I was talking to my best friend’s girlfriend the other day and we were talking about money and how both me and my best friend couldn’t help ourselves but spend money on some video games for the E3 sale. In humor she kind of said that we both needed to save our money better. I said I like to save my money for trips and I had saved enough to take two trips out west so I was doing okay for now. She had mentioned that he wasn’t and that he needed to start saving up for that engagement ring.

The side note is that they’ve been together for four years. They currently live together in a house that they rent and have a dog together. I think she’s great. I would be more than happy for them to get married. She’s really good to him and great for him.

Now I know I have polled women before about all sorts of things. One of the questions I find fascinating is about whether or not a couple should live together before getting engaged. All the men I have asked have said yes. This is probably a poll of about twenty guys. Only one or two of the fifteen women I have asked said they would. They believe they should be engaged before moving in together. I often ask both sides why? The guys usually say that they want to know what it’s like living with her before fully committing to marriage. They want to make sure the couple is compatible and she won’t drive him crazy. Because in a normal relationship you can always just go home when you are fed up with your significant other and cool off. I haven’t really gotten a concrete answer out of the women I’ve asked. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy and they’re afraid to tell me. But I did get one answer that seemed to fit. Women might feel that as soon as you move in with the guy and everything is going well there is no pressure anymore to get married. The guy can get content with his life and essentially just go through the motions.

I don’t think it’s a secret that women traditionally find more meaning and significance on marriage and having a wedding. That the majority of it enjoy all that goes into it and the event to show the world your love and whatever other stuff you want to call it. I can’t really speak on behalf of most guys. You’ll have to ask yours for his opinion on it. I personally don’t put too much weight on it. If you really love someone you don’t need one big event to show the world and your peers that. You show that throughout your lifetime together. It shouldn’t be birthdays, anniversaries, and family functions that you decide you need to show affection and love once again to prove you still care for someone. I think making me lunch or leaving me a note of courage is more loving. Once the big day is over the only thing you can take away from it are some gifts and the rings.

Now the rings are the main reason I’m writing this piece at all. Let’s go back to the original story. I was talking with my best friends girlfriend about saving up for an engagement ring. I had no clue how much it cost. I thought it was like a couple hundred dollars and if you were wealthy it would drift into the thousands. She told me she picked out a cheap one and it was $1500. I was like what?! That’s cheap? She said yes. If you’re rich and wealthy people may pay up to $5000. I’m shocked. $1500?!?! That’s two months rent for me with groceries. I don’t make a lot of money so if I had to save up that much money for a ring I’d probably have to date a girl for a long long time.

My curious nature I started to ask around to my friends who are engaged or are now married for what they spent on engagement rings. A friend told me he inherited his grandma’s ring but installed some diamonds on it. It cost him $1200. Another best friend of mine who is now married said he couldn’t remember but it was between one to two grand. He thought it was closer to two. Then again I asked a girl and her’s only cost $140. It’s always been in my nature to ask questions about society and how people act. So without really even thinking about it I asked what the girl got for the guy as a gift? In summary: nothing.

I’ve asked only a few people and essentially got the answer that the guy didn’t want anything so the girl didn’t get him anything. My one friend said he wanted to wear an expensive tie to his wedding but he had to get approval. My best friend said he didn’t want anything and the female friend said her guy said he didn’t want anything either. Again I’m perplexed! You mean to tell me that the guy saved up his money for months and is possibly on a payment plan to pay off your ring… and you didn’t get him anything? I don’t get it. A guy sacrifices so that he can buy this expensive ring that you cherish. A symbol that supposed to show how much he loves you and wants to be with you, and in return what do you get… nothing.

I get the whole traditionalist nature. The woman was the prize back then. She likely didn’t have the money to get you anything or really didn’t have any place to. It might have been considered offensive at one point. But in today’s society where equal rights and gender equality are all the rage and supposed to be common place the guy still gets nothing? A guy has to get you an expensive ring to show you his love and I guess all the woman has to do is show up? It just puzzles me how women want to be treated as equals but then this nonsense still exists. The whole you want your cake and to eat it to. You want to be treated as equal, but yet you still feel you deserve to be treated special or better than others. I just don’t get it.

When I asked the question of what did you get him after you got engaged? I got the question back in return. What would you want? I said I damn well didn’t want a ring. I don’t like owning possessions. I like to go out and do things. If a lot of money is being spent we better be doing something fun. I feel like owning things and buying stuff for one another is an easy cop-out for showing that you care. I get that the engagement is probably a surprise to the woman. It’s an unexpected moment. There’s no logical sense that she would have a gift ready for him. But I would expect some sort of gift or token to show that she loves me. I would want something that’s thoughtful. I suggested having one of my books printed off and published or creating a scrapbook of my writings. That was the first thing that came to my mind. But really anything thoughtful would do.

I know I’ve focused  a lot on the cost of the ring. What I’m about to say might come off as sexist, or way too general for the female gender, but to me this whole engagement ring really just shows me that women still are way more consumed by possessions, things, and titles than men ever will. Men will always believe in actions more than diamond rings and fancy clothes. When my best friend’s girlfriend makes him a snack or buys him extra underwear… that’s his wedding ring right there. That’s all he needs. He has someone who cares about him and shows him on a regular basis.