Kallah Chronicles, Chapter 1: Why I didn’t receive an engagement ring

I want to start off by saying that I am not here to judge nor mock any person who did receive an engagement ring, nor to try and change anyone’s mind on the matter; I simply wish to share my thoughts and feelings that eventually led to my own personal decision not to receive one. Your rings are gorgeous.

Ever since we announced our engagement, people have been glancing at my hands as they congratulate me, searching for the shine of a diamond. Then they ask, so can I see the ring? I don’t have a ring, I say. And then, so they don’t think my fiance is stingy or not in touch, God forbid, I add, I asked him not to get me one. And then there are more questions, which I usually deflect. What is being engaged, if not deflecting questions? So here I am, finally attempting to tackle some of them.

First, I would like to quote Pink, who knows a lot of good stuff: “Sometimes you think everything is wrapped inside a diamond ring; love just needs a Witness and a little forgiveness.” She’s so great.

The shortest and simplest answer is that ethical diamonds are more expensive (yes, even more expensive than the regular diamonds). As a young couple just starting life together, with little savings and low prospects of winning the lottery, spending an unnecessarily large sum of money would probably not be our best move.

I am not familiar with the history of proposing with diamonds. However, to me it kind of sounds like the man needs to persuade the woman he loves to spend her life with him, and does this by proving he is financially stable enough to buy a very expensive rock. (Of course, to some it means something completely different, which is fine; this is what it means to me.) I did not need to be persuaded to marry the man I love. I also did not need proof that I will be spoiled with riches for the rest of my days. In my very real life I am perfectly fine with understanding deeply the value of money and lack thereof, and working hard together as partners in order to have enough of it.

While we plan to both wear wedding bands once we are married, I do not fully grasp the concept of my wearing a ring during the engagement period, while my fiance does not. Shouldn’t it be something we do together? We are engaged together, will be married together. I also don’t buy into the whole showing other men I am taken thing. Men should (and sometimes do!) respect that I do not want them to speak to me, without my being “taken.” Why is my being engaged reason enough for a man to back off, while my not being interested is not? I don’t want to flash a diamond in men’s faces, just my disinterest. It works more often than not, which is awesome.

And yet, with all of these reasons and probably more (somewhere in my mess of a bride-brain), I still had to take a moment and question my decision to not receive a ring, and I had to take that (false) every-girl fantasy of a diamond and calmly say goodbye to it. Such is the powerful influence of our agenda-driven society: I never in my life wanted a diamond ring, and yet still had to give up on it.

And finally, in the words of Conor Oberst: “Planets are inset like diamonds, on a gravity halo — eternity’s wedding band.”

Pictured: my fiance picked a little flower and fashioned the stem into a ring. It was a perfect fit.

About the Author
Shira is a non-angry feminist living in Jerusalem. She loves red wine, good books, unpopular music, and Shir Ha'Shirim.
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