“Where’s your wedding ring?” my girlfriend asked as we compared thrashed mom-icures, “Don’t tell me you lost it!”
“I didn’t lose it, I just never wear it,” I explained, “I guess I just don’t care about it that much.”
“Don’t care about it that much? That’s your wedding ring! It’s sacred! I never take mine off. Never ever. I won’t even take it off to shower. Don’t you want people to know you’re married? How does your husband feel about it?”
Oh. Wow. So much passion! So many questions! Who knew my naked (albeit still married) ring finger could evoke such a powerful reaction?
When it comes to my digitus quartus, there are six reasons I rarely, if ever, wear my wedding ring:
1. I forget.
No, I don’t forget that I’m married. When you’ve been married 43 percent of your life as I have, you hardly remember a time when you weren’t married. In fact, you begin to believe you were born married. For this reason, slipping a metal band on my left hand to signify the obvious just isn’t a huge priority for me. So long as I’m making my marriage a priority, does the ring even matter?
2. I have nothing to prove.
If I know I’m married and my husband knows I’m married and I conduct myself as a married person, should I care whether the cashier at Trader Joe’s knows I’m married or the general public thinks I’m single? (And that’s assuming they’re thinking about my marital status at all.) If I’m every bit as devoted to my husband of 16 years as I’ve ever been, my external symbol of commitment, while pretty to look at, almost seems unnecessary. Besides, the health of one’s marriage is hardly contingent upon cut, color, clarity, and carat size.
3. It’s just a ring. Yeah, I said it.
If a horse is a horse, of course, of course, then a ring is just a thing, a blingy thing. Sure, there was a time in my early 20s when my wedding ring meant everything to me. I’d model my vintage 1920s Tiffany-style ring with tremendous pride and squeal with delight every time it happened to catch the light just right. But I’ve changed a lot since I was 22. Novelty has been replaced by the very best kind of normalcy and last I checked, I made my vows to my husband, not my wedding ring.
4. It’s dangerous.
It’s not the value of the ring that’s so dangerous, it’s the razor sharp, high-set prong setting that’s made me a hazard to myself and anyone within arm’s reach. Want to give me a hug? I might just slice your arm off. Stand too close while I’m talking with my hands? You’re risking permanent blindness.
5. It’s expensive.
My ring may be modest by today’s three-month salary rule, but it’s still way more expensive than any jewelry I’d otherwise purchase from Forever 21. And what if I lose my ring while sampling cucumber melon lotion? Or it gets stolen by some skilled finger-picker? Or I just beat the crap out of it or lose the diamond because I’m clumsy, busy, or knocking out a free-standing wall that day? My ring may just be a ring, but I’d still like to pass it down to my sons one day.
6. It’s annoying.
You think being married is annoying?! Well, sometimes yes, but that’s not what I said. Wearing a ring is annoying. I don’t like the clank, clank, clank the ring makes on my keyboard, nor do I enjoy the way the ring gets all loose and turns itself around to the underbelly of my finger when I’m cold (and I’m always cold). But more than clanks and turns, I don’t like how rings — any rings — get caught on sweaters/blankets/scarves/textiles of any kind. Or that they run expensive tights, get cruddy super fast, or always, always get caught on plastic grocery bags. But hey, I also don’t like wearing watches, heavy earrings, false eyelashes, or heels of any kind because OMGCOULDTHEYBEANYMOREANNOYING.
And so what? Some people wear their heart on their sleeve, while others wear it around their finger. So if that’s what makes you happy, go on and wear that stunning ring, let it catch the light if you’re so inclined, or dare to go bare if a ring’s not for you. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to your marriage, so let’s all keep our fingers out of it.