January 29, 2012

What Would You Do If Your Fiancee Rejected The Ring As Not Good Enough?

now let's see what kind of man you are

"Will you marry me?"

She covers her mouth with her hands and looks shocked. Tears. Oh my God. She can't believe you did this. (Yes she can.)   She says yes. (Not like there was any doubt.)   The other men in the restaurant join their wives in polite fake applause, albeit less enthusiastically.  Congratulations, they say.  They don't mean it.

Through dinner she turns her hand every which way.  It's so beautiful.  It's so clear.  How many karats is it, is it ____?  and the number she guesses will be off by one.  Of course.  

How much did this cost you? she eventually asks.  Wow.  How did you afford it?

Until finally....  It may happen at dinner, or at home, or... She says:

I don't want you to take this the wrong way

I really love it


I was kind of hoping for something a little

.... bigger.....


Cue penis jokes: "She looks down and says, 'I was hoping for something bigger.'" Hack.  If she cancels the sex because it's not to her standards then she's not just a bitch but a slut, and not just a slut but a psychopath, because she's reduced your existence to a heated dildo, nothing else matters to her because nothing else can matter to her.  Sex is mutual masturbation. 


Assume this is a hypothetical scenario; i.e. imagine it happening.

The most important question for you, the reader, the one that will tell you the truth about what is happening in the story, is this: what does the hypothetical woman in this story look like?


I was listening to Cosmo Radio-- what? I'm allowed-- and Patrick, the host, is discussing this hypothetical story.  He had a strong reaction to it: "you dump that vapid bitch."  I'm paraphrasing.

The thing is, this isn't the first time you two have been around each other.  You have a prior history, you have had other insights into her character, you already know what kind of a woman she is.  Which makes you the type of man that is attracted to the kind of woman who would say that.  Uh oh.  And guess what type of man that kind of woman is attracted to.    You.

Patrick was right, you should dump her.  But not because she's shallow, but because you are.


His co-host, Lea, didn't say much, and I got the strong feeling that she felt, hypothetically, it was totally ok to turn down a ring she didn't think was big enough.

Some women will say the ring is an expression of love, it reveals how much her man thinks she's worth.  It shows to what extent he'd be willing to take care of her.  What they mean is that the ring is a kind of test of his love: does he love me so much that he's willing to "waste" money, abandon practicality, when it comes to me?

I get that there are more sensible women out there, the point here is not a critique of the woman's logic, the point here is the man's.     

The truth is that you knew when you bought it whether the ring was what she wanted. What you were banking on is that she'd accept it anyway.  It was a kind of test of her love.   

That's why this offer of the less than "perfect" ring that she rejects can be understood to be a defensive maneuver: you don't want to marry her.  "You know what, you're absolutely right."  Not so fast.  I mean you'd be much happier just dating her, living with her, status quo.  And you know, if she just waited, someday, someday, someday, you'll be rich; and then you'll buy her a really nice ring.

Yummy.  Nothing the kind of woman looking for a perfect ring now wants more than a wait-and-see guy.  You're with her (partly) for her looks, yet you expect she'll gamble those looks on a single horse race that starts sometime in 2025.  "Don't sweat it, baby, I got a system."  Can't wait.

But if your patent/stock/novel/horse comes through and you later do indeed get her that bigger ring, are you going to spend a greater proportion of your wealth on it, or just more money?  If not, then you haven't properly understood what that ring represents to her-- crazy or not-- which means that you don't understand her, which means, importantly, that you do not care to try.   The point here isn't that she's right, the point is you two are not connected.

Save your money.  You'll lose it in the divorce anyway.


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.  In real life, she might reject such a ring, or circumstances with her fiance might be that she is perfectly happy with that ring, or any ring, or waiting for a ring, or who knows what, because the difference between what you would do hypothetically and what you would do in real life is the other person.

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 fiancee, who knows what you'd do?  If you really knew her, the story wouldn't happen.  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 guy that wouldn't tolerate such a gold digging bitch."  Oh, you're a Capricorn.  But in your own hypothetical, hadn't you already tolerated her for a year?  40% of the time from behind?

In the example above, what did she look like?  You imagined her to be hot.....ter than you.  You did this because only a really hot chick, a kind of woman, would reject a ring because it wasn't big enough.  And in this way you have justified not being with this woman, "a bitch!"-- a woman who doesn't exist but serves a a proxy for a type of woman who also does not exist-- so that you don't have to face rejection.  In other words: blame it on the ring.

When the woman in the joke rejected you because of your penis, do you really believe she liked you except for the penis? 

These hypotheticals are dreams.  The lesson isn't what you would do; but how did you construct the fantasy to allow you to do it?  That tells you who you are.


"Are you saying I have to buy her an expensive ring?"  No guy wearing Axe who doesn't read the post before yelling. I'm saying that if you spring a ring on a woman which you already know is less than what she wanted, hoping that she'll be satisfied but not sure if she'll be satisfied, then the problem isn't the ring, the problem is you. 


Now go here: What Would You Do If Your Fiance Gave You A Ring That Wasn't Good Enough?


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If you want the history of engagement diamonds, Epstein writes the classic. It reveals the extent to which our social constructions are.... constructions. Highlights:

"To stabilize the market, De Beers had to endow these stones with a sentiment that would inhibit the public from ever reselling them."

So began engagement rings for the masses.  It all started in September of 1938.

The ad agency of N.W. Ayer started "a well-orchestrated advertising and public-relations campaign [to] have a significant impact on the "social attitudes of the public at large and thereby channel American spending toward larger and more expensive diamonds instead of "competitive luxuries."

...the advertising agency strongly suggested exploiting the relatively new medium of motion pictures. Movie idols, the paragons of romance for the mass audience, would be given diamonds to use as their symbols of indestructible love....

Did it work?

Toward the end of the 1950s, N. W. Ayer reported to De Beers that twenty years of advertisements and publicity had had a pronounced effect on the American psyche. "Since 1939 an entirely new generation of young people has grown to marriageable age," it said. "To this new generation a diamond ring is considered a necessity to engagements by virtually everyone." The message had been so successfully impressed on the minds of this generation that those who could not afford to buy a diamond at the time of their marriage would "defer the purchase" rather than forgo it.


Off topic, but there's a masturbation competition in the US and Europe, and the world record holder went 9 hours.   Yes in fact, he was Japanese.

But the interesting thing about such a competition is that it exists.  No shame in masturbating, I guess.  "Why should there be?  We all do it."  My mom doesn't. I'll kill you.

But the lack of shame isn't what's really interesting.  What's really interesting is that the purpose of it is to masturbate together.  A previously shameful, previously solitary activity now done with other people proximate to you, but no connection is needed or even desired; the only goal is the self-pleasure, with the pretense of the camaraderie if the other skin jobs next to you.

I could say that it's a metaphor for social media, or narcissism, but it isn't a metaphor, it is the inevitable conclusion.