Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

July 27, 2009

Bare Fingers

A confession. Well, I didn't realize that this was something worthy of confession until I accidentally mentioned it while paddling around the swimming pool with Mendoza Line and Bubbles the other day.

See, Bubbles was telling us about her adventure one Saturday night trying to help a drunken married couple find the large diamond that had fallen out of the wife's engagement ring earlier in the evening. This involved desperate searching throughout the rented limo they were in, backtracking to several drop off points along their way home, and finally miraculously locating the stone in a far corner of the bar they had been at - after it had been cleaned. Amazing and damn lucky for them. Apparently it was not insured. Bad idea.

Anyway, that led into engagement ring conversation. Mendoza Line and Bubbles (both single) made it clear they were not the obnoxious diamond engagement ring kind of girls. So I chime in that having a beautiful engagement ring (not obnoxiously huge, thank you) has long been something I've wanted. But these days, it does seem ridiculous to spend what could go towards a down payment on a home (something that Wine Guy and I would both love to be able to scrape up somehow) on a piece of jewelry.

I should add that Wine Guy - forever one to buck the establishment - is quite opposed to dropping major cash on an engagement ring. When I first learned this - long before we were close to actually considering getting married - I was disappointed. But with the economy and the American debt-laden lifestyle thrown into disarray, investing so much month in The Ring all of a sudden seems extravagantly wasteful.

But that doesn't mean I don't want one. Just something far simpler than I used to desire. As I expressed to Wine Guy with a wink and smile that pretty much shut him up one day, "You know, a ring that costs about what you spent on the Wii and all of its accessories a few months ago."

But I didn't use to think like this. I'm not a huge jewelry/accessories kind of girl, but my whole life I've always like rings. And I used to wear them all the time. My mom even bought me a "princessy" sapphire and diamond-chip ring in high school, and I wore it constantly - at track practice, tennis, soccer, the beach.....

When I was faux-engaged to Only Child, I was finally able to indulge my ring fantasies and began browsing jewelry shops and online stores in earnest, researching diamond cuts, metals, and settings. I had the thing all picked out and priced - even knew the damn jeweler by name - before I figured out that Only Child was never really going to follow through on his bullshit proposal.

So, yeah, I have some ring baggage. That's why this newfound realization that I'd rather be married to Wine Guy than show the world that I have a beautiful engagement ring - well, that came as a huge relief actually. (Not that we are engaged yet!)

Back to the pool. Once I tell Mendoza Line and Bubbles about my new perspective, I keep talking. When will I learn?! I tell them about how, during my faux-engagement and subsequent waiting for the ring, I became concerned (at my mother's suggestion) about my fingernails. Yes, my nails. See, I bite them. Always have, always will. Bite, pick, mess with...whatever. I just can't not do it. Terrible, I know.

So my mom somehow gets it into my head that my hands should look beautiful for when I get the ring. I believe her. Since I know I can't stop my bad habit (nor do I have time because, well, the ring is coming soon after all), I go and get gel nails with tips. I can't even believe I'm doing it. Even walking into the manicurist I'm mortified to show her my short stubs and ask her to stick falsies on them.

But I do it - and I get them short. Just barely over my fingertips and nice and blunt. Nothing long and spiky. As short as they are, I can still barely manage to button my jeans and am sticker-shocked by the cost of it all, along with the frequent fillings and repairs of broken tips. But I admit that my hands look pretty damn good. Engagement ring-ready good.

Needless to say, when Only Child confessed that the ring wasn't coming, I tore those nails off in a frenzied fit of tears. And to this day I associate nicely manicured hands with the thing that has so cruelly eluded me in the past.

After I tell Mendoza Line and Bubbles a brief version of this story, they both just floated there, staring at me in what seemed to be amused horror. I did what? Why? That is so ridiculous?!

Yes, I felt like a complete idiot. For doing it, yes. But also for confessing it to them. But as I write out the story here - with all the background that goes along with it (which they didn't really get) - I have more compassion for myself. And I feel a whole lot better about my "position" on The Ring these days. Because, well, you have to have position on such things, right?



mimi of 'sexagenarian and the city' said...

My first thought: did I miss something? are you & WG engaged?!
or has some Important Conversation taken place that hasn't been reported in the blog?

My second thought: in this respect at least, sexagenarian courtship is easier than youthful courtship, that we don't need to worry about rings, engagements, weddings, or children...Heart problems, hearing, eyesight, osteoporosis, dental implants, yes!

Ready to hear more about you & WG,,,

Deidre said...

I've never liked diamonds. And I've always just wanted a really simple silver band (no engraving)...

You're right, it is important to have a position on these things.

And I think you should give yourself a break.

Anonymous said...

I don't want an engagement ring at all.

I do want a carved botanical eternity ring with small diamonds all around it. Not only are they pretty, but I prefer one ring and the symbolism of a band.

They also cost less, yet have impact.

Dating Trooper said...

Mimi - No, you didn't miss anything! Well, nothing major anyway. I will write more about it soon, I promise. And yes, you sexy sexagenarians have all the luck!

Deirdre & Anon - I like the simple band idea and when I googled 'botanical eternity ring' saw some beautiful examples!

Everyone else...would love to hear what your "position" is!

Anonymous said...

Ack - the ring thing - I think it's a source of conflicted thinking for most grown, intelligent, fiscally responsible, women. It certainly was for me (and still is to some extent in my mid-engagement/wedding band not yet purchased stage). I agree w/ the other poster - give yourself a break. It's ok that you're conflicted, it's ok that you've changed your thinking (and it'll be ok if it changes again) and having nice nails does help show a ring off! It's also ok to want a ring, even if it's modest. Heck- even if it's a sterling silver cubic zirconia (there are some gorgeous fabulous fakes out there). I can tell you that the ring does make a difference, and it actually makes a difference in the guy's state of mind also (even if he doesn't necessarily think it will). And people will drive you crazy about it so just having to answer the 40 gazillion questions can be a test in and of itself. If you and WG want to get engaged and you want a ring of some kind you can even talk to a jeweler about ways to have a ring for your engagement that gets modified for your wedding, or traded in/up. My only piece of advice is to be honest about what you want - even if you feel conflicted. And let it be ok - whatever you want. Learning how to acknowledge and articulate what I really want, and then finding ways to negotiate solutions to those things with my now fiance has been the greatest preparation for marriage I can imagine - and I never saw it coming. And by the way - it sounds like there are very happy evolutions happening - I'm so glad to hear it!!


Online dating said...

Every girl should have an engagement ring once the initial dating stage is over then the ring is the next step

The Big Girl Blog! said...

The whole ring vs. house downpayment thing is very real.... For some reason I've had that struggle in my head since I was like 17.

travis said...

Make the right choice when it comes to your financing. Consult with long island jewelers if there are viable options.