Thursday, April 21, 2011

I DO NOT: When engagement rings are no longer engagement rings

Yesterday afternoon, I opened up an email forwarded by a writer friend that often sends me wedding-related links and stories that she thinks I might find interesting. Except this one came with the caveat that I would have to write a blog post after reading it. I was intrigued. 

The original message was from one Olga Topchaya, Director of Marketing for Leon Megé Inc, which bills itself as a "luxury jewelry company." Olga touted the launch of an "unprecedented product" in engagement ring fashion based on the philosophy that "fashion is not merely a style; it's a state of mind." Go on.

"An engagement ring is not merely for the engaged." 

Wait . . . 


"The rings will transform and expand the meaning and purpose of an engagement ring," wrote Olga.

At first I thought it was a bad joke. Believe me, it is not.

For every non-occasion in your dating or single life, there's a ring for that:

Le Petite Indépendance: enables a single woman to own an engagement ring
Le Petite Amour: a token of affection
Le Petite Liberté: a symbol of freedom from society’s standards for love necessitating Marriage – proposal for cohabitation
Le Petite Promesse: an oath that an engagement will occur at some point in the future
Le Petite Allusion: a woman wears to drop a hint to her significant other her taste in an engagement ring before he makes a mistake

The list goes on.

Like a bad flashback to the scene in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days where pitch-man Matthew McConaughey comes up with the cringe-worthy slogan "Ladies: Frost Yourselves" as a ploy to get women to buy their own diamonds instead of receiving them as gifts from gentleman romancers, Leon Megé's utterly transparent scheme to boost sales under the pretense of feminism is seriously the worst case of life imitating art.

From the press release accompanying the email: "Megé asserts that our society has dictated that a diamond ring has to be a symbol of engagement. 'Especially in today’s world, where marriage rates are declining and divorce rates are increasing, it seems hardly fair that such luxury should be reserved for the bride,' states Megé."

While I appreciate Mr. Megé's indisputably sincere and heartfelt concern for all the unwedded women of the world and for our nation's rising divorce rate, aside from being just a ridiculously stupid idea altogether, this marketing blunder accomplishes nothing more than the cheapening of what engagement signifies and what marriage means. Let me wax philosophical for just a moment.

I dated my fiancé for 8 years before we got engaged. By giving me that ring and asking me to marry him, he meant that just being together wasn't enough. That we were going to be together always. That he cared enough about me to put up with my moody sniping and griping, my spontaneous late-night cheese fry cravings, my large and occasionally overbearing family, my flighty memory, the slow incursion of my stuff into every available space in the apartment including in his own tiny closet, and all the other good and bad and annoying stuff that comes with me. That not only did he love me and did I know he loved me, but that he wanted to declare that love before friends, family, and God.

Even if the Western World's symbol of engagement had instead evolved over time to the wearing of a necklace or a pin or a tattoo or a piece of twine instead of a diamond ring, the ultimate value is not in its market worth but in its meaning. By equalizing everybody so as not to leave out anybody, it becomes special to nobody.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I totally agree with you! I never wore a diamond and never wore a ring on my right hand because when I finally did I wanted it to mean something and I wanted to make sure what it symbolized was special and important. I'm all for independence and ladies buying themselves jewels...but cripes, put it on your right hand!