WORDS BY SHANNON
I work in a company where men are the majority and there are few, if any, other women there who don’t have “coffee making” as part of their job duties. With everyone trying to manage the fires started and stoked by the flailing economy, the employees haven’t had much opportunity to meet or get together, so we decided to have a company picnic. Just a way of making sure employees aren’t out of touch with each other and other departments.
Okay, fast-forward to the picnic: There were several employees who announced their engagements, about 14 or so, and of course we had to toast to the happy couples and celebrate the love that is to come. I felt flattered when the ladies invited me out later to bridal showers and luncheons and the like and we hung out as a group and became good friends over time.
I recall a conversation I had with one of them named “Debbie” and she was so excited about her upcoming wedding; she was making all the plans and we stopped for lunch and she showed me her ring. Of course, I was excited and happy for her—I wouldn’t have traded my husband or marriage for anything, even though I miss him—and told her about my marriage and how hard it was for me when I lost him and how happy she was going to be and talked about how much her fiancé must love her to get her such a huge diamond.
Debbie corrected me, saying, “No, Shannon, I picked this out and paid for it myself.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I don’t think I heard you right.”
Debbie looked at me. “I bought my own ring,” she repeated.
“Why,” I asked.
She simply said she wanted to make sure she got a ring she liked and wanted and her fiancé was okay with that. Naturally, I assumed he was going to pay her back. When Debbie told me she wasn’t going to be reimbursed for the cost of her ring, I pressed her about it and asked her if she was sure this was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. She got so angry she told me to mind my own business and just shut down for the rest of lunch. That was one outing that didn’t go over so well. I was too shocked to speak and said nothing further.
Over time I learned that out of the 14 engaged ladies, only four of them wore rings actually purchased by the groom. Debbie actually took out a loan on her house to pay for her ring, another used a home equity line of credit, while another maxed out four credit cards to pay for her own ring. There was one who talked her parents into buying her ring, while yet still another actually sold her car to pay for her ring. A few of them took out personal loans to pay for their engagement rings and another saved up for her ring. It amazed me that these women were willing to buy their own engagement rings.
Now, get this, Debbie not only paid for her own ring, she bought her groom a fabulous ring that he picked out and insisted she buy. Some of the other brides had done the same for their grooms. What really galled me was the fact that these men earned hefty salaries and could have purchased the rings themselves, but I don’t wonder about the men so much as I do about the women. I know I’m not privy to what might be going on behind closed doors, but buying your own engagement ring is the line for me. I know I would never have married my husband if I had to buy my own ring.
I realize that things may have changed since I was married, but the last time I checked, isn’t the man supposed to buy the engagement ring? Am I missing something here? I need help understanding this trend.
What are your thoughts on a woman buying her own engagement ring? Does that come off desperate? Or, in these financial times does it make more sense? Ladies, would you break up with a man that suggested you buy your own ring? Would you accept a less expensive ring than the one you wanted if your man couldn’t afford it? Do you think it’s worth it to max out credit cards or take out a loan just to buy an engagement ring? Would you buy a “mangagement” ring for your lover? Fellas, do you think women would look at marriage differently if they were the ones that had to buy the rings? Are you surprised to hear about this trend of women buying their own rings?
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