Engagement ringI’m a sucka for love. I’ve swooned over the corniest, cheesiest, cheapest trinket because a guy was giving it from the heart. One time, when we were really young, stupid, and poor, The Dreaded Ex knelt and proposed with a twisty tie. There I was, a piece of plastic-covered twine wrapped around my ring finger, blubbering like I’d opened my door and seen the Prize Patrol swarming my front step. It was really quite a scene.

Now that I’m older and wiser, I’d be ten times as flattered if I knew my boo had sacrificed his love of Starbucks or his nightly outings with the fellas to save money for some fabulous finger candy. Anybody can whip out a vending machine ring with a piddly stone. A rock says you put a little thought and a lot of scrimping into my token of adoration.

In other words, it doesn’t have to look like Kim Kardashian’s monster boulder, but it should be at least a carat. That’s just love. 

I’m not a golddigger — heck, I’ve never dated a guy with any gold to dig — but there’s no reason why a working man with a salary and a deep passion for his woman shouldn’t be able to wrangle up an engagement ring that reflects that. It irks my nerves when men squander their money every which kinda way but then want to feign poverty when it comes to shelling out money for their wannabe fiancee’s engagement ring. Don’t stop being big spender now, playboy. That’s when the duckets count.

If you can blow your money on drinks, video games, and every new gadget Apple tosses into the market, you can surely pony up enough dough to buy the lady you claim is The One a ring she can proudly flash around to her girlfriends, co-workers, and cashiers in the Target checkout line. That is, if it’s truly at the top of the priorities list.

Aside from the whole twisty tie incident, I’ve never been on the receiving end of a real proposal. Marathon Guy (the one after The Dreaded Ex) and I never moved beyond eight years of being boyfriend/girlfriend because when it came to putting out for new Air Jordans or the hottest Kenneth Coles, his money flowed like baby oil at a bodybuilder convention. But come time to hit up Jared or Zales and suddenly, his funds were tight.

Taking out a loan to pay for a ring was stupid in my book because once we got married, we were going to be merging money and debts, and please believe I was not down for picking up the tab for my own two-carat stunner, even if it was in some kind of roundabout, circumvented way.

But bigger than that was my disappointment in his inability to set aside his fetish for superficial spending in order to buy me a ring as impressive and pricey as his footwear collection. I felt like this here: he wasn’t going to spend enormous amounts of money on himself to be the head fashionisto on the block and then toss chump change into a little poo poo piece of jewelry for me and expect me to be thrilled about it. Especially since I didn’t foresee him being the type to remember to upgrade it, which meant I’d be stuck carting that starter diamond around for the next 20 years.

I don’t think it’s petty at all for a woman to have certain standards about her engagement ring. In fact, I think quite the opposite is true — there’s no sparkle when a guy doesn’t give his soon-to-be affianced gal the best of his best when he’s cooking up the proposal and buying the accessories he needs to do it with. In some cases, I accept that the love outweighs the ability to buy something razzle dazzle. My grandparents were married for 45 years and my Nana rocked a chip, probably not even a fourth of a carat, the whole entire time.

Much as I want a showpiece, though, Kim K. can keep her 20 carats. That doesn’t say love. That says beef up your security, sweetheart, because without it, just getting from the car to the restaurant door is going to be a coin toss. Who wants to live life with the freakin’ Hope Diamond on your hand every day? A two million-dollar ring belongs in a glass enclosure in a museum, not a human being’s ring finger. If a man can do it big, he should. Just not that big.

Is it wrong for a woman to expect her engagement ring to be a certain size?


Image via Rose Robinson/Flickr