In the six years of having my autoimmune disease, I've learned what I need from a person in order to view them as a potential long-term partner.
Over the years, my friends and I have had countless debates over engagement rings. Of course my male friends thought women put too much emphasis on ring size (duh!), while most of my girlfriends thought a fat rock somehow symbolized your partner’s love and devotion. As for myself, I couldn't care less. Big, small -- if you were lucky enough to find love, who gives a crap? Women want giant rings just to impress other women and who has time for the petty nonsense?
Prior to meeting my fiancé, I didn't give a damn about marriage. I was never anti-husband, but I wasn’t like my college roommate Katie who only pursued higher education in order to meet her future spouse. There were no tear sheets and inspiration boards for the wedding of my dreams. If I got married, awesome. If I didn’t, I was either going to freeze my eggs or have a baby or two with my pal Mike from childhood. No biggie. Perhaps dating in NYC squashed any notions of a romantic utopia.
However, my nonchalant attitude began to shift when I started to cover the bridal market for New York about 10 years ago. Trips to Las Vegas for jewelry trade shows, showroom visits to Martin Katz and sets filled with GINORMOUS diamonds from Van Cleef & Arpels, Fred Leighton and Graff were part of my work life and the sparkle seduced me.
The woman who once yelled, “Who gives a crap!” now had a 3.3-carat asscher-cut diamond from Stephen Russell as a dream ring: price tag, $75,000. The likelihood of getting an insane stone was slim to none, but as long as the quality was up to snuff, the size didn’t matter. However, the I-better-get-a-damn-good-ring seed was planted.
I can also admit that I became a bit judgmental. I covered the market, so I had an eye for quality. Sadly, I found myself looking at women’s non-fancy schmancy engagement rings and saying to myself, “Wow, that’s unfortunate.” I was an ass and I fully expect you guys to remind me in the comments section.
Now that I’m happily engaged, the roles have reversed and I’m judged on a daily basis. I consider this my snobby karma. When I posted my engagement status on Facebook, I received loads of well wishes, but I received even more “Post pictures of the ring!!!” Oh, the pressure! Women are constantly scoping out my ring and I’m always wondering what they’re thinking. Love it? Hate it? Am I secretly looking for approval?
During a recent beauty event, a celebrity manicurist looked at my ring and said it was cute. Cute?! W-T-F?! We’ve known each other for years and I know she’s happy for me, but cute? What does that even mean? Is cute a code word for small? Clearly, she could’ve come up with a better adjective.
At a fragrance launch, a well-known publicist looked at my ring and grinned. There was no comment, not even a full smile, just a slight grin that had an air of "I thought you would do better." On another occasion, a random guy at a bar checked out my finger jewelry and said, “Damn. You’re doing well for yourself.” Is it sad that I secretly felt validated? About a month ago, I ran into a former colleague and I got the, “Girl, now that’s a rang!” Not ring, but rang for emphasis. I was gloating on the inside.
I’ve been engaged for three months and quickly learned that everyone and their mama has an opinion and none of them matter. I’ve judged, I’ve been judged and the entire ring obsession is ludicrous. Why is it such a big deal? Does a gorgeous ring somehow equate to landing a good "catch?" Does it represent your partner’s success, prowess and financial stability? Your ring doesn’t exemplify your partner’s worthiness or how deep his or her love flows, nor does it guarantee a happily ever after.
Don’t waste brain cells stressing over your ring and the approval of others. It doesn’t matter if your ring costs $1,000 or $150,000. We should all celebrate love and happiness and not a price tag or carat size.