Springtime Rings

My daughter drops little hints on our phone calls recently, teasers to suggest her boyfriend will soon pop the proverbial question. If he does propose, her left hand will be adorned with an engagement ring and she’ll become – literally – a marked woman. She might as well sport a little neon sign on her ring finger blinking, T-A-K-E-N.

While my daughter gets excited about her potential Ring by Spring (Hallmark Channel movie, March 2014), I glance down now at the gold band I’ve been wearing for the last thirty-four years.  My wife and I decided a plain ring wasn’t enough of a statement for wedded bliss so we chose one with seven inset diamonds across the top.  Now that I think about it, those seven gems might as well broadcast M-A-R-R-I-E-D.

My ring

Over the years, I’ve grown fond of the string of bling inside my ring.  It’s a unique setting and the diamonds draw compliments.  But credit to my wife, there’s purpose behind the glitter.  She gives me her coy smile and declares, “When you’re walking down the street by yourself, the woman with her eye on you a block away will easily know you’re married”.  A block away?  That’s pushing it, but my diamond shine certainly does seem to advertise M-I-N-E.

Speaking of the opposite sex, Irwin Shaw, a playwright and author from the early 1900’s, wrote a short story that seems appropriate here.  It’s called The Girls in Their Summer Dresses.  Shaw puts us on the streets of New York City on a beautiful day, where a married couple is going for a walk.  The husband keeps getting distracted by every pretty girl passing by and his wife calls him out on it.  Their conversation over drinks after – and his closing thought – make for an interesting perspective on marriage.  You can read The Girls in Their Summer Dresses here.

Claddagh ring

I can’t talk about my daughter’s forthcoming engagement ring and my own circle of gold without including a ring of my wife’s.  No, not her wedding band (though it’s a beaut’) but rather a Claddagh ring she’ll receive from Ireland in the next few days.  As we learned when we visited the Emerald Isle (and also from the Hallmark Channel – As Luck Would Have It, April 2021), the Claddagh ring includes symbols of love (heart), friendship (clasped hands), and loyalty (crown).  Wear the ring facing one way to show you’re single and looking for love.  Wear the ring the way my wife will, to show you’re already “captured”.

“Eternity” ring

So there’s one more ring for love out there in jewelry shops (and it’s not a “promise ring”, which doesn’t count for much of anything).  Ever heard of an eternity ring?  It’s a band of precious metal with little gems all the way around the circle, to symbolize “never-ending love”.  Talk about a bauble.  Women describe it as “cumbersome”, and rumor has De Beers came up with the concept to justify a large purchase agreement with Russia for small diamonds.  My wife will never get an eternity ring from me.  Our vows included a nod to her wedding ring as “a forever sign of my love and fidelity”.  See?  I’ve got “never-ending” covered already.

My newsfeed included a recent wedding proposal in Atlanta, where the groom-to-be took his bride-to-be on a helicopter tour of the city, then promptly dropped to one knee on top of the skyscraper they landed on.  When he popped the question he opened a box of five engagement rings.  Seriously?  I hope the guy my daughter will marry is way more decisive than that.  Commit to just O-N-E, son, kind of like you did when you chose my daughter.

Some content sourced from the CNN.com article, “Man tops off helicopter proposal with five engagement rings”, and Wikipedia, “the free encyclopedia”.

Author: Dave

Three hundred posts would suggest I have something to say… This blog was born from a desire to elevate the English language, highlighting eloquent words from days gone by. The stories I share are snippets of life itself, and each comes with a bonus: a dusted-off word I hope you’ll go on to use more often. Read “Deutschland-ish Improvements” to learn about my backyard European wish list. Try “Slush Fun” for the throwback years of the 7-Eleven convenience store. Or drink in "Iced Coffee" to discover the plight of the rural French cafe. On the lighter side, read "Late Night Racquet Sports" for my adventures with our latest moth invasion. As Walt Whitman said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Here then, my verse. Welcome to Life In A Word.

16 thoughts on “Springtime Rings”

  1. Wow – actually, I would LOVE the 5 ring choices. Try them all on and if nothing fits, send the poor guy BACK to the jewelry store to “get it right.” A helicopter… engagements have really gotten sophisticated. 🙂

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    1. To the groom-to-be’s credit, all five engagement rings were already “preferred” by his bride-to-be, so window shopping was done beforehand. Further credit to him, he guessed right on which of the five she would pick. This marriage just may take!

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  2. I always learn something when I read one of your posts Dave. I have heard and seen photos of a Claddagh ring but have never known the story behind the ring. So I Googled to see the “rules” of how to wear the ring – now I know. After 30+ years of marriage, suddenly my father left my mother penniless by taking all the money out of their joint bank and annuity accounts and fleeing the country. My mom no longer wanted her wedding and engagement ring. A friend of the family had a jewelry store and created a cross pendant with the largest of the stones in the middle of the cross and a dainty pinky ring for me with the tiny stones. So diamonds can be a girl’s best friend, even by default. 🙂

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    1. What a bittersweet story, Linda. I can’t imagine what your mother went through in those months and years after such an unconscionable act of betrayal. Credit to both of you for recognizing the sentimental value in the gems. I hope they bring back the fonder memories of the marriage when you look at them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it is bittersweet Dave. I suppose my mom could have pawned the rings, but this was a more sentimental way to preserve them and not see the rings in the form they were originally intended.


    1. “The Girls…” is a quick read, Joni, and part of an anthology of short-story fiction I studied in college (I still have the dog-eared paperback). The story stuck with me after all these years because the message between the lines is not so straightforward, and worth pondering. Maybe we can exchange “takes” after you read it.

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      1. Thanks for reminding me Dave. I did read it tonight – it’s certainly an interesting read, although a bit dated. I googled to see when it was written – 1940’s I think, because of the fur coats and hats. I used to buy a lot of fashion magazines when I was younger and I’ve often heard it said that New York City women are the best dressed women in the world. I’ve also heard it said that men are visual creatures, but I’m not sure women today would be quite so accommodating of a husband with such a roving eye, but in that day and age when most women did’t work, and they were financially dependent then maybe they had to be. I also watched a short video of the story on youtube with a young Jeff Bridges and the woman acting in it was trying to be light-hearted and upbeat but it was set in the 80’s from the looks of it- also a time when women were more accommodating, (think when Harry met Sally, a couple I always thought were doomed), both of a man with a roving eye and being an object to be leered at! Not sure that would be the case now. Plus a guy like that today might find himself a target of the #metoo movement. Someone had posted on their blog awhile ago a clip of that old pantyhose commercial – Gentlemen prefer Hanes from the 1980’s just to show how much times have changed. Did men even wear wedding rings back in the 1940-50’s to indicate you were taken? As for the disagreement which spirals into an argument which ruins a perfectly nice day, that is still probably classic among couples with issues and communication problems. It was a good read and certainly a masterful piece of writing. Your thoughts as a male? I do wish short story writing would become popular again – I remember when many of the women’s magazines always had a short story or two in their issues.

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      2. The final line of the story really brought it home for me, Joni. As much as I wanted his observation to be the compliment it appeared to be (no giving away the ending here), I realized it only solidified his objective view of women. I remember when I first read the story I was hoping he’d have an epiphany with his wife, realizing their relationship was built on more than just looks. As it turned out, she was no different to him than the others. Their conversation over drinks was fascinating, in that she was delving into topics they should’ve come across much earlier in their marriage. To me, that’s where the story has staying power (although maybe it also speaks to the woman’s place in a relationship back in the day – don’t question?) Today’s young married couples often don’t get a handle on honest, direct communication before they commit; then don’t know how to approach the tough topics they need to. Regardless, I still enjoy this story time and again. The contrast between the walk and the conversation is striking. The writing itself is excellent. There’s a lot of meaning here in just a few short pages. I should look for another of Shaw’s stories.

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      3. Thanks for your opinion Dave. When I think of all those couples who married so quickly in those war-post war decades – did they really know the person they were marrying? Probably not. I know the Catholic church required engaged couples to take a marriage preparation course dealing with topics like communication/finances etc years ago, but I don’t know if they still require it, as I don’t know anyone who has had a church wedding lately. And yes, the contrast between the walk on a beautiful day and the deteriorating conversation is striking…..I hadn’t thought of that. I’ve never watched Mad Men – the TV series but I’ve heard it was quite a window into male/female relationships in the 50s/60s. I’ve also wondered about the Donald Trump/Melania relationship – and remain puzzled even after reading that book Melania and Me by her ex-friend, (mixed reviews on that one, as the friend was a bit different too), but if you sign up to be a Trophy Wife from someone who just wants a Trophy Wife, then maybe those kind of women just put up with stuff as it’s part of the deal? I supposed I’m too much of a feminist to understand that. I’m glad I didn’t live in the 50’s. I wonder what kind of reaction there was to that story back when it was first published? I was not able to find out much about it when I googled, just student essays.

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  3. I’ve been married twice and have not had an engagement or wedding ring or a big wedding. We always had other things we would rather spend the money on. And each of my husbands professed to not liking to wear jewelry, so I certainly wasn’t! I like rings and have many, including my mother’s engagement ring I wear to special events, but I don’t like the idea of announcing your status through a symbol – marital, religious, or otherwise. I understand these traditions are important to some. But I was pleased when my son told me that he and his live-in girlfriend of two years will not have an expensive wedding. They “eloped” to New Orleans for a long weekend and will have a party after the pandemic. Perhaps a family tradition!

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    1. Sounds like you were a woman before your time, Ruth! I’ve seen several young couples where jewelry is not part of the engagement or the marriage (ditto wedding cakes, ditto weddings at all). Perhaps they prefer to keep their “status” private, or more to your point, spend the money on things of more personal value. Part of me wishes my daughter were more like your son, but alas, her wedding could amount to the equivalent of a downpayment on a condo. She’s been dreaming about her ceremony since she was a kid, so it would almost disappoint me if she didn’t follow through with her plans. As they say, different strokes…

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  4. I am just behind you, having just celebrated anniversary #31. A plain gold band for me, thanks. I have never really been drawn to bling and the plain band suits me. Besides isn’t the ring itself supposed to represent eternity? Maybe we’re seeing “eternity inflation” so that real eternity requires diamonds? Or are they just more eternal? (Which I don’t think is actually possible).

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