Yes, you read that correctly. We’re talking about engagement rings for men. Think it’s a crazy fad? Read on to hear the arguments from both sides.
The trend of giving an engagement ring dates back to 1477 when Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave a diamond ring to his bride-to-be, Mary of Burgundy. It remained a tradition mainly for those of nobility and aristocracy (due to the price of precious metals, diamonds, and other gemstones). In modern times, the sparkle of a diamond (or other stones depending on taste) has become a symbol of a man’s love for and commitment to a woman in nearly every country. The question we’re asking is this: Why does this symbolic ring exchange only go one way?
How important men engagement rings are?
There are a few different angles to this idea. The first is a delightfully feminist approach. In our politically correct and progressive world, it seems somewhat old school for the woman to wear a ring during an engagement but not the man. Why is the husband-to-be able to appear ‘single’ while his fiancé is clearly ‘taken’? It is almost as though the ring is branding only one half of the partnership. Research into what millennials (the largest engagement ring market currently) shows that those who are pro-engagement rings are drawn to a more egalitarian two-way street. It is simply to do with being equal; there is some imbedded patriarchy in any other system.
Most would agree that in a social setting (i.e. a bar) the subtle glance towards someone’s left hand can provide you a lot of information. When a man (or woman) is in fact taken but doesn’t wear a ring, it adds an element of potential confusion. Intentional or not.
Why some men do not wear engagement rings?
Wedding rings for men is a somewhat recent tradition. Before 1950 it was very uncommon for a man to wear a ring. These days it is much more common although many men still choose not to wear a ring. Labour-intensive jobs and exposure to elements is often cited as a reason, although it could stem back to maintaining the elusive bachelor freedom.
A good reason for wearing an engagement ring
The man-gagement ring doesn’t need to be a feminist statement. It can simply be a way to recognize that there are two people in the relationship who love each so much that they want to show it. Both people should have an opportunity to show display that they love and are loved. In addition, same-sex marriage has played a big role in the man-gagement ring. When it’s two men or women getting engaged, the idea of an engagement ring ‘giver’ and a ‘receiver’ is null and void.
A study done a few years back found that roughly 5% of men sport an engagement ring prior to tying the knot. That number seems to be rising as millennials push the equality agenda. Male style standards have led to engagement rings that are typically less expensive than a woman’s but more intricate or fancy than a typical man’s wedding ring. These engagement rings tend to simple gold, silver or platinum, sometimes with understated diamonds or a single precious stone. There is no one acceptable style of engagement ring for guys, so why not try a few on and see if it’s something you’re into!