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12 February, 2006

Love Token

A journal buddy once wrote about a friend who bought his fiancee an $8,000 diamond engagement ring; the fiancee is upset because she feels she deserves a ring worth at least $20,000.

Is that an unreasonable expectation? I can't say; "unreasonable" is relative. If the guy makes a million a year, $20,000 is peanuts. If it's based on the "three times monthly salary" rule, it's much harder to swallow.

Then again, should she expect him to spend so much just because he has the money? The answer isn't so simple, because it's about more than just the ring.

Let's face it, what woman won't be flattered and impressed by a man who goes to great lengths to satisfy her? When he says he wants to give her the world, it doesn't hurt that he's willing to dig deep in his pockets to prove it.

Some women see an expensive engagement ring as a token of how much a man values her, because it represents a substantial transfer of wealth. This is why it is often seen as a test: does he love me enough to give me a symbol of his commitment that costs more than spare change? Men see it as a test, too: does she love me enough to go beyond the material trappings that society imposes on romance?

Personally, I think a diamond ring is merely a manufactured symbol and not the definitive expression of love. After all, diamonds are merely the triumph of marketing genius. De Beers, the largest diamond manufacturer in the world, inflated its price and created an aura around a mineral which isn't even rare. There's also the issue of "conflict" diamonds, produced through slave labor and used to fund illegal activities, but that's a separate topic altogether.

Like any woman, I enjoy being pampered, but expensive baubles are not required for me to feel cherished and loved. I'd rather judge how I'm valued by the way a man listens to me when I talk. Or how he counts my opinion and judgment as equal to his own. Or how he's got my back no matter what. Or how he thanks me, in word and in deed, for being in his life.

If I have to choose between a man like that and a man who gives me a $20,000 ring but barely gives me the time of day? I'll choose a man like that, every time.

posted at 11:42 PM by City Muse


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