Lust and Love

Put A Ring On It

This past weekend, I was able to hang out with two great friends of mine.  While feeding our carnivorous pallets (and black stereotypes) with delicious wings from B-Dubs, (Buffalo Wild Wings) we discussed the future of one of our relationships.  I asked my boy, “Do you think she’s the one?” He immediately replied without hesitation, “She’s the one.”  I’m extremely happy for my boy and I think it’s a beautiful thing whenever a man can admit to his friends that he’s met his soulmate and he’s made the conscience decision to spend the rest of his life with her.

Okay, now that all that sentimental stuff is out of the way, I want to dive into today’s topic.  Obviously that conversation inspired today’s blog, but it’s not the idea of holy matrimony that I want to discuss.  I want to discuss the idea of the engagement ring…from a (Married) man’s point of view.

While we were continuing our conversation that night about what kind of ring his future fiance’ wants to wear, we asked our waitress what she felt about the cost of an engagement ring.  Before answering, she slaps her hand on the table to show us her 3-carat diamond wedding ring.  She explains that a man should very well spend a few thousand dollars on an engagement ring.  When asked why, she says “You don’t want your fiance’ showing off a tiny rock to her friends.”  Now I like to think I’m a guy that respects traditions, within reason of course, but I can’t agree with the notion that a man is supposed to spend three months’ salary on the engagement ring.  If I’m not mistaken,  three months salary for a ring symbolizes that love lasts forever.  You’re not supposed to upgrade, because the man has already invested a quarter of his yearly earnings on the ring.

So ladies, can you explain why this is tradition? Or do you just blindly follow without fully understanding the concept because it equates to you wearing a pretty rock on your finger so you can make your friends envious?  I did a little research and I found an interest fact behind the history of this so-called, “salary requirement” for engagement rings.  Ready to have you bubble popped?  Well, In 1919, the jewelry company, De Beers, experienced a drop in diamond sales that lasted for two decades. So in the 1930s it turned to the firm N.W. Ayer to devise a national advertising campaign to promote its diamonds.  They claimed that a man should spend the equivalent of one month’s income in the engagement ring; later they claimed that he should spend two months’ income on it.  Somewhere later down the line, the cost moved up to three months. You see that ladies?  You’ve been brainwashed by a clever Marketing campaign.  Damn shame.  So much for “tradition.”

Being that I’m a happily married man of 6 and a half years, I feel that women should stop placing so much importance on the cost of the ring and just embrace the symbolic meaning.  At the end of the day, the ring symbolizes your future union as man and wife.  Who cares if he didn’t spend thousands of dollars on it.  Why not save money on the rings and go on a lavish honeymoon instead?  Or maybe put it as a down payment on a house?  Hell, even stash it away in savings.  No matter the reason, I feel the extra money can be better spent elsewhere.

Since we’re on the topic of engagement rings, Ladies, if you break off the engagement, give the ring back.  Regardless of what you can prove in court as a “gift,” the ring symbolizes your engagement to be married.  If the engagement is off, then the ring doesn’t mean anything and should be given back to the former fiance’.  Keeping the ring only shows how shallow and materialistic you are.  And odds are, you’ll probably never get married for the right reasons.  If you do happen to get married after pulling a stunt like that, you’ll probably end up alone and penniless.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog.  I really want a lot of feedback from my lady readers on this one.  Leave the comments below and let’s get this debate started.

As always, stay classy.



19 thoughts on “Put A Ring On It

  1. I love all things sparkly, but I must agree, I am not one for a large engagement ring (not interested in being hit of over the head with brick & being jacked for a precious stone). I am not a traditional lady. I’ve actually considered a beautiful swarvorski crystal as an engagement ring, or a simple band of baggettes. Nothing too flashy because I LOVE costume jewelry. Not to down play the symbolism behind an engagement ring, as it would be my most prized piece of jewelry! I personally have a preference for really really nice shoes!!!

    On a less shallow note, many of us are more fascinated with the IDEA of a wedding rather than the reality of marriage (I am speaking from experience). I can honestly say that I am more fascinated with weddings rather than marriage, because at this point in my life, I can’t see myself sharing my closet space or my Egyptian cotton sheets LMBO! Those who are truly ready for marriage are not caught up on the size of the ring.

    I have also heard that their is an emphasis placed on the size of the ring by men because they: 1. want to “mark their territory” 2 It’s a point of pride 3. Over compensating…. and maybe there are more…Is this true?

    • Very good point. There are many people who love the idea of a lavish wedding. They want the pretty dresses, the photographers, the cake, the dancing, the whole 9. But not necessarily what comes later….the actual marriage. As far as turning it onto the men as a point of pride, there’s some truth to that. But I’m more than willing to bet if you gave a guy 5 thousand dollars and told him, you can buy one engagement ring, or you can buy an engagement ring and the rest on something else. They’ll pick the latter.

      • Very, very true brother. I’d probably spend $2000 (if that) on the actual bridal set and the other $3000 more wisely. Possibly on a house, new car, or college fund for the daughter. However, pride is certainly an issue that I would have to combat in my bargain shopping for a ring.

  2. I so agree! Everything within reason …. I prefer something nice, thoughtful and reasonably priced (in the words of Dave Ramsey ‘Act your wage’) opposed to making payments on a ring or a wedding for that matter. I’ve been married and happily to report all was paid in cash ahead of time. No regrets when it didn’t work out. Its not about what the friends think anyway, its about the 2 ppl who are getting married. Owning a home, paying bills on time, and starting out in a new marriage without unnecessary stress is the way to go!

  3. As a happily married woman I agree that spending so much of one’s income on a ring is…foolish. I am a firm believer in purchasing the Style of ring that she would be proud to wear. Yes the ring is a symbol of the commitment, but she still has to look at it everyday LOL. But, to me a man willing to spend more than he has on an object sets himself up for future financial expectations that he may or may not be able to live up to, which in the end can cause BIG problems in the relationship.

    Or the second point, i agree on most accounts of giving the ring back if you in fact do not get married. If she is the reason for the break up, give it back. If he is the reason for the break up give it back UNLESS he turned out to be super trifling AND put you in debt trying to build his behind up. Then you sell the ring and pay back as many debts with it as possible along with anything else he may have given you. Why keep anything that would remind you of a failed relationship?

  4. excuse typos LOL LOL….this is why I shouldn’t blog at work!!!!

  5. Being a marketing major, we learned in class how precise and elaborate De Beer’s campaign was…and I be damned if it didn’t work to perfection. Diamonds are so overpriced now, companies can do 70% off retail and STILL make a profit!! Ok, done with my educated vent.

    While I feel 3 months of wages is a bit much, I’m still gonna have to drop a chunk of change to keep up with the “Jones” per se…I mean the ring will change a guy’s image significantly in the eyes of the female friends of the fiance….in the famous words of Tony Soprano, “whatta gonna do?”

    • Very true indeed. I didn’t drop serious change, but looking back on the day I bought my wife’s ring, that was a lot of money based on my current income as a college student.

  6. I don’t know anything about jewelry. So after a guy explained to me that engagement ring and matching bands ran him about 12K I was very taken aback. I suppose the 3 months price tag can be high and I also think if the girl that you choose to ask to marry you is into that you need to suck it up and shutup complaining. The issue of rings should be discussed before the engagement pops up. I’ve seen girls pissed about the ring and the guy ends up spending more money on a replacement.
    A recently married woman told me that you should seriously go for the diamond. A nice one at that. No matter how much you say you don’t care what people think, you don’t want someone to look at your ring and NOT know it’s an engagement ring. Or give you that pity look lol. I think she might have a point. But I don’t even know the different cuts of stones, so I am nowhere near an authority on the matter.
    Great blog though!

    • When I went to buy my wife’s ring, I had no idea what I was looking at. They kept showing me in the microscope all the cuts and I would just nod my head and agree. Ended up getting the one she has now because it looked cool. Although I didn’t drop 3 months salary on it, I still paid more than a cracker jack box.

  7. I have always felt that it doesn’t matter how big my engagement ring is but have literally gotten side-eyed when I have said that out loud in front of other women. No, I don’t want a plastic ring but I care more about the simple fact that he is asking to spend forever with me. A simple diamond will do. I have always thought it weird when a woman helps her bf pick out the ring that he will propose to her with. Let him pick what HE feels is what you should have since he’s the one asking. Also, as I get older I think after being proposed to I would buy my fiancé a simple but nice band to symbolize our engagement. After all we are both now off the market and everyone should know it.

  8. In my opinion, this blog is really asking the question, “On what, does a person base their perspective?” If you believe that image is based on what you wear, how you look, what you drive, then you are going to want all of the “accessories” of life to WOW people. However, if your perspective is grounded in long term stability and economic security, then you will make decisions that highlight the importance of money management. It’s not the cost of the ring that’s the issue; it’s the when you have to have it.

    When a man decides that he has found the one (because nothing matters until that man decides in his mind) then he can begin saving money for the type of ring that he deems appropriate. If he can only afford a $500 ring and he wants to propose sooner than later, then it’s up to the woman to decide if the size of the ring is going to take precedent over her commitment to a marriage with him (and that philosophy goes with everything).

    I appreciate the exposure to truth in regards to the marketing campaign in the early 20th century..hopefully this new information can change the paradigm that people have in regards to ring size and it’s significance.

    • You’ve definitely found the underlying reasoning for the debate at hand. It all boils down to perspective. Great comment!

  9. I think that a man should buy a ring that will please his future wife and his wallet. The amount of money that he is able to spend on the ring doesn’t minimize what the ring symbolizes. However, people also need to put things in perspective. The ring symbolizes your lifelong commitment to each other and it is a piece of jewelry that will be worn every day for the rest of her life. In my opinion, saving and spending $5,000 on a ring isn’t a lot of money for a ring that will be worn for the rest of her life (excluding upgrades). Now about giving the ring back…. I respectfully disagree with the author. Keeping a ring from a broken engagement doesn’t have anything to do with being shallow or materialistic. If a man chooses to break of an engagement he forfeits his right to the ring. If two people decide to break an engagement they should have a discussion regarding who keeps the ring. If a woman is shallow and materialistic for keeping the ring, what is a man who asks for the ring back?

    • Regardless if the man or woman breaks it off, the ring itself symbolizes a future union. If that union is cancelled, why would the woman want to keep it? Is she going to store it for safe keeping? Is she going to pawn it and buy something else? Either way, my main argument is the symbol is broken. If both sides respect the true symbolism, then I feel the woman should give it back.

      To your point about men being shallow and materialistic, I believe there are plenty of men who fit the bill. But in this given situation, asking for it back does not make him shallow. He has every right since he provided the ring in the hopes that she would marry him.

      Also, what if the ring is a family heirloom? Is the man not allowed to ask for that back even though he broke it off?

  10. Since the symbol is broken the man should get the ring back? What is he going to do with the ring? Pawn it or give it to someone else? It is up to either party to make a decision regarding the ring once they have established who will keep it.

    I think a family heirloom is a separate conversation. The man is always allowed to ask for the ring back regardless of whether it is a heirloom. The woman is a alsways allowed to say no if she doesb’t want to give the ring back.

  11. Pingback: Happy Birthday to The Block! « The Writerz Block

  12. I should agree with the point you’ve made about buying an expensive engagement ring. Commitment to one’s future partner can’t be calculated exclusively by how much the man has spent on an engagement ring. In a certain sense this tradition of buying a diamond ring and spending on it at least three monthly salaries imho is outdated. And what about those countries where $3000 is a yearly income? Are those people supposed to follow this advice and buy a ring that is the cost of their yearly income? As an alternative to a gold ring one can buy a titanium engagement ring that is as beautiful if not more beautiful than gold at one fifth of the cost of a gold ring. Titanium as a material is hypoallergenic too. The only downside to titanium is that a titanium ring can not be re-sized so it’s very important to know the size of your fiancee’s finger before purchasing a ring.

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