When my now husband dropped down onto bended knee on that cold, crisp morning three years ago, I thought my heart would burst with happiness. I had been offering up not so subtle hints for a while that I was done with waiting around i.e. when asked what I wanted for Christmas that year, I had replied:
'An engagement ring'
When he pulled my sparkler out of the inside pocket of his overcoat I started crying, tears of joy I hasten to add, the beauty that now adorns my ring finger was beyond anything I could have hoped to pick out myself. The boy done good.
Returning home (we were walking the dogs pre-Crimbo lunch) I asked him what I should get him in return. He looked at me blankly. 'An engagement gift', I explained, if I was going to wear a token of my impending commitment to him, then why shouldn't he wear one for me? He chuckled, assuming I was joking. I was not.
In spite of his initial reluctance, I began researching traditional gifts to get one's new fiance and I was met with a wall of silence.
Maybe a watch? Or a nice pair of cufflinks? I kept drawing a blank. Why couldn't he just wear a ring like I was?
The general consensus was that a man wearing a 'mangagement ring' was ludicrous. And then there was the suggestion that only metrosexual men, trying to muscle in on 'another female aesthetic', would deign to wear an engagement ring.
Hold on a second. We live in an age where we demand equal opportunities for men and women, equal pay for work, and we get offended when a man holds the door open (how sexist can one be?). Why on Earth should a woman wear a token to let the world know she's now off the market, but a man doesn't? And when said man is actually open to challenging societal norms, why should he be accused of 'muscling in on female turf'?
My husband soon came round to the idea of wearing a ring as a symbol of our engagement - probably more so he could get a present than anything else - the problem was we couldn't find anything that appealed. So we spread our search a little wider, which is when we ran into a hurdle.
You see the world doesn't have a universal finger measurement system. Why would it? Different countries have different standards of ring sizes. We had to hunt down a ring size conversion chart, easier said than done I can tell you.
Once I had convinced him he wouldn't have to wear a mangagement ring (diamonds aren't really his thing) and we knew what size his finger was, he really got into it. I however began to question my decision to stick to my guns when he started looking at 'manly' biker ring shops in the US. I wondered if maybe I hadn't taken this a little too far...
And then the wedding budget overtook us and any notions of surplus cash to splurge on my equality standpoint were quickly forgotten.
He was always going to wear a wedding ring, and does, and although our engagement was only short at nine months, some stretch on for eons. But it still bothers me that in this era of equality, why shouldn't mangagement rings be more of a thing?