Tell me ladies, do you have a big fat diamond engagement ring on your finger? Maybe a giant sapphire? I personally don’t, not for any particular bias against them (when they’re conflict free) but rather because I am a ring snagger so I do best with low-profile rings that aren’t going to rip out my hair and destroy my delicates. I do have a surprising number of friends sporting big bling, some of whom I think must still be paying it off after a few years.
No matter. Whether you’re partial to something like Twistie’s silver frog or the 10 carat estate ruby I do occasionally wear (snag snag) or a huge honkin’ diamond set in platinum, there’s one thing most most engagement rings have in common. And that’s that engagement rings are given to women by men. Which is fine and dandy – who doesn’t love presents? – but it does have this weird way of tipping the scales, making people feel inadequate, and switching on the materialism in nice people who aren’t typically prone to that sort of thing. Plus, according to Slate’s Dear Prudence writer Emily Yoffe:
It turns young women — otherwise independent, successful strivers — into passive recipients, waiting for their prince to rescue them from their single state. In what other aspect of their lives do young women so totally turn over their future to the decisions of others? I get letters from women who regularly scour their beloved’s sock drawer, hoping to see a ring box, evidence that marriage is in their future. The ritual of the engagement ring means he decides, he buys, he proposes. Throwing the ring out of the equation encourages the progression toward marriage to be more of a continuing discussion, a joint decision.
What do you think? Should engagement rings go the way of the dodo or should things get back into balance with the introduction of an engagement gift for men trend?