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Buying A Guy An Engagement Ring


Let the feminist angels sing

by Rachel W. Miller, Contributor

Buying A Guy An Engagement Ring | A Practical Wedding

A few weeks ago in our new Saturday Link Roundup, I linked to the Dear Sugar‘s advice on the kids/no kids decision called, “The Ghost Ship That Didn’t Carry Us.” Similarly, I think a lot about my “ghost feminist choices”: the fights I could have fought, but didn’t. Because as APW staffer Emily T. puts it, “If everything I did had to advance the cause of woman kind, I would pretty much just lie down.” Not every fight is our fight. So while I fought the hard fight on my (and my child’s) last names, the engagement ring issue just didn’t end up being my battle. But I think of it wistfully sometimes. Today, Rachel Wilkerson (who is changing her name, illustrating my point perfectly) is telling us about how she bought her partner an engagement ring (and the feminist angels sang).

Buying A Guy An Engagement Ring | A Practical Wedding

I knew way before Eric and I got engaged that I had no desire to have a proposal. We all have those wedding traditions that just kind of squick us out, even though they are no less arbitrary, bizarre, or rooted in patriarchal bullshit than another tradition that we totally dig, and proposals are one of my squicky ones. “No one is going to be asking anyone any questions,” I declared to Eric. But what about the ring part? Oh, I was totally down with that.

You see, I am a gifter. I love that moment when I’m out shopping and I see the perfect gift you never knew you always wanted. If there isn’t an occasion coming up, well… so what? And before you think I’m just in it for the stuff, I should say that it has nothing to do with monetary value—you could bring me a pack of gum you thought I’d like and I’d feel like we just shared a magical bonding moment. I start planning for birthdays and holidays months in advance. So of course I’m going to be excited about engagement rings. And hell yeah I’m going to want an opportunity to buy one too! Is this even a question!?

Well, I’m a woman and I wanted to do something that felt right to me so… of course it’s a damn question.

“I’d like to… buy you something too?” I told Eric before we began shopping for my ring. I really had no idea if he’d be into the idea or not. While I love giving and receiving gifts, Eric could take or leave them. But I’m not sure that the question was so much, “Hey can I buy you this thing?” because I didn’t exactly need permission. I was really asking, “Hey, I want to be seen as your equal. Are you okay with that?”

I didn’t just want in on the gifting fun, or the opportunity to buy him something special and symbolic; I also wanted to make clear to everyone who knows us that we view this relationship as a partnership. I wanted to start the official process by saying, “Don’t just ask about my ring. He has a ring too!” (And I do say that, a lot.) It will be the first of many similar statements, I’m sure. “Don’t just ask me about the wedding! It’s his wedding too!” “Don’t just ask me about why our house is a mess! It’s his house too!” “Don’t just ask me when I’m going to have kids! Actually… seriously just don’t ask that question.” He’s stuck around for this long; I should have known he was okay with this. But I was really thrilled when I realized he was more than okay with it; he was actually into it.

So… now what? Now we had two rings to buy and no idea what to buy for either. Despite the wealth of information out there on picking out a diamond, none of the research we did was very helpful. (Do an internet search for it and you’ll get a lot of “that two months’ salary thing is nonsense; do whatever you’re comfortable with!” which is nice, but totally useless.) I kept asking him to just give me a budget, but he didn’t know what the “right” budget was and didn’t want me to be disappointed once we started looking at rings in real life. (While the idea that all women believe bigger is better when it comes to engagement rings is constantly reinforced in our culture and it’s incredibly toxic, Eric and I both know damn well that I really love nice things, even when I cannot afford nice things.) The night we finally set the budget, I seriously expected him to write it on a legal pad and wordlessly slide it across the table to me.

But at least there was guidance for him. For me? Not a thing. Should it even be a ring? We talked watches, bracelets, cufflinks… but we kept coming back to a ring. But… how would he wear it? Should he wear it on his left hand and then move it to his right hand after we were married? And what rings did he like? He knew what he liked for wedding rings, but it seemed like his engagement ring should look different from his wedding ring in some way. On the one hand (heh), I was worried we weren’t going to find something and that our official engagement (which was to be marked not with a proposal, but with a secret engagement party we were planning for our parents’ upcoming trip to Houston) would be here before we found a ring for him. But on the other hand, I was having so much fun with the process. Between shopping for the perfect ring and planning a surprise for my loved ones, I started to get a sense of what men have been experiencing all these years. It was awesome! I couldn’t understand why we had been letting them have all the fun this whole time.

About a week before our engagement party, I came across a great ring on Etsy that we both really liked. Loved, actually. I contacted the seller and asked if he could do a “shotgun engagement,” and he could. I wasn’t expecting that I would feel so excited when I hit the button to actually buy the ring, but I got a huge rush. As soon as I got my confirmation email, I had to email all my friends to tell them (in all caps, no less). I couldn’t wait to see it in person and to put it on his finger. Yes, I love buying gifts for people, but this was better than any gift I’d ever bought before. You think ripping a $5 DVD player from the hands of a rabid soccer mom at 5 AM at Target on Black Friday is the best feeling in the world until you buy someone an engagement ring.

I didn’t want to love picking out our rings that much. I wanted to like the process, sure, but I also wanted to believe that the ring wasn’t as big of a deal as the commercials make it out to be. But the moment when the woman at the jewelry store set a loose marquise-cut stone on a thin yellow gold band on my finger and we both leaned in to look, when instead of him saying, “If you like it, I like it too!” he instead said, very quietly so only I could hear him, “I would be very proud to buy you that ring” and the ring was under budget…was the moment a choir of angels descended from heaven and sang a sweet song about how perfect we were for each other. It was clearly my favorite part of our engagement process… until I bought Eric’s engagement ring. At which point another—bigger—choir of (badass feminist) angels descended upon me, lifted me up from my desk on their wings, and carried Eric and me off into the sunset and into engagement bliss.

I don’t know how a man feels when he looks at his fiancé’s engagement ring, but when I look at Eric’s ring, I completely understand why he told me he would be proud to buy me my ring. Because I was so proud to buy him that ring! I’m proud that I found something awesome that fits his tastes, even on my tiny budget. (Another thing I learned? There’s definitely some ego involved in the buying of engagement rings.) I’m proud that I can tell everyone I liked him so I put a ring on it (and, subsequently, I can proudly call him my feyoncé). And mainly I’m proud because it’s not just a ring; it’s also a tiny little starter feminist soapbox.

Photo of Rachel & Eric’s engagement rings from Rachel’s personal collection

Rachel W. Miller

For most of her life, Rachel has loved the sound of her own voice. She loves reading, doing yoga (she still refuses to call it “practicing”), hanging out with her dogs, and talking Eric’s ear off. She lives in Houston, TX. You can read more from her on her blog.

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  • http://partialto.tumblr.com LIZ (SINCE 1982)

    feyoncé

    OMG LOVE

    • KEA1

      Amen. The whole piece is so brilliant, but that very nearly made me spit iced tea onto my keyboard.

  • http://www.printablepress.com Kimi

    I wish I could remember where this is from, but there is a tradition (argh, what country??) where both bride and groom to be wear their wedding rings on their right hand before they get married. This is so that their rings are warmed by them, sort of tempered to their bodies, before moving to their left hands. Isn’t that wonderful? Except I just realized my right hand ring finger is significantly larger than my left… But in theory, I love the idea that a guy could start wearing a ring (whether engagement or wedding ring) as a symbol of that suspended time when you know what huge thing is coming, and are preparing yourselves.

    • One More Sara

      This country (the Netherlands) kind of does that! Except engagement rings are usually worn on the left like in America, and then when they are married they move the ring over to the right (also worth noting, not everyone gets engagement rings, so not everyone does this tradition). I’m not sure about the reasoning behind it. It could be as simple and unromantic that engagement rings are a borrowed tradition, so they start on the left, but to make it fit with Dutch tradition, it gets moved to the right after the wedding.

      For me, an American marrying a Dutch man, it was a discussion pre-engagement (bc how I decided to wear the rings might affect shopping) about which hand the rings would go on. I ultimately decided I would leave my engagement ring on the left, and wear a wedding ring on the right. It was really freeing while shopping for an e-ring that I didn’t have to worry about the w-ring fitting with it.

      • http://becomingbrown.wordpress.com Jennifer Lyn

        My Texan husband says that’s how it’s supposed to work. All of his family members wore their engagement rings on the left hand and then switched them to the right hand when they got married. I wonder if it’s a cultural kickback or something.

      • Breck

        I’m also told this is a common practice in Switzerland.

      • sandyliz

        I’ve had Polish co-workers who do this. I remember being very confused about when they were married :)

        • One More Sara

          When I moved here I was very confused about it too, esp when a friend got engaged and wore her ring on the left (the other woman I knew who had been engaged didn’t have/wear an engagement ring).

      • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

        My mom too. She’s the only person I know to do it that way, but when I was younger I always thought that was how it was “done” because of her.

    • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

      Oooh I LOVE this! I love the idea of both men and women doing this!

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      I definitely can’t wear the same ring on my left and right ring fingers. I also would destroy a ring on my right hand. I had a cheap silver band that I sometimes wore/wear on my right hand, and it it so smacked up… I wouldn’t want to do that to a nice piece of jewelry.

    • http://byjacki.com Jacki

      My friends from Sweden did this, and so did my friends from Ukraine – I am not sure if that was based in local tradition or personal preference or a mixture of both but I really like the tradition!

    • http://www.xwebseries.com Cali

      I love that idea! Except I have the same issue as you, my fingers are different sizes, so it wouldn’t have worked for me. I tried to switch my engagement ring to my right hand for the wedding ceremony (so I wouldn’t have to switch the position of the wedding/engagement rings afterwards) but it was too small for my right hand. Haha. Ah well. I still love the sentiment.

    • Rachel B.

      I’m friends with a Brazilian married couple; they both wore bands on their right hand and switched them to the left after marriage. My fiancé and I wanted to adopt this custom but alas, his wedding band does not fit his right hand.

    • Suzzie

      My husband wore his wedding band on the right hand while we were engaged because that is what is done in Indian culture where he’s from. The bride and groom to be typically have an engagement ceremony where they exchange rings and put them on each other’s right ring fingers. What’s funny is rings traditionally don’t play a part in the Indian wedding ceremony (that’s a new addition – Western influence) and after marriage they typically don’t wear rings. So we both wear wedding rings on our left hands now.

      I have a coworker from Russia and before marriage she wore her engagement ring on the right hand and after the wedding her engagement ring is on the left and wedding band on the right (double whammy I guess to doubly make sure men know she’s taken lol). I have some German friends that wear their wedding rings on the right hand.

      So guess each culture has it’s own tradition. So why not make your own! I love the fact that my husband actually wanted to wear a ring to show he was engaged as well (he thought that was only fair since I was wearing one). So it was kind of fun once I got his ring to then ask him in return if he would marry me!

    • Kate

      My fiance is Brazilian, and this is the tradition there – both wear the ring on their right hand and then switch over to the left once they’re married.

  • Emilie

    I bought an engagement ring for G too. And he is sooooo into it. He’s in nursing school and works at a hospital and said he loves having to take his gloves off and wash his hand because people always ask him about his ring. He’s thrilled to have an outward sign of his relationship status. Any excuse to talk about us.

    We chose a wooden ring for him. That way people don’t confuse it for a wedding band. He wears it on his left ring finger. When we get married, he’s planning on wearing it on his right hand, or just taking it off altogether. Since wood is a less expensive than metal bands and we could totally justify it being a temporary thing.

    One of the things that I struggled to figure out was if I should just buy it, or ask him if he wanted one first. I ended up just casually asking him during one of our conversations about what we were looking for in my ring. And the day he proposed I just gave it to him when we got back to the house and told my parents. Worked smoothly enough for us.

    • Ashley P

      I bought D a wooden ring, too! For basically the same reasons you said: it doesn’t look like a typical “wedding ring” and it’s less expensive.

    • Jenny

      This whole thing is so great! I’ve been debating about a ring for my fella, and have considered a wooden ring for some of the same reasons. I’ve wondered though, is there any risk of a wooden ring coming apart over time, say in water (doing dishes, swimming, canoeing, etc.) or with wear?

      • Denzi

        Well, bear in mind that I made my (now husband) his wooden engagement ring, so it was very, very thin, and actually cracked once in the middle of making it. We slid a piece of brass around the outside and soaked the wood in salt water to make it swell up around the brass. But it still came apart later where the crack was. (Hopefully this says nothing about our marriage! :-P )

        If you get a professional ring (or just make a thicker ring than I was going for! with better tools!), it should be sealed, so it shouldn’t come apart in water, although you might rub through the sealant and have to re-seal it with wear.

        If you want to ask more questions about wooden rings, I will pass them on to my husband the woodworker. (That’s why I wanted to make him a wooden ring in the first place.)

  • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.com/ Sheryl

    Hindisght being twenty/twenty and all this is one thing I really wish I had done. Beyond even how awesome it feels I love that it’s actually a tangible symbol fo equality and that it sets precedence for the people in your lives to ask both partners the questions equally.

  • http://andshelovesyou.com youlovelucy

    “You think ripping a $5 DVD player from the hands of a rabid soccer mom at 5 AM at Target on Black Friday is the best feeling in the world until you buy someone an engagement ring.”

    Rachel, you are my people. I love everything about this post.

  • Emily

    I am going to be laughing ALL DAY about “feyonce.”

    • Emily

      Seriously guys, last night I dreamt I met Jay-Z and gave him the link to this post so he and B could laugh about it later.

  • http://www.sarahhoppes.wordpress.com Sarah

    Rachel, I’m loving everything you write these days, just so you know!

    We bought a 3 ring set (2 wedding rings and an engagement ring) after we decided to get married, and we split the cost 50/50. When the rings came, we each got down on one knee, gave a speech about what the other meant to us, and presented a ring.

    Although he debated wearing his wedding ring on his right hand and switching to the left after the wedding, he decided not to in the end. On one hand, he didn’t like that I got to have a really obvious “taken” signifier during the engagement that he didn’t get. But on the other, he wanted to start wearing the wedding band for the first time during the ceremony. (I love Emilie’s wooden ring idea! Brilliant!)

    Either way, the fact that no one officially proposed (although if you ask him, he’ll tell you I proposed, which was news to me!) and that we split that cost of the rings was important to us both. I looked at it as a not so subtle way to broadcast my thoughts on gender equality, so I was happy to tell people all about it when they asked, “How did he propose?” or “The ring is really your style! How did you get him to pick it?”

    I now realize I totally missed out on the opportunity to call him my “feyoncé.” Which is a shame.

    • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

      “When the rings came, we each got down on one knee, gave a speech about what the other meant to us, and presented a ring.” Ahh, that brought tears to my eyes!! I think one of the things that women miss out on by not being the ones who traditionally propose is the opportunity to think about this huge moment and to say something meaningful, and men miss the chance to hear that special, meaningful speech.

      Also, virtual fist bumps for “not so subtle” broadcasts on gender equality.

    • Granola

      Hurray for radical egalitarianism!

  • Katelyn

    I would love to see that big choir of badass feminist angels, sounds amazeballs.

    Also, when we were pre-engaged I used to call him my preyoncé and then do the “Ring On It” hand wave dance thing that Michelle Obama does so well.

    • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

      I hearby nominate “preyonce” as a fitting substitute for pre-engaged or otherwise committed, long-term partners. Let’s make this catch on.

    • http://byjacki.com Jacki

      I love “preyoncé”!

  • 39bride

    We went the traditional route (he proposed, I was the only one with a ring) and I was fine with it, but I LOVE this post.

    I’ve read some great posts by gay/queer partners going through the proposal process, but as a hetero this one SOOO resonated–makes me wish we’d done this. But regardless, it gives me a deeper appreciation of what the engagement and ring process must’ve meant to my husband. Thank you, Rachel!

  • Lauren

    “I didn’t just want in on the gifting fun, or the opportunity to buy him something special and symbolic; I also wanted to make clear to everyone who knows us that we view this relationship as a partnership.”

    Yep. Except… he didn’t want an engagement ring. He didn’t want a watch. He didn’t want a T-shirt. He probably wanted a video game but I am SO SICK of buying him video games (as someone who is also a gifter, having a partner who only desires one very specific type of gift is hard to work my gifting compulsion around).

    So… I got him nothing. He says he is super excited to wear a wedding ring, but he didn’t want anything beforehand.

    I was definitely bummed. We do work hard to show, not tell people that we’re in an egalitarian partnership, but it’s hard to “prove” (if that makes sense) when we don’t go around subverting traditions.

    • Granola

      After I read this post, I went and read the dear sugar “ghost ship” essay, which totally blew my mind and I think you just hit the nail on the head.

      I’m all for choosing your feminist battles, but it seems like the ones I’m willing to stake a claim on are the quiet, subtle ones, which don’t seem to do as much for the cause as the louder, usually-name-related ones. Does anyone handicap their picks by visibility?

    • Samantha

      We went the traditional route – an e*ring for me and he proposed and it was fantastic and perfect for us. This was in my pre-APW days and getting him a ring didn’t even cross my mind. But I don’t necessarily agree with you here – “but it’s hard to “prove” (if that makes sense) when we don’t go around subverting traditions.” For the people that know you and your values would they really expect anything less than an independent badass chick who is in a loving and equal partnership? Sometimes I don’t think we have to prove so much – but other times I totally am on board with the Just So You Know . . . I feel like I have to stick up for him sometimes and give him his due credit. i.e.: he does 90% of the cooking in our house, those closest to us obviously know but other family members assume otherwise and it’s not fair to him.

      • meg

        I think, probably, doing things to “prove” something is usually the wrong reason? It just occurred to me reading these comments. Proving is reactive, being yourself is proactive. I didn’t keep my name to prove anything, I didn’t give my kid my name to prove anything, I did it because it was the right thing to do.

        While I’m wistful on the engagement ring front, David (probably? I’m wistful we didn’t discuss it more deeply, which is what the name conversation needed) wouldn’t have wanted a ring, so we would have sort of been proving something, or I’d have been giving up a ring I did want. So, it might not have been right for us even if we had discussed it. Which doesn’t stop me from being wistful that we didn’t do the more feminist thing… or even from feeling every so slightly squicked out by what we did do.

        But if you’re doing something just to prove something, it may be time to reassess.

        Also, I damn well did want a proposal, and that was that. I don’t feel bad about that for a red hot second, because that was just me being me, “Do me something DRAMATIC!” (Not that it was that dramatic, but still. I wanted the question.)

        • Lauren

          That’s why I think prove is probably the wrong word, but I couldn’t think of a better one. Show? Explain?

          I think what I was lamenting was the lack of a simple and concrete way to start out our wedding process with a bold claim to postmodern feminist equality. So far it has been blindingly traditional – which is good for us, don’t get me wrong!

          I am perhaps somewhat wistful (which is a great word for how this feels) that the option to make a Big Statement was not going to happen. Which is anti our personalities anyway, but doesn’t make it less appealing in the abstract.

          • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

            I totally get what you mean…I felt the same way about the fact that I’m changing my name. Keeping it isn’t the right choice for me but there is that wistfulness that you wish you could have made that statement.

        • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

          Wanting a proposal seemed so different for me from any other quasi-traditional want. I was ready to get engaged/get married a lot sooner than my husband was and so the act of him proposing was largely him showing and telling me he was ready.

          Although after a lifetime of build up to the moment of someone asking me to marry me did play into it just a little bit.

    • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

      Lauren, I think you hit on an important note. Not so much that you have to prove that your relationship is egalitarian, but when you are living your life more quietly by your values, you may not get tons of opportunities to start discussions about it. And while I don’t think you need to shout from the rooftops to be a feminist, how else can we inspire people and demonstrate our values? Definitely something to ponder.

      I’m not engaged yet, but I’ve made clear I don’t want a proposal or an engagement ring. While it may start discussions when we say we’re engaged with no ring, once we’re married and we both have wedding bands, it may not be as much of a conversation. So do I move on to a new demonstrative behavior?

      I agree with Samantha that likely everyone close to you is aware of your values, but I tend to think about how you relate to people not close to you- extended family, coworkers, new acquaintances- and start conversations on a broader scale about feminist issues.

      • Lauren

        “When you are living your life more quietly by your values, you may not get tons of opportunities to start discussions about it.”

        Precisely. And I’m not a shout-it-out-loud kind of gal about anything, so quiet talks are where I do any proselytizing.

        We live in a Southern city with a moderate political climate, but we are definitely among the most feminist people we know. I don’t think that a lot of our friends and family DO know about our values, because we’re just private people (as I post on this public blog). I thought perhaps buying him an engagement item would open those quiet-talky doors, but alas. I will have to find other, perhaps less easy, routes to broach the subject – because it is important to me that people view us as a balanced scale.

        • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

          Please write a post about the other, less easy routes you choose to broach the subject! I’m someone who’s always itching for a fight, so it would be helpful for me (and others, I’d hope) to get a sense of how to approach the subject more quietly when necessary. :-)

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      I also wanted to get him something, but he didn’t want anything. I’ve given him things like cufflinks and a handsome flask before, and he has always appreciated the gift, but then it may end up lost in the clutter on his desk. So I’ve learned to be cautious about small, valuable sentimental objects.

      On the other hand, he is excited about wedding bands, and is thinking of either mokume gane or Damascus steel for his. So there’s that, at least.

      • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

        A friend of ours proposed to her fiance, and had a cool pendant for him with the proposal. So we did have that in mind when I brought it up to him. “Would you like something like J. has?” But still no.

  • http://letsbeamie.wordpress.com Amie

    Don’t you just love those badass feminist angels?

    I wanted to do a ring for the man, too, but he wasn’t really into it. So together we decided on something he will use very often, adore and make him extremely happy. I bought him a independent brand of guitar. He had been debating buying it for some time, but didn’t because he couldn’t justify the cost. Now when he plays shows or just strums in the living room, I know he is mine.

  • http://thevanillabride@blogspot.com Sonarisa

    I’m actually looking for a ring for my guy right now. Before we got engaged, he was pretty adamant that he didn’t want a ring. But afterwards, I was telling him how much I love my ring- not just because it is shiny and pretty, but because it’s a constant reminder of our relationship. Every time it catches the light, or I get a glimpse of it in the corner of my eye while typing, it reminds me of how much we mean to each other, and the fact that we’re engaged, and getting married, and spending the rest of our lives together. Then I smile and jump up and down, Every. Single. Time. He’s decided that he would love a physical reminder of our commitment too.

    I’m really excited to find him something special, and we’ve been spending evenings looking around online. We’re just not finding anything that really strikes our fancy. Any tips on where to find amazing engagement rings for guys?

  • Claudia

    Someone asked about countries that do this. I’m from Finland and this would be the norm fo us!

    When we talk about getting engaged people always talk about buying “kihlat” which means engagement ringS, plural. So the rings are bought for both the guy and the girl and usually the combined cost is split between them, so both will have a say in the rings and how much money is spent. Often the rings would just be plain gold bands for both.

    And this is not a new thing! My parents (in the 60s) and my grandparents (in the 40s) did this as well. It’s unlikely tho that I will do this as my partner is Canadian and finds this tradition a bit odd.

    • meg

      Love.

  • Parsley

    I love this post! Thank you, Rachel. I think what I love most is that this is a story about feminism as a joyful thing. You wanted to buy your guy an engagement ring because of equality, but also because it felt right, and then the whole process is just so joyful and lovely. I think sometimes I feel like struggles for equality of various kinds have to be hard and exhausting – fighting the good fight and all. It’s good to be reminded that it can be joyful and beautiful, too.

    • meg

      This.

      I actually think a lot about ways to portray feminism as more than anger. I worry that when feminism becomes a one note anger movement, that’s when women in the movement are most likely to attack each other, because it’s the emotion in which we’re living. And that is something I particularly hate.

      • http://www.sarahhoppes.com SarahHoppes

        Parsely -EXACTLY!!!!! I love what Rachel had to say so much because her decision was the one that felt most authentic to her and to Eric, not one done JUST for the “tiny feminist starter soap box.”

        It’s dangerous when women worry about/ accuse other women of not being feminist enough, or not proving their feminism in every action. It get’s exhausting and causes so much anger! We’re all on the same team!

        • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

          @Sarahhoppes — I think what’s so frustrating too is that when you’re doing things the traditional way because it’s authentic to you and everyone gets on your case and you’re just like “OMG BUT I’M DOING OTHER THINGS IN LESS TRADITIONAL WAYS LEAVE ME ALONE.” It’s so all-or-nothing and if you are doing ONE thing the traditional way, it’s so often assumed that you didn’t think about it, or that you’re just buying into all the traditions and the WIC and such. At least that’s how I feel. I often feel a lot of guilt about not making choices that are better for All the Women, but sometimes it’s just like, “Hey, that’s not right for me. BUT I PROMISE I’LL DO THE NON-TRADITIONAL THINGS THAT ARE, JUST GIVE ME SOME TIME.”

          • meg

            I feel like, as long as we’re making some choices that are good for All The Women, we should high five ourselves. ALL the choices, well then we really would just have to lie down.

          • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

            I feel this pull, too- on one hand, I’d want to shout from the rooftops all the ideals I hold to, but on the other hand, I want my own life to stand for nothing but my own life, why must I represent all women at ANY point in time?

            (I’m not a minority, but hello, This Bridge Called My Back)

  • Anonymous

    My partner and I ring shopped together and ended up putting our gorgeous rings on layaway (that whole, liking nice things, even when we can’t quiiiiite afford them all at once- layaway is your friend!) and we make the final payment next month! I’m right there with you Rachel- I was so proud to make that payment every month. So proud to be able to buy that for my partner, and so proud of my little family to have all these discussions about budgets, and budgeting, and what traditions and myths made sense for us. Also, our rings are gorgeous. I can’t wait to wear them!

  • Samantha

    ” . . .he instead said, very quietly so only I could hear him, “I would be very proud to buy you that ring. . .”

    THIS. Love.

  • Jess

    For the what to do with the ring part:

    I have an engagement ring that I’m switching to the right hand when we get married, but for my fiancé, we found a seller on Etsy with a ring we loved and had them split it into two parts. He has the first band on now and we’ll add the second on our wedding day. :)

    • Another Meg

      I heart that idea so much-

  • LMN

    This post made me snort on the bus on the way in to work. Love the writing and love the ideas behind it! FH and I never talked about an engagement ring for him, and now I think that would have been a really interesting talk. We had a discussion of our future that turned into a proposal, then we went ring-shopping, and the shock of all the sparklies and the thought that we were picking one out together pretty much rendered me speechless. I did get him a huge set of LEGOs that same week. When he asked me what they were for, I said, “They’re engagement LEGOs! Why should I be the only one who gets a really fun present out of this?” So, instead of a ring, my guy got a million tiny plastic blocks, which he loves.

    • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

      That is awesome! As a gifter, the idea that you found the perfect engagement gift for him makes me feel all warm inside. PS I think Eric would have been pretty pumped about engagement LEGOs too.

    • meg

      ENGAGEMENT PUPPY.

      • LMN

        How about a pre-engagement older rescue dog? We adopted this cutie pie http://pinterest.com/pin/165366617537636673/ about six months before we got engaged. This dog has changed my life for the better in more ways than I can count–she’s a therapy dog for me and has helped me with a lot of different issues. Not only has she helped me grow as a person, but the process of caring for her has helped us learn a lot about each other and–I think–ultimately led to our decision about engagement and marriage. PRE-ENGAGEMENT RESCUE DOG FTW!

      • Laura

        That Fancy Feast commercial with an engagement (total fluffball) kitten? A “Will you marry us” collar?? I cry every. time.

        Which reminds me of the awesome idea my coworker had yesterday – carrying my cat down the aisle instead of a bouquet! Makes way more sense, IMO. I don’t know why else I would ever walk around hoisting a bunch of plants, but I snuggle-walk with Chula all the time. I’m just not sure how well she would take all that attention.

        • http://www.sarahhoppes.wordpress.com Sarah

          Laura, that sounds so freaking adorable! We thought for a hot second we were going to end up getting married in our (tiny) apartment, and my husband wanted to walk in with our cat izzy sitting on his shoulders. That’s how she spends most of her time when he’s home, so it seemed appropriate.

          As a crazy cat lady in the making, I have more ridiculous cat tips than any person ever needs, so feel free to ignore my kitty advice, but I’d really consider your cat’s personality around new people and new enviornments before you’re sold on the aisle walk. Cats are really tied into their surroundings, way more than say dogs are. If you think she’d be okay with a new place (or even a familiar place with the furniture in new places), strange faces, and strange smells, I’d recommend having a leash on her and someone designated as a kitty wrangler in case she gets scared and runs off during the ceremony.

          I distinctly remember an APW wedding with a “grooms kittah,” so I’m sure there are other readers out there who could offer advice from their own experience!

          • Laura

            Yesss the groomskitteh! I loved that too.

            We’re getting married in a faraway city in a huge scary loud foreign (to a cat) place full of strangers (to the cat). So the “bou-cat” is basically a no-go, disappointingly, as is having her anywhere near us that day. Even though she definitely already has a leash (with a rhinestone princess collar). But a girl can dream. (And I really hope *somebody* out there actually does this, perhaps in a backyard wedding.)

            Because I’m sad deep down that Chu can’t be a physical part of our wedding, I’ve decided to have one of our favor donation (in the name of our guests instead of trinkets) charities be the cat rescue group through which I found and adopted my furbaby. Also, there’s always the option of projecting a giant picture of her face on the wall of the reception space…

            Cat ladies (and dudes) unite!

          • http://thedilettantista.com/ The Dilettantista

            All of this all of this all of this, wish I could have my kitties with me, know that is 100% not feasible, maybe will have a photo of them somewhere.

      • mere…

        Once we started seriously discussing out engagement I was very open about my desire for an engagement puppy. Ring? Eh. Puppy? Oh my gosh, a thousand times yes! Sadly the timing did not work out to bring a puppy into our home when we actually did get engaged. We did, however, welcome home a little pupper just in time to help celebrate our first anniversary! Point being: Engagement Puppy. Heck Yes.

    • Irena

      This is adorable! My FI is a lifelong LEGO-lover as well. In fact, he proposed by building me a LEGO spaceship and hiding the ring inside. No, I didn’t find it suspicious that he was building a spaceship, haha.

      Ooooh the ring question is a little sore between us. I once bought us matching silver tree-bark promise/commitment rings from Etsy. He loved it, but didn’t feel comfortable wearing it: literally, because his right ring finger is weirdly shaped and it didn’t feel comfortable to wear a ring, and also figuratively, because he didn’t want to wear it on his left hand and have it look like a wedding band. He wasn’t ready for that symbolism. I later gave it back to him on a nice chain, to serve as his engagement ring, when he gave me my permanent e-ring. I say it’s sore because I ended up, um…angrily tossing my simple silver ring away one time after a very bad almost-relationship-ending series of conversations.

      Now, I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that he doesn’t want to wear a wedding ring, for physical comfort reasons. It bugs me that he doesn’t even want to try, even though intellectually I know it’s not important at all. I’m working on it!

      ETA: How did I forget to mention that we proposed to each other? We agreed that we would both do it over the few days we spent with his family last Christmas. So we knew more or less when, but not exactly when. And, neither of us knew HOW the other was planning to do it! I was wearing his ring on the necklace/chain waiting for the moment!

      • LMN

        I love that he hid the ring inside a LEGO spaceship! That is phenomenal. I also wouldn’t find it suspicious for my FH to be building a spaceship, train, motorcycle, dinosaur, or the Tower Bridge. Can you tell that LEGOs are the dominant decorative theme in our living space? :)

      • Maria

        My dad actually never wore a wedding ring, and I grew up thinking it was a really normal thing and not a big deal, though now I’m realizing how unusual it is (especially with a husband who enjoys accessories more than I do!). My mom gave him an engraved pocketwatch during the wedding instead of a ring, and he wore it for a while until it started getting old, and now just keeps it in his sock drawer.

        Plus, my dad totally collects Legos, too!

        • Class of 1980

          It depends on when a person got married.

          When my parents got married in 1957, it was billed as a “double-ring” ceremony in their newspaper announcement.

          Wedding rings for both husband and wife were only just then becoming the fashion. My grandfather did not wear a wedding ring.

    • http://www.doomedforhappiness.blogspot.com Shana

      oh my god. engagement legos. amazing.

  • Melissa

    My boyfriend and I just got engaged on Sunday! He gave me an heirloom ring, and I bought him a set of books that are very rare and that he has wanted his whole teenage/adult life. I thought it shouldn’t just be the girl that gets something :)

  • Samantha

    I love the ring also by the way! Would you share what Etsy seller you got it from? We are on the wedding band hunt for him right now.

  • http://www.devabydefinition.com deva

    We made the decision to get engaged on a road trip home, while I had a 101-degree fever. I just said “let’s get married on this date next August.” by the end of the night we were preyonce’s, and then a week later he was my feyonce (love this).

    We shopped for the ring together, and we chose all of our rings (my engagement, wedding, and his wedding ring) together, though we each got the final say on what we would be wearing. When my ring came in from being resized and I came home from the jeweler with it on, he took my hand and said “You know what’s cool? I bought you that, and we’re getting married.” Which, well, made me melt because of how much pride and happiness was in his voice and on his face.

    Of course, he also got something for getting engaged: a le creuset tea kettle. We bought it the same day we bought my ring, and I often joke it is our engagement tea kettle, because he loves hot and iced southern-style sweet tea and we make it very, very, VERY often.

  • http://www.sarahhoppes.com SarahHoppes

    I love all the non-ring engagement suggestions: Tea kettles, rare books, LEGOS!

  • Kari

    I absolutely love a great ring/proposal story:-) My fiance and I still went the he-asked-her route, but we spent A LOT of time beforehand discussing what kind of rings we’d like and how we imagined our engagement might begin. Neither one of us is big on tradition, but I’ll be the first to admit that we’re a tad competitive when it comes to making our gifts as personal and meaningful as possible. So after we figured out what the other would like style-wise, we spent the rest of our time working on the “unique” part.

    Even though he popped the question first, he was equally surprised when I gave him his ring 3 months later. At least we both cried so I assume he was just as amazed. And now here we stand 100 days from our wedding. Me with a custom ring my fiance designed and our friend created, with stones he got from my grandmother’s wedding band. And him with a simple wood ring that came from a piece I collected on the hiking trail where we had our first date. I think ring, book, or tea kettle it’s just so great to gift something to the one you love that says, yes, we really are in this together as equal partners and friends.

  • Megan

    My husband and I both had engagement rings too! Although it was his idea for him to wear one (one I happily agreed to). He is a self proclaimed ginormous feminist and a lot of our wedding– and marriage– talk has to do with equality and gender norms and making conscious decisions in our actions.

    The “taken” symbolism of the engagement ring didn’t sit well with us if only one of us was going to be wearing it. We decided that he should wear it on his left hand (like a traditional wedding ring) so that the “taken” cultural norm associated with a woman’s engagement ring was conveyed by his ring as well. And if people though he was married a few months early, so be it. Also, he was as much a part of the engagement/wedding planning as I was and the ring was an outward symbol of that too. A “Hey, we’re in this together” sign that everyone could see.

    For the proposal, I had taken to carrying his ring around in my purse, so when I asked me, I said yes, then asked him back! It worked for us :)

    • mere…

      I honestly can’t remember who first brought up the idea of my husband wearing an engagement ring, but if I had to put money on it I’d say it was him. He was very uncomfortable with the standard that I “had” to wear a ring to show I was “taken” and he was never expected to. I loved the thought of him wearing a ring too; it felt like we were in a secret club or something. We dated for a long time and worked through a lot before we decided we were ready for marriage. It seemed very symbolic for us each to wear a ring once we were ready to commit. He also appreciated that wearing a ring got him less attention from other ladies. : )

  • Elaine

    Love this post and the sentiment behind it! After last week’s name changing post, I was hoping someone would submit something like this. So much is made of the name change issue, which was never a feminist battle I had any interest in fighting, yet to me, the idea of a woman having to wait for a man to propose seemed horribly nonegalitarian and unnerving. I like how Meg put it, that not every feminist fight is for every one of us. Your name changing might by my proposal, which might be someone else’s use of the term “wife.” This is what makes APW such a vibrant and engaging community!

  • http://thedilettantista.com/ The Dilettantista

    SO RELEVANT GUYS. I brought this up in comments a few weeks ago regarding “what does one get a manfriend?!” I am getting engaged like tomorrow (okay, maybe next week, but I know that he has the ring and I also know that he is sneaking around and planning!) and I really do want to get him something too, because that just feels right to me. We talked about this yesterday while out for a run: he doesn’t really want/need anything and he doesn’t really want a ring (I bought him a non-wedding one for a holiday a few years ago and it is LOST now so uh, maybe I shouldn’t get him a ring, heh), he says a watch might be nice but he doesn’t get a ton of opportunity to wear one since he is in dental hygiene school, and he definitely never wears cufflinks. He does play a tabletop war game that is pricey so uh, maybe engagement gaming miniatures? I have no idea. Also he’s in school and I make a non-profit salary so we are trying very hard to save the moneys, so that’s also an issue. This is hard but at least the conversation has been had by manfriend and me and I am glad to read such an eloquent telling of an egalitarian proposal.

    Also, feyonce forever, thank you for that.

    • LMN

      Yes! Engagement gaming miniatures! Not sure of the size, but wouldn’t it be fun to put at least one of them in a traditional-looking ring box? I love nerdy engagement ideas and stories. Whatever you decide on, have fun. :)

    • Cleo
      • http://thedilettantista.com/ The Dilettantista

        Not really his style (the pocket watch or the steampunkiness of that pocket watch or pocket watches in general). We had a short-lived Steampunk phase four years ago but then all the Steampunk people we met were mean and snobby and cliquey and as a result we now don’t like Steampunk (we do this in sort of a funny manner because nerds are nerds are nerds but I actually wrote an article on my blog about why I am over Steampunk but that’s a whole different story). Thanks for the suggestion though!

        Now my costuming choices run more along the lines of Blind Mag from Repo! The Genetic Opera or Melisandre from Game of Thrones (but damn am I glad I know a good seamstress because her dress is hard to make).

    • Kess

      I’m in this situation too! We’re getting officially engaged in the next couple weeks and it was important to me I get him something super nice to mark the occasion, but I knew that there was little chance he would wear or like any sort of jewellery. In the end I bought him a new smartphone (much like an engagement ring, it is shiny and will be constantly in his hand!) and am making a contribution to the extremely fancy expensive camera he’s saving up for. I wrestled with it for a bit because I couldn’t let go of the idea that his gift should be something heirloom-y like my ring, but in the end I realized that what I wanted most of all was something he would love as much as I’m going to love my ring. I’m hoping for a moment of shocked excitement when I pop the phone box out; he knows about the camera contribution but not that!

      • http://thedilettantista.com/ The Dilettantista

        Yay congrats, and what a great idea! Is the anticipation sort of killing you at this point? I was 100% fine and chill until I knew that the ring had landed (I wasn’t supposed to know, sort of a ridiculous story how I found out, it involves a fire–no one was hurt), but now that I know the suspense is killing me!

        Manfriend is VERY protective of his proposal secret and the when/where/how, since this is the only thing he has full control over as we picked the ring together. I’d plan my own surprise party if I could, so letting go is hard!

        • Kess

          Yay congrats to you too :D and totally YES about the anticipation! I’m having a really hard time not planning everything and ESPECIALLY a really hard time not telling people. I have a few select friends that know it’s coming but he was very firm about not being able to tell our parents until it’s all official, and I usually tell my mother everything. It’s killing me. I also have this weird feeling like my ring finger is all naked and missing something, which is silly because I never worn rings before. It’s like my finger is rehearsing. I can’t wait for everything to be all official!

          The only thing I’m a little sad about is there is essentially no element of surprise, but it’s really my fault for wanting to have a strong say in my ring and wanting everything to be set before my parents leave the country in a few weeks.

          • http://www.thedilettantista.com The Dilettantista

            My parents are leaving the country in a few weeks too! And the same thing with the naked ring finger (although I do wear rings, just not on that finger). And the same about telling my mother EVERYTHING (she at least knows the ring has landed). ARE WE THE SAME PERSON?! =)

          • Kess

            Can’t reply to your actual comment but WE SHOULD BE BEST FRIENDS :D

      • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

        Dude, a smartphone is an awesome gift! Love the “shiny and will be in his hand all the time!”…so cute. Getting proposed to with an iPad was the ghost ship proposal of my dreams (delusions?) for a long time.

        And may be too late for this and not even possible, but if it’s an iPhone, I think you could have it engraved with something to make it more heirloom-ish?

        • Kess

          That’s an awesome idea, but sadly I’m getting him a Nexus 4 and they can’t be engraved! If only he wasn’t an Android person.

    • Rebecca

      Maybe an engagement nice suit? If his weight/ tastes are pretty stable, and you drop “engagement ring” $s on it, it could actually be an heirloom/ keep forever item. Plus, it’s like, useful and stuff. Even if it’s not the one he wears to the wedding?

      Much harder to lose than rings, too.

      • Ilora

        Engagement suit is brilliant…filing away for when the time comes!

    • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

      I might suggest a weekend away, or even a day trip somewhere? I know that doesn’t really address having a tangible item, but it’s something bigger and memorable to mark the occasion, you can pay for all expenses since it’s a gift from you, and you could make a point to get a picture of the two of you that day (self-portrait style or whatever) or a souvenir that marks the occasion. Just thinking out loud, hoping to help!

  • Gillian

    Love this post.

    Thought I’d share my own semi-related experience.

    On our one-year proposal-anniversary (is there such a thing?) I surprised my guy with a proposal of my own (which so hard, and I’m glad I did it – felt equal!), along with a watch that he loves, and a video game (because I knew ultimately that would also be more fun for him).

    He loved the watch- and loves telling people the story of his engagement-watch when they compliment him on it.

    • One More Sara

      engage-iversary ;)

      I wanted to do something special on ours too, but we spent it in the car with his parents on our way home from a ski vacation. Not exactly romantic. I also had a hard enough time getting him something (in time) for Christmas, and we left for vacation just a few days after. AND I didn’t even realize until 2 days later hat it was even our engage-iversary. Fail.

    • http://ruthadelia.wordpress.com Ruth

      I did this too! I got my FH an engagement ring to mark the start of planning, which happened right around the one-year-of-engagement mark. Even better–the ring came on his birthday and he had NO idea it was coming. It makes me feel so great to see him wearing it.

  • Leoka

    Yes! Yes! Yes! And one more time Yes – for engagement rings for men!
    My husband had one, although he picked it himself, so our story was a little different.
    We got engaged over text messages on a lunch break. I told him that he can’t tell anyone until he puts a ring on it (even if it’s a $25 “placeholder”, I didn’t care that much), so the same evening we went ring shopping.
    While I was checking out women’s rings, he suddenly notices men’s collection and got super excited! He yelled “I want a ring too!” and ran towards the display. We picked him an awesome titanium band with 3 diamonds set flash in a row. Only after that we got myself one of the more expensive white gold ring with gorgeous blue diamond. Both of the rings were way outside our budget, but it felt right, and the feeling was well worth it. (And later on we managed to get wedding rings that were more expensive than the wedding itself… What can I say – both of us like nice things. Also, the wedding was pretty small and simple.).

    I absolutely loved seeing him wearing his engagement ring. It actually was a wedding band (because Rachel is right – we don’t have any pointers for buying men’s engagement rings here), but he didn’t care. He wanted everyone to see that he’s “taken”, and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. He even insisted on having it a size smaller, because that was the only size they had in store and he didn’t want to wait to get the right size.

    When we came home from ring shopping, he pulled mine off my finger, got on one knee, and proposed. Later that day we were celebrating by taking a hot bath together. I used some soap to pull his ring off his finger (impossible without the soap) and proposed to him.

    We both said “yes”.

  • http://byjacki.com Jacki

    Love it! My “preyonce” – to borrow that awesome word from someone upthread – isn’t a big ring guy so I don’t think I’ll buy him an engagement ring, but an engagement gift to suit his liking – hell yeah!

  • Kyle S.

    We started off on the traditional route, I.e. he proposed with a ring he already picked out. I had mentioned on a few occasions that if I got an engagement ring, I didn’t want a diamond (too expensive and I just don’t love them) he listened and picked out this really cute ring that is perfect for me. And he got it on sale so it was only like ~$30! We were on vacation at the time and when we got back home we started going around the pawn shops looking for a ring for him. After I said yes I immediately asked if he wanted a ring too, since it doesn’t make my h sense for just me to have one. He enthusiastically agreed and said he wanted one too. We finally found one that was equally priced, somewhat matched my own ring and quickly bought it. He wante it after we left the store, but I told him he had to wait. I was planning on proposing to him since he had proposed to me. I thought of approximately 6 different ways to pop the question, and tried three of them, before thinking up a seventh one that finally worked (seriously).

    We both wear our engagement rings on our ring finger of our left hand. This causes a bit of confusion and often people ask us if we have already gotten married. But he loves his ring and showing it off and showing off how our rings are somewhat similar. =]

  • Alyssa

    My hubs had an engagement ring too, which he now has on a keychain…one which is always on his belt loop and also has the chamsa (Jewish evil eye warder-offer thingy) from his crib. Wouldn’t work for everyone, but some sort of treasured place/collection might if he doesn’t want to wear both rings.

    Also, badass feminist fist bump for dual engagement rings. When I brought up the idea, my guy sincerely asked, “why would I NOT get to have a shiny ring like you?”

  • kyley

    APW, you guys hit it out of the park with this year’s planning interns. Hot damn.

    I bought my partner an “engagement watch,” and after I gave it to him he would show it off to people, saying, “Did I show you my engagement watch?” which felt great. I was happy that he liked it so much, but also that he totally thinks of it has his special token signifying our engagement. He’s a good feminist, that one.

    Like Rachel talked about, I think it helped give me some perspective as well. He proposed basically right after the ring showed up, and on a weekend that wasn’t especially convenient. We wound up cancelling our other plans, and spent it together, and so it all worked out, but in a small way it had bothered me that he had been so impulsive about the timing. But then I came home with his watched tucked into my purse three weeks later and I lasted about an hour before re-proposing. In that moment I understood why he had done that: I was just so very excited and full of love that I could not wait to share it!

  • Carrie

    When I proposed to my now-husband, I presented him with a ring that could have worked either as an engagement ring or a wedding band. It was totally a surprise proposal and I didn’t know how he felt about wearing an engagement ring or not.

    After he said yes, I told him it was up to him whether to wear the ring during the engagement or keep it for a wedding band. He said he preferred to keep it for a wedding band, because I’d clearly put a lot of thought into the design, and he wanted it to be the ring he’d always wear. Aww.

    My point is, buying him a ring to mark the engagement, and him wearing said ring during the engagement, can be two separate questions. If he’s not into wearing an engagement ring, but does want to wear a wedding ring after you get married, then you could present him with his future wedding ring.

  • HNR

    So touching and wonderful! I wanted to get my guy an engagement ring but he wants to save it for the ceremony since he only wants one total. With the proposal impending, I am also trying to find something special for him (love the suggestions above!). Have been thinking of trying to find a special box, something that could sit on the night stand or coffee table that he could keep his special trinkets in. If anyone has done this or seen lovely boxes lately, I could use suggestions!

  • One More Poster

    Mr. Fiance wears an engagement ring, and he loves it. His not-so rhetorical question, “Why don’t men wear a public sign of commitment?”He tells anyone who asks about it.

    It is a silver celtic knot ring of mine I got while on pilgrimage in England a decade ago. It has been on my finger through ups and downs. It’s lived enough life there in the last 10 years to tell a few stories of its own.

    And now it rests on his finger, further bringing our lives together.

  • Brittany

    Buying a ring was a huge deal for me. I wasn’t sure that I wanted one at all, but more for the social and environmental injustice issues behind buying a ring. I knew I couldn’t be comfortable with myself and so told A that when he proposed, it should be without a ring. Afterwards, we found someone who designed our ring from all recycled materials, went with diamonds repurposed form older rings and a synthetic, moissanite stone in the center. It took six months until we found it, but when we did, we both knew it was right for us.

    A is from India and so following his tradition, we both exchanged engagement rings at the engagement ceremony. I had fun getting down on one knee to give it to him ;)

  • Sara

    I like the idea of men with engagement rings. Or engagment gifts for the non-ring boys.
    Honestly the first place I had ever heard of it was Boy Meets World (where Cory gets a ring because he wants one and his guy friends mock him, then he loses it and they apologize), and most of the men in my life were married and wearing rings, so I actually thought that it was more common. I was surpised when I grew up and realized it wasn’t. I do have a tendancy to live in my own world though. Now I’m suprised at the range of ring related guy issues in my circle of friends(in a nice way) – one who doesn’t wear one at all, one who bought a ten dollar ring because he was so panicked he would lose it (it looks awesome though, made of steel!), one who wore an enagment ring, one who has two rings so he could leave one with his wife while he was deployed….etc.

    I love this post, and its so nice to hear from all the other comments that there are so many options and people that also have been practicing this custom. I love the idea of a watch – and Legos! Ha, always a hit with the men in my life.

  • AJ

    I totally get your excitement! My husband lost some weight after we git hitched, and we can’t re-size his Tungsten. wedding band, so I bought him a replacement ring for Christmas this year. I was beyond thrilled when he opened it, and I get a little swell in my heart whenever I look at it on his finger :-D

  • Manda

    I love everything about this post, from the badass feminist angels to feyoncé. Rachel, you rock my world. :)

    I’m proud to say that the engagement ring issue IS one of my feminist standpoints, even if the idea was originally my feyoncé’s. When P and I were shopping for my engagement ring, he expressed interest in getting an engagement ring too (his reasoning: “I’m just as taken as you are and I want the world to know it!”). I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but I didn’t even think about getting him an engagement ring before he asked for one. It just wasn’t an idea that crossed my mind.

    Now that P and I are officially engaged (and have been for two years), I find myself defending our choice to get P an engagement ring on a fairly regular basis. When strangers see a ring on his finger, they automatically assume that P and I are married (for the record, we both wear our engagement rings on our left ring fingers. After we get married, the engagement rings will go on our right ring fingers and the wedding bands will be on the left). When they find out that we are engaged, I always get a weird quizzical look. More often than not, I get accused of being controlling; the assumption being that I make P wear a ring so he cannot cheat on me. How messed up is that?

  • http://brusselsproutblog.blogspot.com Cassandra

    As much as I love this ENTIRE post, I may be a very shallow person, because my favorite, favorite, favorite part was “feyonce”. (Closely seconded by the badass feminist angels carrying the couple into engagement bliss.)

  • http://weddingpartyapp.com/blog Stephanie

    Two words: HELL YES.

    Rachel, you’re awesome. Keep being awesome and bringing down the choirs of badass feminist angels, because that is just so darn cool. Congrats getting a ring…AND putting a ring on it!

  • Emily

    I got my guy a watch for when I proposed. Partly for fun, partly for equality (why should I be the only one to get a gift?). But the equality is more symbolic as my ring cost waaay more than his watch. Which makes me feel wierd (even though I LOVE my ring). So I’m paying for things like the engagement party, and the church and obviously the dress to even the costs at least out a bit more.

  • Sam

    So you touched on it, but I would love to know: What will happen to this ring when you get married? Have you decided? I saw a few options in the comments, but I would like to know what you and others came up with!

  • Lizzet

    My husband and I where talking in bed when we decided that we were ready for the wedding. After that I was dying to give him something because I wanted to celebrate the moment and to show that the both of us where involved in all this engagement process. After looking rings for him during weeks I remember he had always wanted a fountain pen, he loves to create stories for us. He was so happy when I gave him the surprise it was just perfect and I feel so proud every time he shows up his gift. I totally understand the rush you feel when you see your fenyocé (epic) ring.

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  • Rachelle

    Um…..THIS IS BRILLIANT. love love love love love.

  • Kirsten

    So excited to read this because I bought my fiance cufflinks as an engagement gift (to wear at the wedding) when we were seriously talking about becoming engaged. The design of the cufflinks was meaningful and I was so excited about them. I shared many of the same feelings you did – related to both gifting and feminism! Thanks for sharing! :-)

  • GreenBeans

    Rachel’s post made me so happy. Feyoncé is classic, though I doubt my partner would understand the reference if I tried to use it with him. I am a feminist, and so is my partner. He was a little surprised when I told him that I would still like a ring regarless of the jewelry’s history, but he completely accepted it. He also wants a symbol of our engagement, but is not a jewelry person at all. He suggested getting a tattoo (his first!) that was symbollic of me.

    I’ve seen couple’s tattoos, but this is different; have any other APWers thought about this or done it?

    • tryingtopropose

      Mine is planning on a tattoo instead of a wedding band (neither of us have any tatts to date), but I’m considering proposing with a ring as well… he has made clear that he doesn’t want to wear a ring every day, which is why we settled on the tatt, but I also want to make sure he gets that I am serious when I ask him. And I want a “HE SAID YES!” pic…

  • Anonymous Guy

    I’ve had the money set aside in a separate account for *ages*, but yesterday I finally ordered a custom-made really awesome engagement ring (which is why I’m being more anonymous than otherwise). Having now experienced the unfathomable nervousness and excitement that came with that process (and that last click! Oi!), it would *delight* me if she decided she’d like to get one for me.

    (We did not pick the ring out together, but I put huge amounts of thought and time into the search until I finally found one that complements her style while also showing my tastes and personality, *and* I can show all sorts of symbolism of us in the design. That said, I also showed her a photo of a very similar ring set the maker had produced so that she would be able to veto it if she disliked it — restarting the search with new data would have been just fine for me, but apparently getting it acceptably right the first time made me happy.)

    I’ve actually been wearing rings (“plain” ones) on both ring fingers for quite a while. (She sometimes wears rings on her left ring finger as well, but what rings she wears varies much more than my one-block-over-from-OCD self.) For me, it was just comfortable shorthand to automatically set people’s assumptions to “taken” without me having to think of what term might be the most correct for what we are. I would find it wonderful if I had a specific engagement ring to wear, as it would be from her, but at the same time, I like my $5 rings just fine, and they symbolize me+her/us perfectly cromulently.

    By the way, when you’re so nervous before that final click that you’re thinking, “Oh, yeah, that whole ‘keep breathing’ concept is important”, isn’t it just *awesome* when your bank rejects the unusual charge? Only had to wait a few moments for the phone to ring so I could tell the fraud guys that it was me. (I answered the phone with “I expected your call. I’m trying to buy a ring.” They enjoyed that.) On the other hand, having to redo the entire custom ring order from scratch while the fraud guys are waiting there on the phone to approve the purchase as it goes through does *not* reduce the stress level, hehe! If she buys me a ring, perhaps I should suggest she pay in cash. :D

    • Liz

      Love this whole comment so so much.

  • jessica

    love. love. love.

    i desperately wanted a ring (they’re pretty), but felt weird about my future husband having to fork over a bunch of dough on it. What was more important to me in a ring was a SMALL diamond and more the band/setting (its pretty badass). My entire wedding set came in under $1500 which is chump change for most wedding sets. yet, i still felt weird about having him feel like he needed to come up with all the money for it. That said, it only felt right that i paid for half of it – half of all of it. I paid for half of my engagement ring and half of my wedding ring. We did the same for his wedding ring. it just felt right. Why does the man have to buy the diamond? aren’t we in a union where things are shared an equal?

  • http://oneawkwardyear.wordpress.com Liz

    Oh I just love this & all of Rachel’s posts so much.

  • Kait

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this piece! It’s so nice to know that my preyonce (love that as well) and I aren’t alone in both of us getting rings. What actually annoyed me most was the lack of choices for him, especially since we wanted something either recycled or antique, and he wanted to feel it in his hands rather than buying online. I had a choice of just about every ring in every store, even with our teeny tiny budget, but he walked into store after store and found nothing. It was so sad. And that’s with him picking it out himself! Can’t imagine the difficulty in trying to find a ring for a dude who has never worn jewelry that wasn’t made of hemp. I have a feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg with reconciling our visions of equality utopian wedding with the reality of the WIC. Thank god I’ve got the APW book to help dial back the feminist Hulk rage. :)

    Despite the difficulties of moving through what feels like uncharted territory, I’m glad we decided to go this route. I like the message it sends, that we’re going into this as equals and have talked it through and made the decision together. I think we both would have been uncomfortable with him doing the whole “proposal” thing, and we both got to choose rings that we loved and knew we would wear. Plus we get to have this awesome little conspiracy while running around shopping and trying to hide it from everyone else.

  • sophia

    Thank you for this post. It made me feel validated in my feelings AND helped me find the words (or, uh, link) to communicate with my boyfriend why I want us both to have rings.

  • tryingtopropose

    laughed out loud at “feyonce”… but seriously, this post is everything i needed right now. T-10 days!

  • Shanna Dew

    I loved this post!!!! I was googing feminist rings for a friend and I, when I came across this gem! Much love to you and your feyance! — oh and, the bad ass feminist choir sings all the time to me; you just have to lift up both your hands like your are listening to a metal song lol. Cheers!

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  • hoothoothope

    RACHEL! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS ESSAY! So validating on about a million levels.

  • annamarie

    I’ve read this piece before and come back to it over and over. When my fiance and I got engaged (a mutual decision) I asked him if he wanted to wear an engagement ring, too. At first he didn’t see the point, but after talking and thinking it through, he became really excited about it. I think for the first little while he was more excited to show his ring off than mine and I agree with Rachel, it makes me happy to see him wear it. It just feels right.

    The other day we were having lunch with his mom and grandma and his mom says, “Oh see, Parker is practicing wearing a wedding ring, just getting used to how it feels.” I’m sure I was reading too far into it, but it kind of upset me off to hear it described that way. It felt like she was saying that Parker wearing a ring was childish, like him playing dress up, or just pretending to be getting married. Or worse, was a comment about how she feels that I coerced him in to wearing it. Why couldn’t she just say “did you notice Parker’s engagement ring?” Would that be so hard? No one would ever say to me, “Oh I see you’re practicing wearing a wedding ring.” Who say’s that?

    Parker being excited to wear a ring is really important to both of us, a sign of mutual commitment and equal partnership. In our minds, we were “married” in all the ways that matter to us when we decided to get married, the celebration and party is just for fun. That’s why we both wear rings. I’m surprised that a snide little comment can really fester the way it has but I’m really frustrated by it. Anyway, just needed to vent…