We argued in the middle of a Taco Bell about marriage, engagement and social rolls in America. Now ignore the fact that I'm actually IN a Taco Bell and just be secure in the knowledge that I did NOT eat anything from said establishment. (I would rather die... and I might have.)
On a Sunday afternoon, John got a hankering for a beef and cheddar heart attack so I reluctantly joined him to simply remain in his company. I innocently asked how things with his girlfriend, Sylvia, were going. He said things were great and he was thinking about maybe getting married. "That's amazing! Have you bought a ring yet?!" I exclaimed, in pure joy for my friend finding someone to whom he was willing to make a lifelong commitment. Instead of a smiling back, his face dropped into a perplexing somber affair.
"An engagement ring?", he asked with pure loathing in his voice.
He went on a 10 minute long rant about how the idea of an engagment ring is sexist and insulting to any woman he would marry. It hints at ownership. (I argued so does a wedding ring) Why does the woman only get a ring? Can't a man have an engagement ring too? (I said yes, if that's important to you) And why not a engagement tiara or engagement stilettos? (because an engagement tiara probably couldn't be worn at all times like a ring.)
I understand. I get it. Society says we must buy a ring; why should we yield? I could say the exact same thing about that flat screen in your living room. Do you really need 72 inches of TV when you don't even have cable? Why do you paint your walls or coordinate your furniture? Why buy anything from a mall? Why do you reluctantly recycle when you don't really believe it does anything for the environment? Why do you wear pants but never a skirt? Because it's in your head since you were born, that's the way it should be. Perhaps society does tell us we must do these things but we do them because we want to, really.
If he really doesn't want to buy an engagement ring, he doesn't have to. I told him Sylvia will be disappointed, perhaps only a little, but disappointed no less.
It is a symbol, regardless of what society says. A symbol of love, that he treasures me above all other. Whether is be a diamond, sapphire, or hunk of safety glass from a broken windshield, I'll know he chose that something special for me, to signify his love and commitment. To celebrate our new life together.
We get to pick and choose what tradition we want and that fit our lifestyles. It's like how I don't celebrate Christmas, even though society seems to demand that I do. How my lesbian friends live together as a married couple with their children even though that is not how it's traditionally done. And Johnny, if you want to not do the engagement ring, that's up to you. But I just want you to think about this: is this situation really about you and your ideals, or is it about making her beam and glow with happiness, not only when you get down on one knee, but every time she looks down and sees it on her hand? Would you deny her that if she really wants that?
But really, none of that matters, because for a girl like me (and Sylvia), it all come down to this... I want my moment. I want that moment where it's just like the movies. As little girls, we dream about many things. Driving our own car, getting a career we love, getting married. And not too many little girls imagine that the proposition to marriage comes with an empty velvet box and a "Let's get married" thrown commonly over one's shoulder. I WANT romance. I WANT a little dramatic flare during one of the most romantic times in my entire life. I WANT something special that is only for me, something that I will wear for the rest of my life. Something that will remind me again and again of that perfect moment, the romance and happiness. When the entire world melted away and it was just the two of us.
Nothing was resolved that day, as is typical. I'm not sure anything has ever been resolved at Taco Bell. But he said he would think about it. I think he heard me.