Marriage is often painful. In my case the hurt is quite literal. My wedding band snapped a while back after I pulled a Khrushchev and slammed my hand down in a bicycle repair shop in a fit of rage. I’ve also taken on a wee bit of water since we said our “I do’s” in Larnaca back in the day.
And now it sinks into my fleshy, sausage-like fourth finger every now and then as if to remind me that marriage (if done right) should sting. But here are some very good reasons (ahem… excuses) why you men should consider taking off that ring (if you live in Israel) and you are not married to a knife-wielding Moroccan:
1) Judaism doesn’t require men to wear rings. It turns out that the ring was given to a woman to “purchase” her. She could choose to wear it if she wanted but was not obligated to return the favor to the groom. Personally I think the whole idea of purchasing people is sooooooo 17th century. So skip this one if your wife is a feminist, has access to knives or graduated the fourth grade. Or if the Rabbanut says you’re not Jewish.
2) Wearing a ring destroys marriages. It’s like the ring has some magnetic properties that attract only the wrong type of ladies. Like the ones who find married men attractive. Maybe it’s our willingness to commit that they’re attracted to. Or that we’re perceived as non-threatening. Or just a jealous desire to wreck a home. Whatever the reasons are I’ve found that I’m much more desirable to women when wearing a ring. So that’s why I’ve packed on these extra fifty pounds. As a preventative measure. Otherwise I’d have to beat them off with a stick.
3) Men who wear jewelry in this country are deuchebags. That’s the best I could come up with for “Ars”. Gold chains with the Star of David. Gold chains with “Chai”. Diamond studded earrings. Bracelets with names on them. Rings. Whatever. It’s a gateway to deuchiness. You put on a ring next thing you know you’re living in Bat Yam singing Zohar Argov karaoke while drinking a Vodka Red Bull.
4) There’s a good chance you’re a newlywed, which automatically makes you super annoying. OK so we’ve all been there. We’re all lovey-dovey and cooey-wooey with our little sugar-snuckums. And we kiss in public and hold hands and stare deeply, meaningfully into each other’s eyes. And we call to check in every twenty minutes. And we care how each other’s day is going. And we give foot massages. With special foot massage cream. With lavender scented candles flickering. And breakfast in bed. And we are as obnoxious and irritating to others as can be. And, of course, we display our rings proudly as we say “My wife” this and “My husband” that. Feel like vomiting? Yeah, I know. So if you see a guy with a ring there’s a good chance he just got married, just got back from his honeymoon or just finished booking a bed and breakfast for that weekend. Ughhh!
5) You’re much less of a man if you wear the ring. How do I know? OK, for one, most medical professionals wouldn’t wear a ring. Doctors for instance. The malpractice lawsuit would be too expensive if you left that ring up someone’s rectum. Secret Service agents? Doubt it. If caught they wouldn’t want their captors to know about their personal life. Construction worker? And risk getting the finger ripped off by heavy machinery? A rock star? Gene Simmons (or Chaim Witz), the KISS front man (he’s had more sex than all the rest of us Jews combined) has only recently got married and will probably not be wearing that ring anytime soon. So that leaves lawyers, accountants and bloggers. None of which are that macho.
6) Because the whole right hand/left hand is confusing. Historically speaking the ring was worn on the left because it was believed that the vein in the left hand was connected to the heart. Fast forward a few centuries and here in Israel wedding rings are traditionally worn on either the left or the right hand. In the States the ring is always on the left. In places like India, Poland and Columbia the ring goes on the right hand. In some cultures putting the ring on the right finger signifies that you are down for some extra-marital activity. Or that you are a proud gay activist who chooses to wear it on the right hand as a symbol of your everlasting and monogamous marriage (where legal of course). Or worst of all. Wearing it on the right hand might signify that you are left handed. The horror!
7) You have to go ring shopping. If there’s one thing we men don’t like doing it’s shopping. It’s a form of torture that should be dealt with in Geneva. M. and I must have gone to a dozen different stores. Some of them more than once. And we had long discussions about the rings. And whether we should engrave them. Whether they should match. And we slept on it. And went back to see them again. And thought about it some more. And made up our minds. And then slept on it some more. And then changed our minds. The whole process makes waterboarding seem like a day at the spa.
8) You’re more likely to get robbed. Let’s face it; rocking some expensive gold on your wrist, on your fingers or in your mouth makes you a perfect target for getting jacked. Like that time our friends came to visit us from the States in the 80’s and we took them to Ein Gedi. Stupid American olim and tourists! We put all our jewelry in the trunk of our Subaru 1300 and when we came back everything was gone. So don’t bother with the expensive ring unless you get it insured. In which case the ring was a family heirloom dating back to the Crusaders.
9) It’s bad for your health. You have some form of strange metal allergy. There’s also a condition called wedding ring rash aka wedding ring dermatitis. It is more common in women but can affect anyone wearing a ring for a prolonged period of time. It’s an allergic reaction that causes a small red patch to occur on the skin under the ring. It is uncomfortable, irritating and itchy which is a great way to describe the entire institution of marriage.
10) You constantly lose your stuff. If a day doesn’t go by that you don’t lose your car keys, wallet, phone or nitrous tanks then you shouldn’t add a gold ring to the list of things you could potentially lose. You take it off at the gym. You take it off when you shower. You take it off when you go to sleep. But boy if you lose that ring, be prepared for the poop to hit the fan in biblical proportions.
So there you have it. 10 very valid reasons (excuses) not to wear your wedding band in Israel. But I’m still gonna wear mine. And not because I’m afraid of M. chopping off my balls. Or because I believe in the hollow symbolism sold to us by jewelry companies. I’m gonna wear my ring because it reminds me that there is one person in the whole entire world that loves me almost unconditionally in spite of how obnoxious, smelly and opinionated I am.
And that’s worth its weight in gold.