Put a Ring on It (Equality Version): The MANgagement Rings


Sitting on my bed, legs crossed, and a blank comment for a discussion on Canvas staring laughingly at me, I tap the keys half-heartedly in a rhythm that does not match the beat of the music I’m listening to. Inspiration for Pitch 10, a.k.a. the article-that-calls-out-journalism-unbiasness-but-it’s-not-true-unbias-because-that-doesn’t-exist, and boy, is writer’s block hitting me hard. The Gonzo article is something I always look forward to just because it’s so different than anything we’ve read or written about in Publications Workshop, a.k.a. The Delta Statement that still exists.

I sigh, “What can I write about that’ll be Gonzo?”

Lady Gaga doesn’t provide an answer as I rub my temples, willing the sudden headache to go away because that’s the last thing I need right now. I know I shouldn’t have waited until Monday night to figure out what I’m going to do about the Gonzo pitch, but life as a resident assistant (RA) at Brumby-Castle Hall and being holder of the keys for a whole week tends to make you seriously busy. That, and being an English Education major tended to mean a lot of reading as well.

I check the time: 10:30 p.m. It’s time to check on the desk assistant (DA), who is in charge of signing residents and their guest of the opposite sex into their room. I rub my eyes and shove my laptop away from me, roll off the bed as several joints pop at the same time and I feel like an old lady as I hobble toward the door.

Having lived in Brumby for three years, I’ve known about the thin walls and try to keep from rolling my eyes as insanely loud guffaws from down the hall echo to 100 Hall’s entrance. Note to self, I think in irritation, tell girls in the room at the end to settle down. The main question I always ask myself is: “What does the phrase ‘quiet hours’ mean?” Because I know there aren’t many residents here who understand what that is—not that I’m perfect about keeping quiet after 9 p.m. when I have friends over either.

Sitting at the front desk with a redhead, the brunette DA looks up as I tap my knuckles on the desk to gain her attention. However, I shouldn’t have bothered as the redhead pipes up, eyes sparkling with passion, as she asks, “What’s your opinion on men wearing engagement rings?”

I stare stupidly at her. Blink once. Twice. The gears in my head finally start to grind together as I comprehend what she just asked me.

Beside her, appearing appalled yet amused, the DA said, “We’ve been talkin’ about whether men should wear engagement rings like women do or not.”

I laugh, unable to hide how dubious I was to the sudden debate: “Sorry, my brain isn’t workin’ all that great right now. I think it malfunctioned for a second there.”

They chuckle with me, nodding understandingly because, hello! We’re college students heading into the final two weeks of class before exams.

“Anyway,” I tell the redhead with as many freckles on her face as mine, “I don’t see the problem of men wearing an engagement ring.” At this, the redhead points at me with her entire arm, exaggerating the movement as she turns to her friend as if to say, See! She gets it!

The DA shakes her head and her eyebrows scrunch up in confusion or because she thinks we’re both weird. “I just don’t think that’s right. It’s strange and weird.”

Before her friend can rebuke her, I say, “Well, to me, a relationship should be equal. Why should just the woman wear an engagement ring? The reason why it’s strange is based on this idea of masculinity and tradition. The woman wears an engagement ring and the man gets down on one knee to propose—rings are considered feminine by society.”

“If I’m goin’ to be wearin’ an engagement ring then so is he.” The redhead crosses her arms, chin slightly raised in clear defiance toward the DA, and her voice holding a finality to it.

Even as we talk about more mundane things instead of this different way of thinking toward the idea of engagement rings, the wheels in my head are still turning. I tell the DA to let me know when everyone checks out, so I can shut down visitation and quickly head to my room to write down my thoughts. I finally found my Gonzo article and, of course, it’s going to be an issue that’s not discussed much but should be talked about after the intense rise in feminism and talks of equality.

I type my pitch up and submit it—hoping beyond hope that everyone would agree.

* * * * *

Equality in relationships wasn’t all that common back in the old days—meaning any time period before the 21st Century, if we want to be honest. As I’m typing this article in my room, listening to American Idol, I can’t help but feel that even now this sense of equality between two partners is still in its early stages. Maybe that’s just me, but I’ve been in only two relationships, both of which I felt like I was more dominant than my male partners. It’s nothing against them, but I’m stubborn, pushy, and tend to ignore my partner’s ideas (unintentionally at times), yet here I am, talking about engagement rings for men and equality for relationships. How ironic.

I search the web for more information about engagement rings and if people believe that men should wear one too or not. I stumble upon an article entitled “Mangagement Rings: The Rise of Engagement Rings for Men” and couldn’t help but laugh at the term “mangagement ring.” Not only is it clever, but it summarizes the entire article in one word.

Rachel Hosie, the author of the article, interviewed several people about their opinions on mangagement rings. Some of their responses support what I think about relationships between partners and what the redhead woman believed as well. However, I never thought about this: An engagement isn’t just about the woman’s happiness, but the man as well. Yet, at any time when a couple becomes engaged, family, friends, and random acquaintances that use to be either classmates or former close friends always compliment the woman and talk to her about the engagement. No one really showers the man with compliments or congratulations except jokes about how he’s not a free man anymore.

We’ve all done it and I’m sure it won’t change. We talk about equality and equal partners, but to society, which is filled with decades-worth of tradition, the woman is still considered (if by title only) a man’s property. The ring was a way to show that she was taken by someone already. The independent side of me is beyond outraged by just the thought of my future man unintentionally claiming as a piece of his property. It’s not his fault, but society and tradition have gone hand-in-hand and will continue to be intertwined until God only knows when.

Throughout most of this article, I struggle to understand why people think this way. Is it culture? Society? Tradition? All I can think about is how I was raised: The man should be older than the me, he should be taller, he must come from a good family and background, and he should be able to take care of me. My father and his mother were raised more traditionally, which passed along these beliefs to me when looking for a man, but times have changed. I don’t need a man to take care of me or someone to claim me as his to everyone. Shouldn’t a relationship be built strictly on an equal foundation? We live in the 21st Century and yet there aren’t many couples who admit to having an equal relationship. Those who do are either applauded or criticized for being different and being the pioneers of a new way of thinking.

So, yes, I believe mangagement rings should totally be a thing. I’m not perfect but no one is truly. Relationships take work and building a foundation built on equality will take time.

To my future husband,

I hope you don’t mind wearing a mangagement ring! ‘Cause if I’m gettin’ a ring, then you’re gonna share in the glory of being engaged with me.

With love,

Your stubborn mule of a wife