In the past few days, there’s been a lot of web chatter about women’s equality and what it means…A few minutes ago, I was reading the Dear Prudence column on Slate…One of the questions piqued my interest…Here it is:
I am very much in love with my girlfriend of four years and want to spend my life with her. There is one thing preventing me from popping the question: the diamond ring. My girlfriend is not overly superficial but has made it clear that she needs a “moderately good-sized ring.” I am young, in graduate school, and have no money. I would have to take out a loan to buy her what she desires. In the long term, money won’t be the issue, so my objections to buying an engagement ring are mostly philosophical: 1) Buying a diamond ring seems like buying a woman. 2) If we are equal partners, what is she buying me? 3) Diamonds fuel conflict around the world. 4) They are expensive yet inherently worthless. I have told her how I feel, and she sees my point but has indicated a ring is necessary. I can’t imagine proposing to her without one. Should I wait to propose and in the meantime try to change her mind, just buy her a stupid ring already, or take this impasse as an indicator of future conflict and move on with my life? (I don’t know if I could do the last one.)
I understand the guy’s problem…I think it’s idiotic to get into debt to buy a piece of jewellery…A ring doesn’t signify commitment, actions do…We sometimes focus too much on the symbols of marriage and the ceremony, instead of the marriage itself…I also can’t understand women who demand free diamond rings…If they want one, they should get it with their own money…But this post is not about this…It is about the second question: “If we are equal partners, what is she buying me?” I think it’s a good question…If women want equality, they too should buy their fiancés something equally expensive…After all equal=equality…How can people expect to be treated equally when it suits them and then flutter they eye lashes when it doesn’t?
What do you guys think?
“Engagement rings took off in the U.S. when the courts refused to hear “breach of promise” lawsuits. These suits were brought by women who had slept with their fiancés and then been abandoned. These women were then less attractive marriage prospects for anyone else.
Naturally, such lawsuits were sensational fun for the newspapers, and eventually the courts put a stop to the whole thing. The problem then became: how could a young affianced couple have sex with each other when she had no recourse to the law if he changed his mind? Both of them might well want to, but for the lady the risks were pretty high. And so the institution of the engagement ring came about. Such rings are non-returnable, meaning that if the man breaks off the engagement he doesn’t get the ring back. The system discourages him from running off and provides automatic compensation if he does. Very clever.” [Link]