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.
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.
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”.
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.