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Look, We'll Marry You, But You Have to Ask Gothamist First

By Margaret Lyons in News on Jul 12, 2004 9:57PM

2004_07_12.wiser.jpgDear Paige Wiser,

We were a little confused by your column today. We didn’t realize that you’re a Puritan! That’s so weird, because here we are, a more or less enlightened website, and we think it’s, oh what’s the word, totally acceptable when women make more money than their mates.

We can respect your need to rail on Britney Spears—but picking buying her own engagement ring over a nip shot (not OK at work probably) or a sexcapade seems petty. (Thank god Uncle G is back from vacay.) Is this really a big deal? What’s next, women getting equal pay for equal work? Or being financially viable citizens all by themselves? Perish the thought.

2004_07_12.ring.jpgWe understand that “Officially, the Sun-Times cannot endorse women buying their own engagement rings,” which is a really big deal, and we appreciate you putting it in print. But what we're a little more confused about is your “dating and relationships expert.” We're sure she’s qualified and all, and no, we haven’t developed an action marketing plan for ourselves, but jeeze louise. According to your article,

[Gail Price] says she's never heard of [women buying their own rings].
"It just seems so money-centered," Prince says. "The man buying the engagement ring is such a part of the wooing process, the courting dance. I think that women really feel this is an opportunity for men to declare their love."

Hubbawhat? We'd never call ourselves “dating and relationships experts” (“awkward encounters at a bar experts” is a different story, though) but we've heard of women buying their own engagement rings. We've also heard of women asking men out on dates, of women asking men to marry them, of women not being “given away” at their weddings, and of women keeping their last names. No women have to or do these, but we don’t think we should be telling people that their marriages will fail if they do.

You go on to quote Prince, who adds “When women buy the ring, ‘It says that I have to have a gorgeous stone on my hand for me to feel happy with myself...So if you can't afford it, I'll go out and do it.’” Isn’t it possible that it says, “I’m really rich and want to spend money on something I plan to wear every day for the rest of my life, and I’m lucky not only to be wealthy enough to do that but also to be engaged to a guy who’s progressive enough not to care that I paid for it”? We think it might say that, too. Also, Gail, news flash on how America works: it's not that in order to be happy you have to have stuff, but having stuff does make lots of people happy, or happier, or at least momentarily satisfied.

In closing, who wears tiaras? One member of Chicagoist wore one to prom as a joke (guess who), but when buying an engagement ring, for yourself or anyone else, do you really need to pay attention to its matching tiara? Tiaras are sacred symbols of love, not tokens of consumerism. It shouldn’t matter if they match or not.