Size Doesn’t Matter. And Other Lies Girls Tell Their Boyfriends

12 Sep


When you’re told that someone gets engaged, the first question asked is always, “how big is the ring?” Every other g-chat convo contains a link to some poor sod’s engagement ring, followed by catty commentary from girls who’ve never met her. It’s an unspoken truth that all women are terrified that their ring will be the protagonist in this judge-fest. We’re met with giant sighs when we finally get the approval of our closest friends.  It’s not beautiful until someone you care about tells you it is. This makes me altogether terrified to have a baby.

Some girls assuage their fears by sending besties along with their fiancés to shop for the ring. Others put pics on the fridge as subtle hints (I don’t actually know anyone who’s ever done this). Many accompany their boyfriends to look for jewels on spec. She points to things. He takes note of the clarity and mentally calculates how he can afford it without becoming visibly nervous.

Ben and I did this exercise exactly twice. Once, after a dinner in Chinatown, hopped up on Tsing Tao’s and MSG, we looked at some heart-shaped CZ’s in the downtown diamond district. I swore at the time that I didn’t understand why people fuss over diamonds. I proclaimed that I didn’t want a boring “rock” (he was relieved) and that I’d prefer a Chanel bag over a cushion cut (he started to sweat).

The second time was after a boozy brunch. Bloated from mimosas, he took me to Tiffanys. The Puerto Rican Day Parade had just cleared and the streets outside of the flagship store were left with remnants of orange confetti and the pridefuly  inebriated. It was perfect.

Under the artificiality of the UV lights that would have made even those glass Chinatown baubles look stunning, I tried on ring after ring and I finally started to get it. “Diamonds are kinda pretty,” I whispered to Ben, still trying to keep my cool with the sales gal. “She seems to like round, brilliant cut” the associate said to him with a wink and pulled him aside to hand over her business card and note the size of stone that would be appropriate for me. Big, but not ostentatious. Naturally.

“I guess having an actual engagement ring wouldn’t be the end of the world” I confided in Ben after our trip to the land of the mark-up was through. We then drank some more to celebrate my awakening and had self-righteous conversation about how we were too smart to fall for the ruse of buying a ring from a store that charges a 300% premium because of the blue box it comes in. I didn’t mention that I once owned every toggled item Tiffany shelved, but they all lay tarnished in some drawer on Long Island alongside those neck chokers that looked like tattoos.

After that, feeling more confident that I knew what I didn’t like in rings, I was sure to show Ben every time I saw something that was so “not me,” leaving the immense task of figuring out what was “me” to him. A note to boys with fickle fiancés out there: buy the ring from somewhere returnable. It takes the pressure off.

Luckily, I love my ring (though I imagine I’d grow to love anything he picked out for me. Maybe). I think his happiest moment in our relationship was when I finally gave him the okay to insure it. Though despite adoring my new jewelry, it took a great deal of adjustment. I’ve amassed a nice collection of antique cocktail rings. I’m used to those. There’s no expectation that I’ll wear them every single day. In sweatpants. I worried the ring was too dressed up to wear to work. Perhaps I’ll just wear it on special occasions, I thought initially.  I got over that.

My ring and I have a special bond now. Recently I was caught gazing at it at the nail salon while I was drying. The lady next to me leaned over and asked nicely if I’d just gotten engaged. “Two and a half years ago,” I told her, even though it’s only been two but when I feel uncomfortable I exaggerate the length of my engagement by a half of a year.

Though I was slightly embarrassed that the woman spied me checking out ma piece, the novelty of having sparkles on my forbidden finger hasn’t worn off yet. And I no longer wish that I had a purse instead.

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