Friday, August 13, 2010

Down with Rings?

I was moving things around while lamenting to a friend about the fact that men fall in love with me when I allow myself to be friendly and interesting and social. I was a bit worried about what would happen at work since there were no doubt going to be men there, and I couldn't be my preferred, withdrawn, discouraging-to-men self since I had to start building a corporate persona and networking and generally being sociable.
As I tried in vain to move something on an awkward shelf, my friend asked seriously, "You know what you need?"

"A cabana boy to move things around for me?"

"No. He'd just fall in love with you."

(There followed a time of laughter and snorting.)
She had some good suggestions for t-shirts to wear all the time. "Jesus is my boyfriend, and the world is my nunnery," was my personal favorite variation. 

After we were done getting goofy, she ended up suggesting that I wear a fake wedding ring.

Setting aside that I really have no rings and that I don't actually know which hand you wear a wedding ring on (since it seems most of the rest of the world does know that one, and it would be easy to find out), I was kind of intrigued by the idea.
  • It would definitely be less offensive (in a driving the sharks away sort of manner) than introducing myself by name and saying, "I'm happily celibate for life, so please don't fall in love with me ever."
  • It would meet corporate dress code better than the novelty shirt.
  • It would make a clear statement to every decent person who knows what hand a wedding ring is on that I am not available for relationships.

There are a lot of perks, honestly. But that's the rub: honesty. Isn't it a lie to wear a ring that says, "I am married to someone" when you're not and never plan to be?

Technically, it's not a lie; it's just jewelry. But it feels dishonest.

If I made sure to tell anyone who asked about it, "No, I'm not married. I'm just not interested in a relationship," I wonder if my conscience would be assuaged.  

Not quite. At least, not yet. (And it would be hard not to be really honest and yack on about celibacy and stuff that would turn me into an instant weirdo at the office: not the corporate persona I really want to create . . .  Maybe down the road when I get to know people better, and they really want to know what makes me tick, but definitely not now.)

I could be being my usual silly self here, choosing the hard road because it's the hard road. I mean, the ring solution is a very elegant one. So, if you think it is, please help convince me that it's not lying to wear a wedding ring when you'll never be married. I really want to be convinced . . .


  1. Left hand, ring finger.

    You *could* just wear a ring other than a wedding band on that finger- it wouldn't be dishonest, just ambiguous. And hopefully make guys think twice.

    Check out the steampunk jewelry on Etsy (I can spend a lot of time looking at jewelry on Etsy, and I don't consider myself much of a jewelry person).

    These might send some sort of message:

    Pretty things:

    These are just cool:

  2. I'm with Liz -- a non-wedding ring on the wedding ring finger would be nicely ambiguous.

  3. I like that you think it would be ambiguous. :)

    I was thinking about it today, and I guess my unease might be stemming from an issue of symbolism. A wedding ring is a symbol of a specific connection and commitment. I might feel a tad icky about wearing a ring on that finger since I would be doing so to make a statement about not wanting to be involved in that kind of relationship. Hmmmmm . . . I shall think about it more.

  4. The engagement ring or wedding band are given and worn as a statement about commitment, but practically speaking I think they're received as a status/availability statement.

    If you had chosen celibacy for religious/ministry reasons, as some people do, I should think it would be appropriate to wear a ring with a religious symbol on that finger.

    If you're celibate simply because that's the way you want to be, wearing an obviously non-wedding ring on that finger isn't a big deal.

    Apparently there's an abstinence movement encouraging teens to wear wedding-band like rings with verses inscribed inside, on the wedding-band finger, as a pledge of celibacy until marriage. That, I think, would be rather confusing. Although as a teen my parents gave me a ring with my birthstone to wear that way...

  5. I do think it would be ambiguous, especially if you're also wearing rings on any of your other fingers. I went through stages that involved wearing several rings, with one on the wedding finger, but never thought anything of it.

    In other words, it's not the finger the ring is on that indicates marriage, it's the fact that it's a wedding band. :)

    Finger finger finger. Now it sounds so weird.