Yesha Callahan

A Note On Women More Concerned With Bragging On A Ring Than Being A Wife

It’s no coincidence one of the first actions of a newly engaged woman is to show off her wedding ring. For years a diamond on one’s ring finger has been a status symbol. But while in the past that status was mostly about money, these days an engagement ring has become a love status symbol of sorts. It’s a way for women to announce to the world that they are (allegedly) loveable, and not only that: someone loves them and not you (Read: you poor, lonely, single soul sitting at home pining over how to get a man).

No social media post illustrates this shift better than this overly zealous commentary from a recently engaged woman that didn’t sit too well with the single crowd.

After reading that, I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain why this didn’t go over well. But instead of getting into the Pandora’s Box of panty policing politics this woman opened, I’d prefer to focus on the motive behind her post — or question it rather.

Why is it so hard for women to celebrate an accomplishment (if you consider getting a man to propose to you an accomplishment, and many women do) without pissing on someone else? You hardly have to read between the lines to sense the undertone of shaming directed at women who, its assumed, sleep with every man who crosses their path and wonders why they can’t get a proposal. It’s great this woman found the one, which she clearly largely attributes to her abstinent lifestyle, but can we be honest about the fact that there are numerous celibate women walking around willing and ready to do support, uplift, and be a man’s best friend and it’s not happening for them? In other words, miss I’ve-been-engaged-for-two-seconds, you ain’t got the answers.

What is it with women these days that as soon as someone pops the question they suddenly think hold the key to life? All women, by and large, are somewhat responsible for this behavior because we incessantly probe bookstores, the internet, and anyone in our circles willing to listen for advice on how to catch or keep a man. But, likewise, we all seem to forget that what works for one lady and her relationship isn’t exactly the answer for the next. Given that fact, it would suit everyone to kill the pompous “I beat the odds” commentary that accompanies far to many “I said yes!” statuses and simply thank your lucky stars, God, or the universe that somehow you’ve found someone who’s willing to try to spend the rest of his life with you — because that’ about all a ring and a proposal really means. Ain’t no guarantees in this life boo boo, which is why you might want to be a little more humble coming out of the gate.

Sometimes I honestly can’t tell whether a woman is more excited about the prospect of being someone’s wife or bragging to other women that she’s got something they want and can’t have. Often times the race to the altar seems to be more about beating other women to the finish line than it is hastening one’s happily ever after — all of which illustrates how complicit we all are in society’s persistent single shaming.

I personally don’t believe there’s anything a woman can do to make a man propose. Sure, there are certain characteristics of a good lifelong partner one would be wise to demonstrate, but a man popping the question is no more the doings of a good woman than a guy cheating on his woman is the fault of his partner. A man is going to do what he wants to do and in our excitement to be eternally betrothed to someone, we need to stop making other women feel like they aren’t doing enough to achieve the same outcome. By all means, spread your good news. But know at the end of the day that the approach you take to your relationship is not gospel and there’s no need to make others feel ashamed for not following your love doctrine.

  1. August 12, 2015 - Reply

    You articulated and hit on so many things I’ve often thought about. The author of the above Instagram post shared what she thought got her a good man. Cool. That’s wonderful. I’m always happy for women who find “The One,” but I also think people should be wary of bragging because things can flip big time. I remember a friend of mine used to brag about how her husband wouldn’t do such and such. Come to find out, he was a drug addict and still is. Humility can take a person very far. It can save a lot of embarrassment.

    • August 12, 2015 - Reply

      @Noirluv45

      Exactly, remain humble.

  2. August 12, 2015 - Reply

    All my female friends who have genuinely great marriages never did this, they were thrilled about their courtships but were not idealistic about finding prince charmings who don’t exist. I wouldn’t even get mad at this woman above if I was one of her single friends, you never know what is going on in a relationship. Look at Ben and Jen Affleck, everything looks great on the surface and her (on paper) perfect man is banging the nanny.

    “they suddenly think hold the key to life?”

    Same can be said for a lot of women who become mothers. I’ve heard a lot of new mothers say stuff like ‘now i know how it feels to be a true woman’ etc. I can understand how someone could personally think motherhood instills a sense of womanliness to their character they did not have before; but I think a lot of females think giving birth automatically makes them applicable for sainthood.

    • August 12, 2015 - Reply

      @vintage3000

      Girl the shade that gets thrown at us childless set. Don’t try to tell me my life doesn’t have a purpose cause I’m not knee deep in dirty diapers and Enfamil.

      • August 12, 2015 - Reply

        @MzzPeaches

        lol-word. And I don’t think men do this–can you imagine guys telling each other ‘bruh you haven’t lived until you get up 3am to take care of a teething baby’–or ‘now i know what being a man is’. For them MAKING the baby makes them the man, not years of cleaning up.

        • August 14, 2015 - Reply

          @vintage3000

          actually, a couple of my male coworkers have been getting on my nerves w/this exact scenario. new parents are the worst regardless of gender. these dudes have just as many pics on their phones, stories about their 3 yr old cuddling w/them, etc. i can’t take it. & so far it lasts at least thru age 4 or 5. & the worst thing about dads doing it is that i think a lot of women give them extra attention for gushing over their kids like it’s more special when a man is all into his kids than when a woman is, so when they start telling me their stories, they stand there waiting for me to coo & swoon, but all i feel is annoyed. i’m hoping it starts to fade before their kids get to double digits. nothing makes me wanna poke holes in my skin more than sitting thru stories of “the cutest thing” somebody’s child did.

          • August 18, 2015 - Reply

            @Me

            LOL @ you wanting to poke holes in your skin when that mess starts up in your office!

            I worked with a young, very good looking guy who had a daughter with his gf when they were around 15. So he was in his mid-20’s with a pre-teen daughter. He told me once whenever he brought her out as a baby to the park, shopping, etc. he was swarmed with smiling, gushing women of all ages who praised him, wanted to help, etc.

            • August 18, 2015 - Reply

              @Vintage

              just happened again today. not only my co-workers, but our corporate boss did the same thing in a meeting this afternoon. so glad to be on the way home. i’ll be happy when someone institutes a no home life convo at work rule.

        • August 18, 2015 - Reply

          @vintage3000

          Exactly ^5.

      • August 12, 2015 - Reply

        @MzzPeaches

        So many women I know now define their existence by being a wife or a mother. It’s #Mrs.So&so #so&so’smommy.

      • August 13, 2015 - Reply

        @MzzPeaches

        I get called selfish…a lot…from other women. NEVER from the men. LOL.

        • August 14, 2015 - Reply

          @paintgurl40

          that’s true. dudes are more likely to tell me it’s ok to wait, while women are the ones busy trying to get me into a gown & some stirrups asap.

        • August 18, 2015 - Reply

          @paintgurl40

          Yes the criticism comes from mothers who call childless women selfish and not being a ‘real’ women especially the women who have child(ren) by men who don’t help them emotionally or financially with the child(ren).

          • August 19, 2015 - Reply

            @Ajavee

            You know what? Those are the main ones I hear that from, single moms. One had the nerve to tell me that, right after she told me about her 2 year old nephew got mad at his mom and flushed the money she had sitting on her dresser down the toilet. THE RENT MONEY got flushed down the toilet!

            • August 19, 2015 - Reply

              @paintgurl40

              What? Oh my goodness.

      • August 18, 2015 - Reply

        @MzzPeaches

        MzzPeaches as a childless woman I definitely understand . I am not suppose to be tired according to those same group of people because I do not have children

    • August 12, 2015 - Reply

      @vintage3000

      OMG YES! I mean God forbids if you are child-free woman and you have an opinion (even if it is a good opinion) on babies and motherhood some people would treat you how a professor treats Wikipedia. I don’t get it, yes I get not having firsthand experience with pregnancy, birthing and raising a child, but you don’t have to birthed 10 babies to be knowledgeable on the subject or have an opinion on it. I know a lot of mothers who struggle and the first thing I say is ‘Girl, give me that baby…’ and I am no where near entering the realms of motherhood. Being a wife and a mother are wonderful but like you said it doesn’t mean you have the key to life or so advance than those who aren’t.

    • August 13, 2015 - Reply

      @vintage3000

      Oh my gosh, yes! Have you heard the song, ‘Pregnant Women are Smug’? People everywhere else get down to the business of parenting without creating the Cult of the Mother wherein you constantly diminish women who ‘don’t know what love is’. I hope you know what a dial tone is because I’m out.

      • August 18, 2015 - Reply

        @Jo 'Mama' Besser

        LOL–yes don’t you love the ‘you don’t know what love is until you hold your baby’s hand’–blah. Sometimes i want to say ‘you don’t know what birth control is until you hear a tyke having a temper tantrum’

  3. August 12, 2015 - Reply

    Trying to see the positive side of the message, I think it speaks to those who want to have a mate who is not blinded by sexual desire. Too many women think that they have to have sex in order to keep someone. The kind of ‘ring’ post lets them know that its okay to leave sex out of the equation, while they focus on compatibility, support and love. It can certainly help weed out the people who aren’t really there for the long-haul.

    • August 12, 2015 - Reply

      @Coil del Rey

      It’s not the ONLY thing, but it is extremely important. It’s the factor that distinguishes a marriage from a mere BFF or a roommate. When it’s good, it’s a small part of a great relationship. When it’s bad it’s a HUGE part of a weak, crumbling one.

  4. August 12, 2015 - Reply

    I’ve seen people have “fairy tale” engagements and weddings for some to end in divorce. I wonder if these people are focusing on what really goes into building a marriage instead of how dope their engagement parties/weddings will be?

    • August 12, 2015 - Reply

      @MzzPeaches

      re: fairy tales, Remember Star Jones crowing about her wedding plans?

      Another one of my steady married couple friends are very unconventional–they have their wedding rings tattooed on their fingers. I wouldn’t go that far, I would want a real ring-lol. But they say the tattoos represent their commitment to each other

      • August 12, 2015 - Reply

        @vintage3000

        Oh yes, I remember that mess lol

      • August 12, 2015 - Reply

        @vintage3000

        C’mon now, Al Reynolds. Chile….

        • August 12, 2015 - Reply

          @BillipPhailey

          That infamous photo of Al wearing his hair in box braids told that whole story, didn’t it. Poor Star, that is a good example of an otherwise very smart woman falling for the fairytale wedding hype.

          • August 12, 2015 - Reply

            @vintage3000

            Not box braids! LOLOL!

            • August 12, 2015 - Reply

              @Noirluv45

              box braids pulled back in a ponytail and draped over his shoulder, Noirluv. And to be fair I have also allowed myself to be blinded by a man’s attentions, just in a different way. A man with hair longer than mine is a no-no lol

              • August 13, 2015 - Reply

                @vintage3000

                LOLOL!!!! Girl, please say it ain’t so. I’ve got to see that picture.

                Hey, haven’t we all been blinded before? Girl, I know I have. LOL @ a man’s hair being longer than yours. He’ll probably be in the mirror more than you.

          • August 16, 2015 - Reply

            @vintage3000

            According to NY tea, he wasn’t even in the closet. I remember her on Larry King tombout, “our marriage is a SPIRITUAL marriage”. This is why you should kick the tires before buying the car.

            • August 17, 2015 - Reply

              @BillipPhailey

              Lol, it’s one thing if you know that you are spiritually in tune with the other person. Another if you have yet to see if he even likes women or one is ashamed to admit (or in denial) whether he even wants to touch one. I agree…test drive before buying. You can tell a whole lot about a man by how he is in the bedroom.

        • August 12, 2015 - Reply

          @BillipPhailey

          LOLOL!

      • August 13, 2015 - Reply

        @vintage3000

        Remember Sherri Shepard? Hahaha

        • August 13, 2015 - Reply

          @paintgurl40

          And Phaedra Parks single-shaming Kenya?! Look who husband got sent upstate for 8 years and who is now divorced and a single mother?! I tell everybody, karma is real.

          • August 16, 2015 - Reply

            @La Bella Bre'

            That’s what she gets for breeding with a skin tone…

            • August 17, 2015 - Reply

              @BillipPhailey

              Ain’t it? She thought she had her a pretty light thing for life. They were married for a hot 5 years or so…sad. And she is left holding the bag.

  5. August 12, 2015 - Reply

    This is an excellent article. I think it all boils down to insecurity. If you can’t talk about your life without putting someone else down there is something wrong.

  6. August 12, 2015 - Reply

    There’s nothing like sexual incompatibility to destroy a marriage. That’s why most people don’t go the abstinence route. Someone with this mentality will put up with so much for the sake of images and has more skeletons than a cemetery.

    True happiness doesn’t require jabs at anyone.

    • August 12, 2015 - Reply

      @BillipPhailey

      But you know what? People might not be sexually compatible right away, but the adventure of it is learning the other’s likes and dislikes. There are books and videos that can assist people with their sexual incompatibility. People can experiment and communicate, and if they know what they like, they can instruct their partner to obliges them.

    • August 13, 2015 - Reply

      @BillipPhailey

      Yes indeed! Part of this idea that one must be abstinent before marriage comes from the Catholic church. Fornication had zero to do with sex before marriage. Fornication is a word from the Bible meaning having sex with prostitutes under a fornice outside the Temple in Jerusalem. Sexual incompatibility is the fastest way to end up in divorce court. So I’m sic of the false teaching from the churches and also the crap from females who think they are something hot just because they end up married having not had sex until they are wed.

      If that is what one prefers to do…wait until married, then fine. But do not dictate what another person must do or should do. Even the Bible says, if the two burn (with lust) they should marry. It says no where in the Bible that a man should not touch a woman and vice versa before marriage. If he decided to, then she should become his wife, according to the Bible, but that again is very much misconstrued in today’s sosciety. I wish people would stop single-shaming and trying to shame couples who choose to be intimate before marriage. I had to rip this old woman a new one over her ranting and raving about children out of wedlock and “fornication.” I told her I bet she f***** her husband before she married him and if she didn’t, how many women she could honestly say didn’t before married in her family. No response, lol.

    • August 14, 2015 - Reply

      @BillipPhailey

      omg i had a friend who did this for a bf. she was a virgin for so long that when she finally gave it up, she assumed that must mean it’s love… nevermind the fact that dude was the biggest utter loser ever & she knew it from jump. but this idea that you can only give it up to one man had her stuck on stupid long enough to live thru dv & a whole host of other crap no woman should put up with. folks need to quit idolizing their genitals. a man’s penis ain’t magic & a woman’s vagina is not some car that loses value once you take it off the lot.

  7. August 12, 2015 - Reply

    “In other words, miss I’ve-been-engaged-for-two-seconds, you ain’t got the answers.”

    That comment sums it up. One’s existence should not be define just by marriage our motherhood. Everyone has a purpose on this earth.

  8. August 12, 2015 - Reply

    I LOVE this post. My girlfriend and I were just talking about this very same thing this weekend. As someone whose been married before, I have to say that I never did this but I had single friends who were obsessed with being married because they assumed that my marriage was so wonderful. I had to tell them that everything that glitters is not gold and the man God has for you is just for you. I get what the woman is trying to say, but you just put down every woman who doesn’t have a ring or any woman that has slept with a man prior to marriage. That is quite judgmental. It takes A LOT to make a marriage work and I think throwing shade at your single friend’s is a clear indication that you will have no one to help you when things get tough or celebrate and encourage your marriage.

  9. August 12, 2015 - Reply

    This is a great article, especially the last paragraph. I think if you have to brag, chastise or preach on something that doesn’t need to be explained says more about you and your situation than others. Personally, I never viewed marriage or a marriage proposal as big accomplishments (don’t get me wrong I think it is a very notable event in one’s life that should be celebrated) regardless of what the statistics says these days. I always viewed marriage and finding lasting love as a bonus in life. I think some people these days view “getting the ring” as a major accomplishment or think it makes them better than other women when that should not be the case. Whether you are a Mrs. or not should not define your life nor does it starts your life. Furthermore, I am going to need people to understand that marriage or relationships is not a one size fits all guideline. How you and your partner came to be together and how y’all progress to marriage does not automatically translate for someone else relationship. There are plenty of people who did it the “right way” and are divorce or can’t stand their significant other and people who did it the “wrong way” that are still married and adore each other…which means it all depends on the people in the relationship and how committed they are to each other to making it work.

    • August 12, 2015 - Reply

      @binks

      Well said! You are so right about women believing that getting a ring is a major accomplishment. I think that’s why you see so many couples getting engaged and never progressing to marriage or taking years to get married. People view the ring as the end game rather than the start of a new phase in life. The engagement doesn’t give you much to brag about or offer advice on because you haven’t been married yet.

    • August 14, 2015 - Reply

      @binks

      the best advice i ever heard someone give when they were asked how they made a marriage last for so long came from a little old lady who said “luck”. everybody in the room went silent b/c even the folks who ask that question always expect some fountain of youth type explanation that they can run out and replicate, but when they heard “luck” it was like their whole world shattered. homegirl said, there’s no secret potion or set of things that you can do to guarantee anything in life, including marriage. so folks need to quit trying to recreate what other folks have & just enjoy what they got going on in their own lives.

  10. August 13, 2015 - Reply

    People who brag about their engagements and rings are insecure, but so are the people who are upset by other people bragging about their engagements and rings. #shrug

  11. August 13, 2015 - Reply

    I’m happy for her engagement. I think some of the ladies in the comments are right. Be humble when good things happen to you. In my opinion, I’m not into all the pomp and circumstance of engagements and weddings. It’s a way for people to spend way too much money to impress people that at the end of the day, don’t even matter in the marriage. It’s only about the husband and wife. Plus when things go horribly wrong, it’s very humiliating to eat crow in front of the same friends that you shitted on in the past.

  12. August 13, 2015 - Reply

    I’m happy for her engagement but getting engaged is one thing, getting married is a whole different story, and STAYING happily married is a totally different league. Don’t shade someone else about what you didn’t do in order to get a ring. Everybody doesn’t believe in abstinence. On one hand it’s cool because you don’t confuse good sex with good love. If he turns out to be a dog, you can walk away with your pride intact. On the other hand, you HAVE to test drive the car before you buy it. Nobody wants to be stuck with a lemon.

    Plus nobody knows what the future holds. It’s really humiliating to eat crow in front of the same friends you shitted on in the past all because you got married before they did.

  13. August 13, 2015 - Reply

    Soooo, what used to be Dear Diary entries are now Social Media Broadcasts???

  14. August 13, 2015 - Reply

    I always see it like this–just because you have an engagement ring DOES NOT mean you will marry this man. And, if you do, it doesn’t guarantee you won’t be divorced in 2 years. I’m a realist. Things change quickly and I’m tired of the single-shaming too, particularly amongst the Black church community. It’s as if one who isn’t married is somehow “less than” or not spiritually equipped. Yet, I remember Paul stating that he would spare us from marriage if he could. It ain’t all its cracked up to be, but I have not seen a single church pastor publicly read that verse. Instead, they shame and push women into marriage, and look down upon them if they are not married.

    Humility is best on all accounts because he can always ask for that ring back, boo boo! Instead of doting so much on a ring, get your spirit and personality in order, and study up on how to be a good wife, and a good, virtuous woman. Being a person who considers others before arrogantly shouting their accomplishments from the rooftops would be a start. I’m all for celebrating love, but some of these women take these engagement announcements way too far. And I’ve been engaged twice before to men I never opened my legs for, so this is not some monumental accomplishment which I felt this woman acted like it was.

    I have a SO, and if we take it there, we do, and I’m pretty sure we will because we have both stated that we want to spend our lives with each other. However, I would never go so far as to make another woman feel “little” over a damn ring or a piece of paper. I know how it feels to have women make you feel subpar, but these women typically have husbands who are very much dissatisfied with them, and who would readily leave given the chance. Don’t toot your horn too loudly. Karma always takes care of those who do.

  15. August 14, 2015 - Reply

    A ring isn’t an accomplishment. Being together for years (or forever) and treating each other right is. You can do that with or without a ring or even getting married (because you can be happy by yourself). It used to be that the people bragging about their marriage and doling out advice were people who had been together for 30+ years and were having anniversary parties. There’s nothing wrong with being happy with where you are in your relationship (engaged, etc.), but to have that “I have arrived” attitude when you haven’t even said ‘I do’ is just stupid.

  16. August 21, 2015 - Reply

    “In other words, miss I’ve-been-engaged-for-two-seconds, you ain’t got the answers”.

    LOL!!! Well, Congrats to her….it can be difficult to find decent, compatible men who are willing to be celibate.

  17. November 20, 2015 - Reply

    Timely article! I just made these same comments on a FB. Stop worrying about how much the man spends on the ring. Focus on about being a wife and the marriage. The ring is inconsequential.

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