“You’re engaged!” we squeal collectively, as if we’re teenage girls again (instead of adult women with jobs, mortgages and insurance plans).
Then, sure as night follows day, the procession of hugging and chorus of “I’m so happy for you” quickly subsides as we get the to real point of this exercise: “Show us the ROCK!” someone cries.
And thus, the ring judgement begins…
Ring judgement is a tradition that dates back to the very first time a caveman rolled a giant boulder home and lovingly presented it to his cave lady, in the hope he’d get lucky on the wooly mammoth skin covered floor. It occurs in the two months immediately after a woman becomes engaged and essentially involves everyone she meets inspecting her ring finger with the sort of precision normally reserved for someone in CSI Miami.
There are oh so many questions to be answered. How big is the stone? What kinds of stone is it? Is the band 18 or 24k gold? Is it new or an antique? How much would it have cost? Is it Tiffanys? How many diamonds are there? How clear is the diamond? How many carats?
The list goes on but the point doesn’t. All these questions are mentally asked and answered in the pursuit of a single fact:
How much does he love her?
No matter how much we all protest and deny that’s the case, no matter how much we insist that love cannot be measured by a dollar figure or the number of carats – that’s what we’re doing when we check out a ring. Judging. We’re making an assessment of the strength of two people’s relationship and the scale of the guy’s devotion based on a blingy rock.
And the reason I’m so sure this is the true meaning of ring judgement? I’ve done it to others and I’m deadset terrified of going through it myself.
As a 30-something, I am surrounded by people getting hitched and by ring judgement. So I’m becoming increasingly nervous that when the time comes I will do ‘getting engaged’ wrong.
Because I don’t wear rings. Ever.
This is partly because I like fun costume stuff more than fancy expensive jewellery. It’s partly because I don’t like my hands and don’t particularly want to draw attention to them. And it’s partly because rings are really, really annoying and make it hard to do important stuff, like type on a computer and playing that super addictive Facebook farm game on my phone.