Magical bling bling

So I’ve noticed that the majority of conversations when you get engaged go like this:

Person X:  Hey, how was your break?

Me:  Really good, actually.  I got engaged.  *smile and coy blush*

Person X: Oh my god, congratulations!  (If I know them well enough, hug)  Let me see the ring!

Seriously, everyone asks to see the ring.  This strikes me as oddly acquisitive.  I mean, I love my ring (more on that in a minute) but I’m much happier to have the fiance. It just seems like an odd tradition to go flashing jewelry around. Besides which, I don’t really see the point of having a giant rock on my finger.  Years ago, I read an article in Glamour from the guy’s point of view, and the columnists was writing about how he found huge rocks a waste of money, and he would rather have a down payment on a beach house.  I read that and thought–I would like to have a beach house too!  At the same time though, I definitely didn’t want a ring from Wal-Mart either.  My family thought I was being a snob, but honestly, if you can pay for an engagement ring along with some beef jerky and hemherroid cream, then that officially kills romance.  I wanted my ring to have a story.

My ring is extremely special.  Every time I look at my left hand, it makes me smile–and not just a little smile either, a big, goofy grin.  It’s very subtle, though, and not very showy.  I know a woman at work who has a glacier on her finger, the stereotype of engagement rings, and therefore what I imagine people are expecting to see.  Several people have looked at my ring and go “Oh…that’s…pretty.”  At which point I usually want to tell them to fuck off, I didn’t get in this for jewelry, but instead I patiently/ happily explain the story of the ring, which is awesome.

Leading up to Christmas, the (then) bf told me in no uncertain terms not to expect a ring.  He even told me he was buying me a small present, but I should not get excited about it, because it’s not what I think it is.  I believed him, but then thought it over and wondered.  Maybe he was fooling me?  But maybe not.  But he likes to tease…  Finally Rooty, our official matchmaker, decided to do some investigating, and she came back with a report that he is very traditional, that he doesn’t believe in proposing until you’ve known each other a year.  That put a proposal back to April at the earliest, or if he was going with first physical contact, over the summer.  I admit to a little sweep of disappointment at this thought.  But I told myself that I would enjoy his visit, that a proposal would come when it came and it was more important to enjoy my time with him.  I was glad I found out early so I could get my disappointment out of the way.

He really wasn’t planning to propose.  While he was thinking about it, and planning when and how–one romantic idea was that when I visited him in February, he would book a seat on the flight back and show up next to me and pop the question.  But in the end, he was driving down to Heathrow on Christmas Day and he wondered to himself, “If I know I’m going to do this, why put it off?”  He decided that it seemed silly to delay happiness for some randomly prescribed reason.  So when he arrived at the airport, he went to the Tiffany’s in Terminal 3 and bought a ring.

With this story, my ring could have come out of a Cracker Jack box and I would still think it gorgeous.  But there are a lot of reasons to love my ring:

  • It’s subtly beautiful.  It’s got a diamond inset, so it’s not a flashy solitaire, but the diamond is gorgeous–it’s always catching the light in a hundred different ways.  I totally get mesmerized by it.
  • It’s really comfortable.  It never scratches me and it fits just right, therefore I never have to take it off.  I find the perfect fit rather symbolic for the marriage.
  • Speaking of symbolism, it’s from the airport.  I call it my duty free ring, and the fiance jokes that he got 300 cigarettes and two bottles of Jack Daniels along with it.  That’s a good line, but also, I find it immensely fitting that in a long distance relationship, my engagement ring comes from the airport.
  • It’s got a really romantic story, one that I can pass down to my children and love regaling to anyone who will sit still and listen (or read–thanks!).
  • It comes from the most classic of engagement ring stores, Tiffany’s.  No denture paste bought along with the ring here.  It may be a bit snobbish of me, but I like that the store it comes from is a little special too.  And yes, I saved the box.
  • The fiance loves it.  He was so proud of picking it that it was clear he put a lot of thought into it and really cared about how it.  That I find very touching, and it makes the ring even more dear.

So all said, my ring is perfect.  Maybe that’s not immediately apparent to others, but it is to me, and that’s the only important thing.

A New Hope

So it turns out that 2011 was my last year of singledom.  I had no idea.

A year ago, at the dawn of 2011, I didn’t know the fiance existed on this planet.  Now I’m going to marry him.  The change stuns me, quite frankly, because after so many years where nothing happened, everything happened all at once, and suddenly I can legitimately buy bridal magazines and have a vested interest in Say Yes to the Dress.

I had to drop the fiance off at the airport the other night, and that sucked, but as we were sitting in JFK’s Terminal 4, we realized that we really only have three more goodbyes, and then we get to be together for always.  And when I feel lonely (or every so often just because), I look down at my left hand and squeal to myself, “I’m getting married!”

But–I am hereby making a promise to the blogiverse.  I’m never going to become what Bridget Jones would call a ‘smug married.’    I still remember that decade of singledom and how much it sucked.  Possibly the worst part was the single v. couple line, the envy I often felt, the wondering why it couldn’t be me too, or why every guy I seemed to meet was already in a relationship.  Was there a memo to pair off Noah’s Ark style and I missed it?

Last night I went out to dinner with some old friends, one of whom I hadn’t seen in awhile.  My friend Robyn asked him what was new, and made a point of saying not just in relationships.  She went on to say how much she hated that, when all people ask about is relationships, as if that’s the only newsworthy thing in a person’s life.  While that is certainly the juiciest gossip, as my friend pointed out, it is hardly the end all and be all.

So I am reminding myself that I have a life outside my engagement, and that people don’t want to talk about wedding dresses all the time.  Everyone has been really sweet whenever I do talk about it, which I really appreciate.  Still, I’m not going to forget what it was like to be single.  Those are my ‘roots’ as it were.  That decade of singledom shaped me in a lot of ways, some for the better, some for the worse.  But those years led me to here, and my engagement.

That said, I hope people also take heart from my story.  When I first got back from my whirlwind month of romance in August, I went to Robyn’s birthday party and I was talking to one of her friends who I know.  She said to me ‘you give me so much hope, that this all just happened so suddenly.’  True story!  Seriously–I was the worst single person in the world.  I moaned and cried and did very little in actuality.  I got some crushes on some dudes in deeply committed relationships.  I went on some dates with a Swede who was the worst kisser in the world and insisted on kissing me in public, and another guy who was the blandest guy in the world.  I tried eHarmony, Match.com, OK Cupid, all with almost no success.

I was seriously about to give up hope.  I started having ‘what if’ daydreams, planning what I would do if I never got married, wondering how I would cope for singledom forever and never having a family.  When other people would helpfully try to suggest that someone was out there for me, I would respond with ‘But what if he’s on the other side of the world and I never get to meet him?’

As it happens, he was on the other side of the world, but I did get to meet him.  And I would say he was well worth the wait.

So the moral of the story is–there really is someone out there.  There may not be plenty of fish in the sea, as it were (a phrase the fiance particularly reviled in his days of singledom), but if you wait and watch, you can catch your fish.  And really, all you need is one.