaged till we were much closer to graduating from college & coming close to a time at which we could realistically get married.  Naturally we had discussed the issue of an engagement ring long before he actually proposed & part of me hated the idea of a ring altogether.  It just feels like some sort of ancient tradition that labels me as property, & therefore part of me wanted to skip it altogether.  But I also recognized that this is such an established cultural tradition that skipping it would cause people to say & think all kinds of horrible things about us, so in the end we decided it wasn’t worth that risk.  So we discussed the kinds of rings we liked & discovered that we had very different ideas about what makes a pretty ring (I didn’t even want a diamond because I much prefer green or blue stones but we decided not to buck that tradition too).  I refused to let my husband spend more than a certain amount on the ring because I knew that we had more important things to spend money on than a piece of jewelry that realistically I knew I wouldn’t even wear that often (as a nurse, there is too much risk of losing it at work or worse yet of carrying germs on the ring).  In the end it worked out perfectly that my husband proposed to me on Black Friday (three years ago tomorrow!!) because we were able to pick out a ring together that we both really liked & that would have ordinarily been way out of our price range (he swears he didn’t plan that on purpose & as little as he thinks about shopping, I believe him).  Some people think it’s very odd that we picked out the ring together but I loved doing it that way.  To me, it represents the way we try to make all important (& sometimes even not so important) decisions in our relationship.  We discuss the pros & cons of various actions & then arrive at a decision that we feel to be mutually beneficial.

In summary, what I’m trying to say is that the focus on rings & other such “symbols” of love is absurd.  Some people are horrified when I say that my husband & I rarely wear our wedding rings (ok, actually, he never wears his & I wear mine once or twice a week when I’m not at work & remember to put them on), but my response is always this: a ring is just a symbol & what it stands for is FAR more important than the ring itself.  I hope this post hasn’t come across as arrogant or as if I’m trying to say that my relationship is perfect.  Of course it isn’t.  There is no such thing as a perfect relationship because people, like life, aren’t perfect.  It just horrifies me to think that enough women are so obsessed with getting “the perfect ring” that entire articles are written to help them in this quest.  How ludicrous!  If we as women want men to see us as more than superficial brats, we have got to realize that obsessing over engagement rings needs to stop.  The deeper message here is that we must realize that expensive gifts are not the greatest expressions of love.  The greatest expression of love involves spending the greatest gift any of us can ever give to anyone: time, the one gift we can never get back.  The greatest way to prove your love to someone, regardless of gender, is to spend time with them even when they are sick, sad, depressed, or generally not at their best.  (This applies to romantic or non-romantic relationships alike.)  Engagement rings are just a symbol of the eternal nature of that love.  Nothing more, nothing less.  As a society, I think we would do well to understand this.

What’s Wrong With Modern Women


I just finished reading an exceedingly entertaining book (How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran) which also managed to be very thought-provoking.  I highly recommend it to everyone unless you are sensitive to what most people consider foul language or blunt conversation about female anatomy.  Actually if you are one of those people you probably would benefit the most from this book as it turns out, but I digress.  In any case, my favorite part of this book was when the author pointed out some serious flaws with modern feminine society, all of which are things I have often pondered myself.  I love it when I find that my own brilliant ideas aren’t so crazy after all!  Other people are writing books about these things!  I am not insane after all!  Hallelujah!

Weddings

The first of those things that modern society has gotten totally wrong is weddings.  Don’t misunderstand me here: I love weddings!  I think marriage is wonderful though I also realize that it isn’t for everyone & I’m totally ok with that.  But common sense, which is obviously not so common or else I wouldn’t be writing this, dictates that spending an average of > $20,000 on one single day is INSANE.

wedding-spoons

Ever since I was a child I’ve also been offended by the idea that a woman’s wedding day is naturally the best day of her life.  I loved my wedding day & I’ll gladly admit it was a great day which I will always remember with a smile. However, the idea that it was the BEST day of my life is frankly depressing.  How I can possibly ignore the not-so-subtle implication that everything that follows will never measure up to that one glorious day?  I don’t think I’ll ever claim any one day as the best day of my life because that implies that everything else isn’t as good.  To me a good life is made up of lots of wonderful days filled with simple joys & quiet triumphs.

But back to the original subject of the over-priced outrageous weddings that have somehow become the norm in our society.  Again common sense dictates that the insane amount of money spent on weddings would be much better spent on something that actually LASTS, for example a house that you can live in for years after the wedding.  Considering that most people buy a house &/or start a family within a few years of getting married, does it make sense to spend what money you have one an event that lasts ONE day or worse yet to get into debt over it?  The answer of course is a resounding NO!

Now if you are “blessed” enough to come from a family who can afford to spend a small fortune on a wedding without making a dent in the family finances, then have at it.  I still find the idea fairly silly but that is just me.  But most of us cannot afford these lavish weddings & it’s ridiculous to continue to conform to societal pressure to have an expensive wedding just because it’s “what everyone else is doing.”  I’m not saying you should give up on all of your “dream wedding” ideas but please realize that no one cares half as much about all the details of this day as you do.  Do you think anyone is going to go home & scrutinize the centerpieces from your reception or the wedding favors?  Uh, no.  And if they do they have WAYYYY too much time on their hands.  Get real, folks.  I’m not saying you can’t have fun planning your wedding.  Sure you can!  But just remember that after the day is over, THAT IS IT!  Do you really want to start your marriage financially strapped because of an expensive wedding?  Marriage can be stressful enough, so why add financial worries to the pile?  And if your parents are paying for the wedding, consider that they have better things to spend their money on than your wedding day.  Sorry if that sounds harsh but it’s true.  Your parents deserve to spend their hard-earned money on something that lasts longer than a few hours.  The way I see it is if your wedding day is the most important day of your life, you need to reexamine your priorities in life.  Marriage is wonderful and is one of the most important things in life, but marriage isn’t made up of the wedding.  Marriage is made up of the relationship you built before the wedding & the relationship you maintain after it.

Shoes

The second thing women are getting totally wrong these days is shoes.  Ladies, please explain to me why we continue to torture ourselves with those awful devices

called high heels?  Now if some of you honestly find these shoes comfortable, then go right ahead.  But for the rest of you I really don’t want to hear your complaints about how much your feet/back/knees hurt after wearing these ridiculous shoes!  No one is forcing you to wear stilettos.

stilettosThank God the days of women being expected to wear such shoes are over.  Besides that, ask any reasonable man & most of them will tell you that heels are not that sexy!  I hate to break it to you but shoes cannot drastically change your appearance.  If your legs look fat in regular shoes, they are still going to look fat in heels.  Odds are your legs don’t even look fat in the first place, but you just think they do because we’ve been conditioned to think anything that isn’t a bird leg is fat, but that is a whole different discussion right there.

So really, girls, why is that is almost every woman these days owns > 20 pairs of shoes (I’m just guessing here but that has to be about right), many of which are never actually worn or if they are worn are so uncomfortable as to make you wonder what the heck you were thinking when you put bought them?  Why are we spending hundreds of dollars on expensive heels for weddings & other events when we often cast them aside at the first possible chance because our feet are screaming “Let me out!!!”?  Please, someone tell me what the logic is here because I am not getting it.  Now maybe I am just bitter because my size 9-10 feet often do not fit in the cute shoes because those shoes aren’t even made in my size.  But frankly I find most of today’s shoes ugly anyway & besides that I have never seen the logic in sacrificing comfort for fashion.  I’m not saying I am going to wear yoga pants to a wedding, but I refuse to ever wear anything that literally HURTS me just to look good.  The way I see it is if a man only finds me attractive because of my shoes, then he has some serious issues & I don’t need him anyway.  As my dear husband so often points out, the last thing a man is interested in is your FEET.  Feet just aren’t that sexy on anyone.

Purses

coach bag

On to the third subject: handbags!  Now I understand that some women find purses legitimately interesting but I have just never seen the logic in spending hundreds of dollars on something to put my money in!  Acck, that is just so contradictory that it hurts my brain.  I really hate to offend anyone, but honestly can you blame men for disrespecting the female gender when we willingly spend HUNDREDS of dollars on ONE purse just because it’s Coach or Kate Spade or whatever?  I know I am hopelessly lost in the fashion world, but I have looked at these purses.  Really I have.  I have honestly tried to see if there is something special about them that justifies the insane prices women pay for these things.  And what I have found is that these purses are just normal purses!  They might be made of slightly better material than the handbags found at Wal-Mart.  But not that much better!  I’ve grown up a lot over the past few years & I can honestly say that I am now willing to spend $30-$40 on Gap Jeans because they legitimately are better made & are much more flattering on me than the $20 jeans at Wal-Mart.  But the price difference there is manageable.  $400 on a purse is just insane, ladies!  It’s a PURSE!  If you can’t see the problem here, I think you need to reevaluate what’s important in your life.  I personally refuse to be manipulated by marketing into thinking that I must have some expensive Coach bag to complete me as a woman.  I don’t need any such accessory.  Trust me, no man is going to care what kind of purse you’re carrying unless it’s made of cat fur or something creepy like that.  And if you’re worried that other women will not respect you or find you “cool” if you refuse to buy these overpriced handbags, then you need to find some new friends.

Now please understand this diatribe is filled with a lot of sarcasm & is intended to be humerous but also thought-provoking.  With that in mind, feel free to share your opinions on these matters.  🙂