Just when you thought there could be no end to the fashion portmanteaus, here comes yet another: “man-gagement” rings. For some reason, several news outlets, including ABC News, reported last week that jewelers were noticing an uptick in men sporting engagement rings–it must have either been a slow news week, or writers were just itching to work in a pop culture reference to appear cool and clever. I must have counted at least three that referenced Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” song. You know the one.
The origins of this resurgence in men’s engagement rings seems to have been galvanized by Jennifer Hudson, the American Idol contestant-turned-Academy Award-winning actress who put a $15k Neil Lane ring on her fiance’s finger. Some sources say that men feel it’s only fair to get something nice after spending three months’ pay on an engagement ring for their partners, but others are saying that women are practically dragging their men to the jewelry store to get banded–much like a bear being tagged before getting released back into the wild. The “logic” is that once women accept a ring, they’re essentially marked “do not touch,” while their men are free to go gallivanting ring-free. Some men, however, just like the idea of having a symbol of their promise (aww) because they love their partners THIS MUCH. Whatever the case, you can bet these rings are made of manly-sounding, rugged materials, such as tungsten (yeah!), steel (hoo-ah!) and cobalt (effin’ A, yo).
The SK Cobalt “Braid” ring from Scott Kay
I’m all for the male engagement ring, only if my potential mate feels like having one, not because I want to mark my territory. I’m not a dog, for god’s sake, or a bitch, for that matter. But the idea of this trend as a new phenomenon is misleading; according to Moyen & Co. Jeweller, in some countries, both men and women wear engagement rings, and often the man’s ring serves a dual purpose as a wedding ring. And in Spain, women may buy their men nice watches as part of their engagement.
I’d be down with giving him a nice watch, but my boyfriend, Dr. J, has had the same watch since high school and has no desire to get another, which is fine by me. I think in general this whole jewelry industry is getting out of hand: “man-gagement” rings, promise rings, pre-engagement rings, even so-called “Right Hand” rings for ladies who want to declare their happiness as strong-minded, single–and apparently affluent–women. (Because, you know, nothing says “I’m independent” than listening to big jewelry companies tell them what they need to buy to show the world just how independent they are. You go, girls!) I mean, is there no end to the types of women’s engagement rings out there? It’s absolutely mind-boggling!
Bottom line–if you want to get one for your fiance, and he actually wants one, then go for it. If not, more power to you. Either way, easy on the portmanteaus, and let’s avoid relying on trite pop lyrics to get the point across, shall we?