Love & Sex Magazine

Why I Wouldn’t Buy My Man a ‘mengagement’ Ring

By Periscope @periscopepost
Why I wouldn’t buy my man a ‘mengagement’ ring

Though I'd eat a Haribo ring in minutes, it would be better than a "mengagement" ring. Photo credit: Miranda Kaufmann

I contemplated proposing to my boyfriend this year (a leap year). I was not the only one.

Yet there was one practical detail that stymied me. I could conjure up a romantic private venue. I could get down on one knee and pop the question, though I would have to be careful in my choice of skirt.

The vexed question was: “What about the ring?” You can’t exactly say “Will you marry me? Oh, and by the way here’s the bill for the ring I bought myself.” Kelly Bowerbank wrote in The Guardian that she and her fiancé wore Haribo rings after her successful proposal. That wouldn’t work for me.  I’d eat mine in minutes without thinking. And what kind of symbol would that be for my future marriage?

But now the terrifyingly prolific wedding industry has produced a solution: the “mengagement ring”. I saw this in a wedding magazine recently and thought: “Ugh.”

According to the Urban Dictionary, the term “mengagement” was coined by high street jeweller H. Samuel when they first launched an engagement ring for men in 2009. Unfortunately, the rings themselves are not as cute as their name. In an effort to remain manly, they tend to be uniformly solid-looking circles of titanium embedded with discreet diamonds. I’m really not sure whether presenting my beloved with one of these characterless items would encourage him to agree to my proposal.

The mengagement ring is also significantly cheaper than the female version, retailing at around £100-£200. That doesn’t seem like much of an investment in the future of our love. For me, the fact that engagement rings are expensive shows that the proposal has not been made on a whim. And what does it say for equality if traditionally a man was expected to spend three month’s salary on a ring, while women are now being marketed rings that are roughly equivalent to three nights out at the pub?

The one clear advantage of a mengagement ring, as I see it, is that it would effectively mark my territory. The last time my man went out for drinks without me, a woman propositioned him. When he told her he was taken, she said, “Where’s the ring?” Luckily, he was able to ward her off without the help of a titanium band.

I needed to be sure he really wanted to marry me, that he wanted me enough to obtain a ring and plan a proposal.

But deep down I knew I didn’t want to propose. Not because I wasn’t desperate to marry him. I am – and I’ve left him in no doubt of that. I’ve just watched too many Hollywood movies and read too many fairy tales. We all want a Prince Charming (or, in my case, a Breton pirate) to sweep us off our feet. But more importantly, in a world where women are portrayed as desperate to get married while men are commitment-shy, I needed to be sure he really wanted to marry me, that he wanted me enough to obtain a ring and plan a proposal.

An engagement ring promises eternal love; these clunky, identikit mengagement rings seem more like a cynical marketing ploy to cash in on the wedding market than desirable love tokens. Just looking at them makes my heart sink like the proverbial lead balloon, which is not how you want to feel when asking the man you love for his hand in marriage.

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