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June 07, 2013


Sounds like good advice:

Advise her to give that poor young gentleman back his family ring. Miss Manners is not recommending this as a way to allow your daughter to squeeze another ring out of him, along with some treacly drama of a proposal. Rather it is to spare him from a marriage made miserable by the influence of childish ideas from his wife’s scatterbrained friends.

The other advice is for you: You have a lot of parenting left to do. No matter what your daughter’s age is, she is too immature to be married. You may not be able to ground her, but you should strongly oppose any idea of marriage until you are able to instill some values in her.

That made our day.

Posted by Cassandra at June 7, 2013 05:15 AM

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Dear Mr. Manners:
I recently got engage to my girlfriend of seven years. I'm thinking that I must be pretty stuck on her, because I gave her I HUGE diamond ring that been in the family for generations. My friends are telling me that I'm a complete dope for giving her such a big rock because now her expectations are so high she'll never be satisfied. The guys are saying that I should ask her for the ring back under the pretext that my engagement proposal wasn't "romantic enough" and I want to take a mulligan and make it really special. My friends also say that I should sell the big rock on ebay and replace it with something smaller. they tell me that I can pawn off the replacement as being something that's even more special than the family ring because, you know, I got it "just for her." Do you think that I should follow my friends advice and use the money left over to by a bass boat?

Gentle Reader:
I don't think that selling the family ring on ebay to buy a bass boat is a good way to embark on a lifelong relationship. A good used ski boat can be had for about the same amount, and it's far more likely to attract hot babes.

Posted by: spd rdr at June 7, 2013 12:06 PM

Now that's a marriage made in Hade... err... heaven.

Not sure if you've seen this gentleman's work - if there's a Mr. Manners out there, he's it :)

Posted by: Cass at June 7, 2013 12:24 PM

Hardly anyone is more sensible and civilized than Miss Manners.

Posted by: Texan99 at June 7, 2013 10:46 PM

My family has a recent tradition of passing down engagement rings. I gave my daughter my mother's engagement ring, which she and SIL had reset to suit current styles (since separated, sadly).
Still hold engagement rings from my grandmother and great grandmother.

While one of these rings was rest to include a *bunch* of small gems, the intrinsic value is modest. The sentimental value is enormous, and I can think of no greater way to welcome a woman into the family than to offer a family heirloom as a (conditional on marraige) gift.

Best Regards,

Posted by: CAPT Mike at June 7, 2013 10:52 PM

This is one of those areas where I feel like I must be from another planet. I don't really get the whole fantasy wedding/engagement ring thing.

Since I was a little girl, I have loved ball dresses and always looked forward to the Marine Corps Ball. So I understand the allure of dressing up - I have a closet full of ball dresses I've bought and saved over the years. This year, I was able to give a really lovely vintage 1920s style beaded dress that I'd never even worn to a niece for her senior prom. She looked stunning in it - it was perfect for her.

But engagement rings seem like a custom that has outlived its usefulness. In a traditional marriage, I can see (I guess) where a groom's ability to manage his salary and save up for a nice ring might be a symbol of his ability to provide for the family. But I got through the first 27 or so years of our marriage with a simple gold wedding band that cost under $30. We married young and the spousal unit offered to buy me an engagement ring. We even went out and shopped once, but it just seemed like a colossal waste of money for two people starting out on a shoestring.

My wedding dress was very pretty, but it looked nothing like my dream dress. I knew I couldn't afford my dream dress and wouldn't have bought it (I hope) even had I had the money. The only thing I really hated was my flowers. For some reason that was kind of important to me, but once I saw the price tags for wedding flowers, I snapped out of that and picked something my parents could afford.

I wanted all white and green - very simple - and oddly simple costs a ton of money.

On our 3rd anniversary, my husband had a pearl ring made for me from pearls he'd gotten at Mikimoto in Japan when his father was stationed there. They actually went out on a boat and watched divers dive for the oysters with the pearls in them. It's very pretty and had great sentimental value since they'd carried those pearls around for 15 years or so. But it wasn't practical for daily wear for a young mother so I only wear it on special occasions.

On our 27th anniversary, he bought me a diamond anniversary band. A few years later, I put that and my wedding band down the garbage disposal and turned the diamond band into a Moebius strip :p I paid a guy to come out and take apart the garbage disposal - they found the diamonds but not my wedding band. I was absolutely crushed and he promised to take the disposal home and take it completely apart. He found my wedding band, mostly unscathed (turns out 14K gold is a LOT tougher than 24 carat gold:

Different karat weights demand different prices. Ever wonder why? It's because the karat designation determines just how much gold there is in the metals which make up the piece of jewelry. The lower the karat number, the less gold there is in the piece and the less expensive the gold is - and coincidentally, the more durable it is.

There's a metaphor in there, somewhere :p I don't think anyone really expected our marriage to last, either.

This Christmas, we took the Moebius strip and a diamond pendant he gave me for our 18th anniversary to a local jeweler and a ring custom made. Because it has so many stones in it, it's bigger than anything I would have picked out in a store, but it's just lovely and every time I look at it, I'm reminded of all our years together.

It's really the sentimental value that counts, and for some odd reason it means so much more to me than the original anniversary band did, pre-garbage disposal.

Posted by: Cass at June 8, 2013 10:06 AM

I'm sure I've told you this before, but the engagement ring I gave my future wife was a $10 silver ring that didn't fit her. It was all I had, and we certainly didn't have any money for more than that.

It was a good sign for our union that, really, any ring would have done. All she wanted was me. The ring was just a sign.

Posted by: Grim at June 8, 2013 01:01 PM

Our rings have always been just a sign--matching plain gold bands. In fact, I lost one and had it replaced with another just like it.

My sister had a beautiful gold and garnet ring when we were young, a gift from our parents. In an uncharacteristic lapse, my father advised her to soak it overnight in Chlorox to remove some scunge in the setting, and to our horror in the morning it was only a fragile latticework of metal, the gold having dissolved and become gold chloride. My father was pretty embarrassed, being a chemist and all, that he hadn't guessed that would happen.

I've never been that keen on jewelry, but if I had limitless wealth, youth, and beauty, I could be tempted by some star sapphires. Freshwater pearls are nice, too. Diamonds are way down on my list.

Posted by: Texan99 at June 8, 2013 08:09 PM

It was a good sign for our union that, really, any ring would have done. All she wanted was me. The ring was just a sign.

That's exactly how I feel about my wedding ring :)

Before the untimely encounter with the garbage disposal, I once took off both my rings and then put a book on top of them on my nightstand. I thought I had lost them. The one I cried buckets about was my wedding ring (worth all of about 30 bucks). I had nightmares for several days until I finally found it.

Tex, I prefer pearls to diamonds as well.

Posted by: Cass at June 10, 2013 07:49 AM

The fiance asked me to humor him and look at rings before he actually proposed. I was mindful of his budget, but my favorite was a less expensive ring with smaller stones. A solitaire with a huge rock just isn't my style. I think my ring (and the matching wedding band) is feminine and delicate. I have told him I am not marrying him for what I can get from him, financially. I am marrying him for who he is - he's the man I've waited for and the one I want to grow old and (more) gray with ;-)

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 10, 2013 05:12 PM