Oh my God, what's he doing...
"Will you marry me?"
You cover your mouth with your hands. In a microsecond you saw the ring wasn't...
But in this moment you have to follow the script. Action.
INT. RESTAURANT - DINNERTIME.
GUY on one knee. GIRL looks shocked.
Oh my God. I can't believe you did this.
[The silence goes on a bit too long. He widens his eyes as a prompt, subtly motioning to the people watching them.]
Around them people in the restaurant clap, say congratulations. Some men smirk knowingly.
GUY gets up off his knee, they kiss. He sits back down.
It's so beautiful. It's so clear. [She holds it towards the light.] How many karats is it? Is it 4?
GUY (off screen):
No, it's only 3.
Wow, it looks so much bigger. How much did this cost you? How did you afford it?
Like any woman wracked by self-doubt, when it feels like a scene you feel compelled to follow the script. No means no, but yes is what it says on the page. Hence yes to the boss's extra work; yes to letting your friend vent on the phone even though you're late; yes to being in a threesome because your boyfriend wanted to.
But later, when you're done shooting for the day and you have a chance to be yourself, you finally say, "I don't want you to take this the wrong way... I really love it... but.... I was kind of hoping for something a little... bigger...."
Cue penis jokes. "She looks down and says, 'I was hoping for something bigger.'" But you wouldn't have said anything if he wasn't walking around like God's gift to women. "Come on, baby, let's get out of here..." Arrogant prick, if this is what's supporting your bragging then your BMW probably means you're living with your parents. Wait-- whose house is this?
I was listening to Cosmo Radio-- research-- and the host, Lea, was of the mindset that a ring is a symbol of what a guy thinks of you, and it's okay for the woman to tell him she wanted something bigger. Patrick disagreed: "it means she's a vapid bitch." I'm paraphrasing. So Lea compromised: "maybe he could get her a pair of earrings, too. Would that be acceptable?" I'm quoting. And Patrick, the co-host, said absolutely, great.
Of course she didn't mean that. If she thinks that the ring is a symbol of what a guy thinks of her, then the small ring is what he thinks of you. Upgrading the ring after the fact won't upgrade his feelings towards you. Which is the problem. Which means Lea took a hypothetical boyfriend who doesn't yet exist and was already covering for him, already making excuses for not getting what she wants. For settling. For him not loving her. Rather than committing to her own maxim-- it's a symbol of love-- she downplays it, letting him off the hook to maintain the appearance that all is well.
Lea was right, he should get her a pair of earrings as well. But not because he doesn't love you, but because you don't.
Her co-host, Patrick, was vocal about just how much of a bitch such a hypothetical woman is, and linked it to the story of Jessica Biel rejecting Justin Timberlake's ring. His insight was that because Justin had been a voracious cheater in the past, Jessica has him by the balls. The ring isn't a just a symbol of love, but restitution. He didn't say it, but I will: Kobe.
I get that there are cheap and jerky guys out there, the point here is not a critique of the man's logic, the point here is the woman's.
Jessica sounds like she's has Justin whipped-- snap!-- and he has to do whatever she wants to get her back, using his guilt to dominate him. As if anyone ever feels guilt anymore. Boy oh boy could that not be more wrong. Prove to me you love me, says HypoJethica. Prove to me you think I'm worth it. If it sounds bitchy you aren't listening: you prove to me I'm worth it. Give me something you don't give the other girls, can't give the other girls. You, who can get any girl he wants, make me know how valuable I am. Because I don't have any idea, otherwise I wouldn't be shaking you down for a bigger ring and I certainly wouldn't be trying to get you back.
"Jessica Biel? Doubts her worth? Are you insane? She can get any guy she wants!" No she can't, she wants Justin. And he's like, "meh. See you Wednesdays." Oh, HELL NO, you did not just call Jessica Biel weekday pussy. I didn't, but that's the text she got, "not good enough." Where's she heard that before? Oh yeah, everywhere. Sure she was on VH1's "100 Hottest Hotties" but she was number 98 and it was VH1. "But she was #1 in Stuff's '100 Sexiest Women'?" Come on. Hair, makeup, Photoshop, a publicist, it isn't real, it doesn't count. It never counts. Which is why even though her biggest movies are Valentine's Day, The A-Team, and New Year's Eve, none of those films appear in her Wikipedia "Career" blurb. You know what is there? Plays.
New Year's Eve was a vehicle for glamorous actresses to play alongside other starlets, but she sees a cast meeting where all the hotties are sitting around like, "I play the blossoming girl" or "I make out with Ashton Kutcher" or "I wear this Herve Leger dress" and Jessica gets to say, "I play a pregnant girl." Damn, yo. Truth bombs. Sort of puts you in your place. The only thing worse than that for a hot actress is to be cast as the mom of a hot actress.
You wish that you had Jesse's life? Why can't you be a woman like that? Maybe because then your Dad would have to call up this unfaithful and disrespecting boy-man to beg his trifling ass to marry his daughter. "Please! I'll pay for your wedding!" You think any of the other "Sexiest Women In Magazine's" fathers would do this? They'd hire a coupe of Russian guys to disappear him. "But he makes her happy!" I can tell.
Happiness is not the goal, what she's hoping for is affirmation. She wants the kind of guy who is a symbol of the value she thinks she wishes she had. She doesn't really want Justin to get her a bigger ring to show off to her friends: Justin is the ring.
"Is any of this true?" How the hell would I know, Jessica never calls me back. I only know that when you break down the media story of Jessica Biel, this is the narrative that comes out, and it comes out because it's typical of so many women: anything that tells me I'm worth it cannot tell me who I am. Next.
And so happiness is out, the only objective scale you have to measure value is energy and emotion. Is there passion? Is there drama-- of any kind? Can you start a recollection of events with "oh my God!"? If you took all of the world's philosophies and lined them up end to end, you'd stab stoicism in the neck, stay the hell away from me old man. The only time you'll go to a secluded beach is if it's with an inappropriate guy like your boss or your friend's husband or a photographer. "It's complicated." That's a sentence you'll never hear a guy say because no guy would say it, and any guy who would say it could never get close enough to you to hear him. Get thee behind me, wuss boy.
Here's a prediction: they won't last. Hmmm. Maybe the ring wasn't good enough.
I don't know if Lea would reject such a ring or not. Her hypothetical position is that a ring is a symbol and blah blah blah.
She-- you-- aren't asking for a boulder, but it tells you his priorities. Why is it that he can save all year to rent a beach house in the summer? Or for clothes? He spends almost as much on hair products as you do, and half of them are for his back. And now his single fling with frugality is with the lifetime symbol of your love? "You know, diamonds are just a worthless commodity the media has told us are valuable." So are breast implants. Shut it.
It's not about the ring, Alone; but about his willingness to sacrifice his own interests for you. If he drank two fewer beers each night out... is that too much to ask?
You know what else is crazy? He puts it on the card, going into debt. Then you get married and suddenly you're going dutch on your own ring. That's the kind thing that kind of guy would do.
Some girls are going to call you shallow, "it's the man that matters!" But you know that every one of those women's profile pics are of their kids or cats or both.
I hear you telling me that it's not even a symbol as much as a test: does he have the ability to put you first? Can he physically take from his plate and put into yours? Any guy who gives you a small ring is going to get a gentle push back to Tiffany's or a boot to the ass.
The thing is... hypotheticals like this can only be answered because you're controlling for the most important and limitless variable, the other person. When you have a real fiance, who knows what you'd do? Or what he'd do? So the point of these hypotheticals isn't to determine a code of behavior but to broadcast to others something about yourself. "I'm the kind of girl that wouldn't tolerate a guy who can't put me first." But in your own hypothetical, hadn't you already tolerated him for a year?
The kind of man whom you're going to have to nudge towards a bigger ring, to cajole into being more selfless, to whip into settling for you-- is the kind of guy you are hypothetically attracted to. And you know who that kind of guy finds attractive? You. And Jessica Biel.
These hypotheticals are dreams. The lesson isn't what you would do; but how did you construct the fantasy? That tells you who you are, and it's telling you to you think you should leave your Wednesdays free. He might come over.
"Are you saying I have to settle for a smaller ring?" No girl watching award shows to see what they're wearing but hasn't seen any of the movies and who doesn't read the post before yelling. I'm saying if you refuse a ring from a guy which is less than what you wanted, thinking it's a symbol of his love but hoping it is not a symbol of his love, then the problem isn't the ring, the problem is you.