The Vagenda

These Adverts For Engagement Rings Will Make You Want to Be Single FOREVER

What is it about engagement adverts that make them a festival of douchebaggery? Is it the saccharine tone, the crass assumptions they make about gendered behaviour, or just the shite notion that a woman (and ONLY a woman) needs a big, unethical sparkler on her finger to show she’s not a lonely cunt but a proper functioning adult? Whichever it is, these adverts are making the proverbial spinster eaten by Alsatians scenario seem pretty bloody appealing. 
…because you’re a woman, and any kind of ring-shaped thing will do.
…because you’re a woman who doesn’t know her own mind
…so why doesn’t she LOOK that happy? Oh, because you’re an emotionally abusive asshole who made her cry on Christmas day. 
…a future in which Mr.Smith’s husband spends all his time busting his ass in his shitty boring yuppy job while Mrs.Smith becomes increasingly bored, lonely, and hangry (angry and horny), eventually divorcing him for half his assets and marrying a sensitive teacher who works in an underprivileged city school helping the kids discover their dreams, while in his spare time going down on her like a total boss. 
Hey, stereotypical macho American everyman. Whatup bro? Listen, we know you don’t even want to marry her that much. Hell, she’s stopped fucking you on the regular or laughing at your jokes and the controlling bitch doesn’t like you doing poker night with the girls, in fact, she’s pretty much a fucking nightmare, right? But hang on, here’s a solution: why don’t you gain some much needed freedom from your pain in the ass high maintenance wench of a girlfriend by LEGALLY COMMITTING TO HER FOREVER? 
…because you’re a woman and are therefore in a constant, simultaneously anxious and high maintenance state of frenzied anticipation. While wearing fishnets, obvs. 
Yay, feminism. Why not get engaged, but to YOURSELF? My right hand is giving you the finger right now, you patronising tosspot. Wait a second…oh, look….SO IS MY LEFT HAND. 
I mean, I’d be proud too were I marrying the only sentient ventriloquist’s dummy in America
…because she’s a woman and she’s just so overcome with the emotion of it all (FYI, this facial expression is totally the one I’ve been practicing as my ‘what, little old me?’ Oscar nomination announcement face). 
…because you’re a woman, and nothing makes you wetter than a rock in a velvet box with a massive markup.
…after I vomit all down my front from the sickly sentimentality of it all. After the buzz retreats, to be replaced only by a kind of despondent emptiness. After the first time we fuck and you can’t get it up. After the divorce. After the CSA cheques stop coming. After the trip to the pawn shop…
…because you’re a woman and you’re going to end up as SOMEBODY’S property so it might as well be this guy

20 thoughts on “These Adverts For Engagement Rings Will Make You Want to Be Single FOREVER

  1. OK, so we just got engaged and I’ve already had my first argument about changing my name – not with the bloke, who is cool with whatever I want (or I wouldn’t be marrying him, obvs), but with a third party. Given that it was someone I don’t know that well, I was… taken aback. How does one deal with this? Without bloodshed, which would have had us ejected from the pub?

    • Odd to think that people still get angry about stuff like that. What was their reasoning for believing you should take his surname? Just tell them it’s your choice and they should respect that. And maybe wear your engagement ring on your middle finger so you can show it off a lot to them :-p

    • Just say that you don’t have time to do the paperwork to change your name because you’re too busy giving him blow jobs and making him sammiches.

    • I *did* change my name when I got married (stuck his on after mine, so now I have two last names and sound really posh, which is an unfortunate side effect, but whatever) and I get shit for it. There’s no winning this discussion, so just don’t get into it. Just smile and say “we’re doing what works for us” and nothing more. Repeat as necessary until the Spanish Inquisition ends. You don’t need to justify your decisions to third parties.

    • I have had numerous conversations about this as I didn’t take my husband’s name either. The insults that I have received from both women and men have been astonishing. “How will he know that you’re really committing to him?” “Oh, you’re one of those.” “You’re like one of those dreadful people who ‘occupy London’”, “haven’t you ever wondered what this makes him look like? He looks pussywhipped” I have tried to explain that we’re two independent people who have simply decided to spend our lives together as two equal parties, but some people simply can’t get their heads round it. So now I have learned that the best thing to do is simply smile and nod and then go and talk to someone else.

    • The one that has got me so far is ‘If you have children, you won’t have their name so you won’t be part of the family’. That one was a bit *ouch* (although my reply was that we’ll double-barrel them).

    • I’m planning to go into research as a career, so my response will be “because otherwise nothing I’ve published will be associated with my new name” lol

    • The perfect answer to this is, “Oh, we believe in total commitment, so HE’S taking MY last name for the sake of family unity.” Watch their heads explode and reveal their blatant sexism all at the same time!

    • My mum had this debate with herself before she got married (my dad didn’t really care either way) and she basically decided to change her last name to his as all she was doing was swapping one mans name for another. We should all just choose our last name and not have to take it from our dads or future husbands!

    • My mum didn’t change her name when she got married but also I was given her surname, not my dad’s. So for us, he’s always been the one appearing to be “outside” the family name-wise. As a child I used to get confused when people (often those who didn’t know my family well) asked if my parents were divorced, if they really were married (?) and if my dad minded.

      I think the most interesting solution to this I’ve come across is, related to what Sarah said about, couples choosing a completely new surname for both of them. It would certainly reduce more unfortunate forname-surname combinations.

      On another note, I’ve just got to the age where girls I know have started getting married, and have come to realise how easy it is to lose contact with someone whose surname you now don’t know. (Although I admit Facebook does make contact easier).

    • I always laugh at the stupidity of the comment ‘but you’re not committing to him properly.’ If that is what shows commitment, almost no man commits to his wife. But that’s ok for men, clearly

  2. Though I do not support the hijacking of feminism for the purpose of selling, well, almost anything, there is a fairly fine tradition in my family of women buying jewellery they want, because they want it (often later in life when they have the money, or when there are celebrating something). It’s nice to look at my Great-Grandma’s ring and think “that’s what she bought, because she was successful and liked it” or my mum’s ‘the divorce came through necklace’ (no diamonds, but it’s pretty awesome).

    I have a diamond on my right hand that says “my Grandma gave me some money for my 21st and I figured I would enjoy this longer than drugs/booze/a playstation 3″, sure it confuses the hell out of people, but if you want a diamond ring and have the money, waiting for a man to come along and try to buy you just seems weird.

    This topic is a hot one in my relationship at the moment though. We plan on getting engaged (yes, I know, conformity central):

    He won’t ask without a ring
    He won’t let me help pay for the ring
    He won’t ‘let’ me ask him

    Apparently this is about being an adult and a man and crap…obviously you choose your battles but I am ‘waiting’ to tell my family because diamonds are an insane rout and he rejected my ‘created ruby and silver’ suggestion >.> or better yet my “I already have a diamond, we can just move it to the other hand” suggestion.

    The internalised ‘marriage is a responsibility and the man needs to be in a position to buy diamonds to prove he is ready’ stuff makes me cross. I hate these ads, they insult women but they also scare and pressure men.

    • I proposed to my man with a £20 moonstone and silver ring from Camden Makret and we couldn’t be happier. :) He insists he will buy me a ring, but it will be in his own time, when he has the money, and probably be of appropriate value.

      You could try making the point that if he wants to prove his financial readiness he could do so by having the money to spend on a shiny rock and then not doing so, and saving it for more practical things?

      Or (high risk strategy) try sweeping him away with a proposal he can’t refuse.

    • Yay! I also proposed the shit out of my boyfriend, with flowers in the snow and reading a poem and asked him on one knee. No rings, no money splurge and now one of the best memories we both have. (boyfriend is soon to be legal partner because he said yes!)

    • I pre-proposed to my boyfriend by telling him I was ready for pre-marital counseling (IDK if that’s a thing in the UK, but it’s big in the southern part of the US). It’s unusual to do it before an engagement, but I wanted to have plenty of time to focus on us as a couple before we had to worry about planning a wedding or dealing with other people’s opinions. My ring hasn’t arrived from the jeweler yet, but our families have known for a few months now that we’re getting married next year, and I’ve slowly started telling my friends. I call my boyfriend my secret fiancé because there’s no “proof” yet. Each couple has to figure out their own thing. My feminist sensibilities mean I want to get him an engagement gift, but he’s refused adamantly, mostly on the grounds that he can afford to buy me a sparkly ring and I can’t afford to buy him much of anything.

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