This cute little story has “parts,” and by parts I mean a beginning, middle and an end. Just like a real story. Rest assured, when the end happens it will indeed be exciting and full of hilarity or pain, likely pain.
Twenty-years-and-some-months ago I married my wife because masturbation had begun to lose its charm and I was tired of eating nothing but bologna sandwiches. I knew our marriage was off to a good start when both she and I considered wedding bands an unnecessary expense. We agreed to not start our marriage off with a few thousand dollars in credit-card debt and said, “Fuck you, meaningless gesture!”
That’s how I saw it, at least. The wedding ring means literally nothing. Nada. Zilch. It’s a symbol, sure, but let’s be honest, when you boil it down, most symbolic things are pointless. To a newly married couple the wedding bands, in my mind, are pointless.
Thus, in the last two decades we never wore rings EVER because we never got them.
Does anyone see where this is going?
At the urging of my bride’s friend and daughter, I bought Dagmar a diamond-wedding ring for Valentine’s Day.
Shopping for diamonds:
As mentioned in the “prologue,” (wow, this is just like “Lord of the Rings,” isn’t it?!) it was her friend who finally talked me into spending my hard-earned money on the exploitation of a fourth-grader somewhere in Africa. I asked her if it was appropriate to inquire of the (blood?) diamond vendor person how many people were wronged in the process of unearthing the worthless chunk of carbon. She was not amused. I suggested that instead of carats, diamonds should be valued in lives – like, a five-life rock would be the equivalent of 2-carats. A 500-life rock, the Hope Diamond. She was still not amused.
I was even less amused when I Googled diamonds to discover their actual, no-shit value is estimated to be, “who the fuck knows,” because DeBeers ruthlessly controls the market or something. (If you Google this you’re forced to deal with words like “fungible,” so I recommend against it.) I also learned its common practice to swap real diamonds with synthetic diamonds and no one ever knows. In my opinion, when you place value on something that’s bullshit it becomes much less important if it’s the natural bullshit or manufactured bullshit. So again, I think diamonds should be valued by their human cost. Did three orphans die in a pit mine in Africa for the diamond? That’s actual value.
This argument with the friend led to the following response. “Shut up, they’re pretty okay?” It’s hard to top that really, so let’s go buy a diamond.
To justify my spending oodles of cash on a worthless (real or fake) bit of carbon, I recalled reading somewhere that the price of goods and services are reflected in what the market is willing to pay for said goods and services. In this case, my willingness to pay is dependent upon how willing I am to make this problem go away? The “problem,” in this case, is diamond shopping. That shit is BORING.
I’m a guy, so to me bigger is better, just like my penis. I thought we’d go into the store, find the biggest diamond my wallet would allow and BAM, I’m done and guzzling beer 20 minutes later. Not so. Dagmar’s friend explained to me that a simple band with a sizable rock looked like a “starter” ring. Something a new bride would have, I was told. I was baffled, honestly baffled.
Turns out the ring the girl gets on her wedding day likely isn’t the ring she’s wearing 20 years later. See, they’re like Pokémon cards and the ladies are trading that shit up every day. Should my wife take it in, she gets the full cost of the ring deducted from her new purchase. I asked if the reverse was true: Could she trade down and walk out with some cash? Seems this question has never been raised and I was met with blank stares.
Buying the Diamond:
This part is very short. I cried, a lot. I cried when I swiped my credit card. I cried when I signed the receipt. I cried on the way out of the store. My wife’s friend cried too, but it was from laughing ’cause she’s evil.
I planned on presenting the ring on Valentine’s Day after work because my wife leaves the house at 6:30 a.m. and I’m far too lazy to get my ass out of bed at that ungodly hour. But foiling my plan, at about 2 p.m. my internet-detective wife phones me about a large charge on the credit card. Tap dancing ensued.
Physical violence was threatened, but eventually I talked her into unloading the gun.
“Honey just trust me,” I told her. All would be okay.
Presenting the diamond:
When my wife finally pulled into the driveway that night I admit I was actually fucking nervous. The five-beer bracer I drank was helping, sure, but still I was about to violate a central tenant of our relationship. For 20 years we’ve had no use for wedding rings, and while I thought she was cool with that, deep down inside of me there was always that nagging doubt. Did she secretly want one? Were her daughter and friend correct? Fuck, this is important. If she really wants one, I need to give her the ring in an important way. Crap, I need a beer!
She came inside the house and I did the traditional rose presentation because nothing says I love you like a gift that will be dead in a week.
Then I handed her a card and a gift bag. She read the card, removed the tissue paper from the bag, extracted the little ring box and — told me I was fucking retarded. I laughed my dick off.
I honestly don’t remember the exact conversation, but it boils down to me demanding reassurances that she doesn’t value child exploitation or meaningless symbolism, and her reassuring me that, yes, even 20-years later, she still does not approve of child exploitation or find meaning in meaningless symbols. She didn’t want or need the ring.
Holy fuck! Returning diamonds is a pain in the ass. I concocted some half-assed funny story I could tell the clerk about proposing to the love of my life last night and being rejected. I plotted to make it more believable by asking where the razor blades were kept and if they had a do-it-yourself last will and testament kit handy. But it was the same lady who sold me the diamond.
“She didn’t want it did she,” she asked.
“Nope, we got a good laugh out of it though,” I replied.
“I had a feeling you were right all along,” she said.