I do not understand the obsession with engagement rings. And yes, despite my name, I am a girl, and, therefore, I am socially-inclined (or, brainwashed, rather) to obsess over the sparkle and size of a rock that grips a person’s finger like band of eternal ownership. If you like ‘em and you want one, hey, do your thing. But, I do not like them, I don’t like what they stand for, I think they’re a symbol of self-entitlement, greed, and selfishness, and I think they are a complete waste of money. But, yes, hey, do your thing.
I actually want someone to explain why engagement rings are so commonplace though…?
Every time I ask one of my friends why they expect to receive an engagement ring, the only thing they can come up with is: “because I want one” or “everyone else does it” or the particularly vomit-inducing “it’s a symbolic gesture.” If you want one, seriously, then that is great, and you should definitely force your significant other to spill his or her pockets to do so. Maybe I don’t understand because I grew up with a mother that did not have one and only had a silver band from her marriage to my dad. (Still married by the way. Without an engagement ring! Crazy, I know!!). Maybe it’s because my parents were poor, so they thought the money was better spent on their education or on, you know, food. Seriously though, why does love have to be symbolized by a ridiculously expensive piece of jewelry? Why can’t the person’s love be enough?
For all those women out there who hate me by now, I swear I’m not a complete asshole. I’m not sorry though. I do think the rings are pretty, I do “ooh” and “ahh” over my friends’ rings like a nice friend, but I just don’t understand the need or the desire to have one. Why not take that money and go on a trip with your partner and actually have an experience together? Why not spend the money on your future apt/house? Or, outlandish thought here, why not give the money to a charity?
Look, I realize it’s tradition (although there is argument to whether it started in ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, or only 50 years ago), and I realize it’s a symbolic gesture that means a lot to each respective couple. However, as many before me have said, just because it is tradition, doesn’t mean it’s necessary or right. Although greediness is alive and well right now, I like to think my generation has a pretty good grip on the economic distress of our time, in addition to the need for social responsibility in ending world poverty, starvation, exploitation of the poor, environmental destruction, rape and assault of women, discrimination of minorities, and a host of other problems attached to our time. Why, when we are so in tune with current socio-political battles, can we not then turn that critical analysis onto ourselves and critique our own misuse of money, words, and conduct?
I’m not saying that an end to engagement rings will eradicate world hunger, but these rings do encapsulate the problem at its very core: western people’s wants (i.e. greed) vs. the world’s needs. Maybe when I’m old and gray, I will be able to celebrate the elimination of engagement rings while holding my partner’s ring-less hand, but until then, I’ll just continue ranting on about how much I hate engagement rings while those who want them give me the evil-eye.