Some people I know recently got engaged. Seriously, I’m happy for them. I like them both separately, and I like them together, which is rare enough.
Last weekend I learned all the details: the purchasing of the ring, the hiding of the ring, the nightmares and yearning for the ring, and yes, even the hunt for the ring. Apparently, waiting for such a thing is tortuous for women who care about that sort of thing. The gals gathered round looking at the ring and sympathizing with the torture of waiting, knowing the ring was somewhere in the house. I had a hard time pretending I ‘got it’. Having nightmares, wondering if he really cared or if it would ever happen seemed silly, even to a sometimes emotionally fragile woman like myself.
The guy stood by, trying not to be too unsympathetic, but you could tell was inwardly sighing. It gave me cause to be forthcoming.
“Look, maybe this is because I’m not very girly, but I don’t get why it was such torture. You know he bought it- you picked it out. You guys have been living with each other for how long? I mean, you know he cares. It’s just a material possession, it’s about what it symbolizes and what you already have.”
I got a “thank you” from the guy and a “you don’t get it” vibe from the gals. And maybe I don’t. It’s not to say I get men much either.
I had nightmares of my own that night, and not about rings. The whole subject threw something nasty into my subconcious maybe, or it’s just time for me to have nightmares again. I stopped giving serious cerdence to any theories concerning why I dream the way I do long ago. But, yes, some of the nightmares have been about my own past relationships.
The work week progressed and I found myself talking with someone who hadn’t heard of the engagement. It brought up the subject of people we know who are in or out of relationships. Some of the most awesome guys I know right are single, after all, and that’s sort of weird to me. We’re both single and I explained my own recent history and he his, though he gave no explanation circumstances of the last breakup- awhile ago. I didn’t want to press him either. At our age, it seems many of us have our own scars and reasons to be wary of letting people that close. I have my share, and though I’m not shy to share, you never know how fresh it might actually still be for some people.
I also know some of us don’t bear the same scars. This guy of this recently engaged couple admits this has been his first long term relationship ever.
Most people I know are well beyond that. I spoke to a long time friend on the subject of how we’d become so jaded. It used to be easy belief and naivety, and now it’s a blunt, “What’s this guy’s motivation?”. She is standing at a crossroads right now wondering whether to go down the path of possibly pursuing a perhaps impossible relationship with a guy in another country. She is having a hard time dealing with the logical worries that accompany that, and yet how jaded can we be if she is finding herself meandering down that path despite the odds?
I guess we have to try. We live to live.
I wondered why the guy in the engaged couple wasn’t so forthcoming with announcing his engagement. It seemed word had finally finished spreading today, and suddenly I understand with the barrage of shit he was given by guys he knows. All the guy questions on top of the shit given were as silly as the women’s discussion. A lot of guys at our age apparently don’t know how the modern U.S. Judeo-Christian tradition of engagement and marriage works. It was pretty amusing listening to said engaged friend try to field these questions and comments.
“So, where’s your ring?”
“What? The woman eventually gets two rings!?”
“Do you get two rings too?”
“Do they wear both rings? Or do they stop wearing the engagement one after marrying. That seems a waste if they do.”
“Which is more expensive, the wedding one or the engagement one?”
“So, wait, there’s two rings?”
“Do they wear them both on the same hand?”
“So, how long do you have until you have to get married now?”
“How can you get engaged without knowing when you’re getting married? Aren’t you supposed to know that beforehand?”
“Well, I guess ring buying is better than dowry.”
“Wait, doesn’t the woman’s dad give dowry to the man’s dad?”
“I think it’s different in different cultures?”
“How do you know which ring to get?”
“If she helped pick it out, what’s the point of proposing and giving the ring?”
“Yeah, why did she want it so bad?”
“So… wait, there are two rings?”
“Dude, where’s your ring? Why don’t you wear one yet?”
“Isn’t that something, a woman gets two rings? And they want equal rights too, but keep the perks.”
“So, who gets to keep the ring if you- I mean some other couple, not you- were to split up?”
“Dude, it better be the guy. That’s not fair.”
So, meanwhile, both the women and the men obsess about the ring. I am left to wonder about relationships, people, circumstances, trust, and chance. I have nightmares about past attempts and try not to obsess too much about the strength and fragility of our connections to those around us. Even so, it’s a subject I think about a lot, and I’m afraid it guides me too often when think of those around me, the chances, and the circumstances.
I guess we’re here to try. We’re here to live.