Ever since announcing that I was planning to ask Sal to marry me, I’ve been inundated with questions about my plans. And subsequently, about where/how/when I actually asked. But one question I’ve been asked over and over again is whether or not I offered an engagement ring.
I’ve gotten the question so many times that I figured I’d just post an answer here, and refer people. (Because I’m that lazy.)
The quick and easy answer is this: No, I did not buy an engagement ring. And frankly, at this point at least, I’m not planning to do so.
Now, this has caused no small amount of angst among friends of mine, particularly female friends. In their minds, when a man asks you to marry him, he’s supposed to give you jewelry. I hear this argument, and I understand where it comes from: as a girl, you’re taught that a man is going to get down on one knee and open up a jewelry box with a fancy and expensive ring in it. And the fancier and more expensive the ring, the more he loves you.
I’m sorry, but I call bullshit. An engagement ring is lovely, and if you have the money to buy a really gorgeous one, then more power to you. Show your prospective fiancé and the whole world that you “take good care” of your loved ones. And by “take good care” I mean “spend two months’ salary on something whose entire value is derived from the fact that you were willing to spend an atrocious amount of money on it.”
Well, I didn’t do that. For three reasons:
- I’m morally opposed to the idea of blowing thousands of dollars on a ring, just to prove that you can and did. Granted, I’ve demonstrated in the past that I’m perfectly willing to spend money I shouldn’t, in amounts that I shouldn’t, on extravagant things… But they all had some value to them besides just perception.
- I don’t have the money. Or rather, there are other (in my opinion more important things) that I’d rather spend that money on, involving the two of us.
- I proposed to a man. Women wear engagement rings. If I ever propose to a woman, I’ll consider it.
Again, several friends have objected to all three of those points. They say that it’s mandatory, and while expensive, there are comparatively inexpensive solutions. (“Inexpensive” in this case meaning a ring that only costs $700-$800 instead of several thousand.) But still, that’s a lot of money to spend, and given the choice, I’d rather spend that on us having a fun-filled adventure together.
The ultimate explanation for why I simply must buy an engagement ring, however, is that it’s customary. “An engagement ring is part of the tradition!” they insist. So, I point out, is a fiancé with a vagina. Our wedding couple isn’t abiding by either of those traditions, thank you very much.
Yes, yes, gender roles are fluid, and there’s no set etiquette yet for same-sex marriages. But in my (admittedly old-fashioned, in this scenario) view, an engagement ring isn’t something a man gives to a man. An engagement ring isn’t something a man wears. (And please, gay or sexually-liberal friends: no jokes about what kind of rings a man could use for an engagement ring.)
In my mind, if I were to give Sal an engagement ring, it would be putting him in the “female” role in our engagement. And while some same-sex couples do have clear male/female equivalent roles (example: lesbian wedding in which one woman wears a tuxedo and the other wears a wedding dress) that’s not how Sal and I view our relationship. We’re two men, in two men’s roles, and that’s how our engagement and our wedding will be.
Besides, as I hinted at above, I have something much more exciting in mind for what little disposable income and/or available credit I have… More on that, soon.