HER DIAMOND: YOKE'S ON YOU
by Marc H. Rudov
February 22, 2009
Obsession with Carats
Nothing speaks subjugation like a man on bended knee, sliding a diamond engagement ring on the finger of his new fiancée. Yet, countless men engage in this emasculating, enslaving ritual every day.
When asked why he felt compelled to prostrate himself while pledging to his “better half” a life of devotion, the typical man will utter: respect. Actually, he lowered himself so that she could secure a yoke around his neck.
Respect. Powerful word, isn’t it? I have three questions: How can a man respect a woman he’s just purchased? How can he respect himself after such a transaction? And, how can she respect him? If you believe most relationships are based on mutual respect, you’re on crack.
About half of engagements never lead to marriage. At least half of men and women cheat on each other. Half of marriages end in divorce, more than 70% of which are filed by wives. And, according to Woman’s Day magazine, more than 80% of married women say they either probably or definitely wouldn’t marry their husbands again.
A friend of mine told me, just yesterday, that he and his wife recently had dined with a woman expecting to receive a “huge” engagement ring. When they questioned her obsession with carats, she replied: “A big ring proves how much he loves me.” My friend’s wife told the misguided merchant maureen that she’s nuts. Yes, she is nuts … but not alone: most people knowingly live the charade of equating heart to diamond, and that’s why American men spend $8B+ every year robotically buying both.
Since the ninth century, the engagement ring has symbolized the groom’s wealth and ability to care for a wife. Has anything changed, despite that 60% of college graduates, in 2009, are women?
Today, a man is expected to spend three months’ salary on this symbol, which, legally, signifies a business proposition — a formal agreement to marry, not a romantic union. Accordingly, the legal consequences of breaking an engagement, which vary by state, directly affect the disposition of said symbol when the betrothed part company.
Nevertheless, in our materialistic, shallow culture, the typical woman, especially in the presence of her competitive girlfriends, basks in the delusion that her diamond is about status, generosity, self-worth, love, and fidelity. And, if the ring her man buys isn’t the “right” size, her girlfriends will label him cheap. Let’s face it: her diamond is nothing more than his proof of purchase; the bigger the ring, the more proof he purchased her.
This past week, I appeared on The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet. My sparring partner, Dr. Debbie Magids, and I debated two topics: the double standard in the coverage of domestic violence between singers Rihanna and Chris Brown, and engagement rings for men. These two topics couldn’t have been more ironically juxtaposed.
There is outrage across the country over seeing photos of the bruised Rihanna. Now, we don’t know all the details, but most people don’t care about the details and automatically assume that Brown is a criminal — because he’s a man.
Here’s the double standard: women cause 70% of domestic violence but men get arrested 95% of the time. I explained to the TV studio audience that, on a recent radio interview, the host announced that he would boycott Brown’s music. I asked him if he would boycott Rihanna’s music if she had sent Brown to the hospital. His outrageous reply: “I’m not sure. When a woman hits a man, he probably deserved it.” The audience, mostly women, erupted into cheers and applause, demonstrating their visceral hatred of men.
When Debbie and I debated engagement rings for men — one of the silliest ideas I’ve ever heard — I asked the audience how many of them would have married their husbands without engagement rings; almost all clapped and/or raised their hands. I then asked how many of them would have spent three months of their salaries on engagement rings for men; same reaction. Laughable. Dr. Debbie even accused me of reducing love to a transaction. Really? How naïve of me. Her comment was funnier than anything on Comedy Central: men have been riding the Estrogen Express since the ticket window opened for business.
There’s no evidence on Earth, now or ever, that women would behave as those in this studio audience claimed they would. Also, if women viscerally hate men so much, as proven by their “slapped-dudes-deserved-it” attitudes, why would they contradict themselves by vowing to marry such vile creatures — especially without diamonds in exchange — while also pledging to cough up big chunks of salary for male engagement rings? Answer: hypocrisy. Most women don’t marry for love, as the statistics above prove, and as I explained in “How Real Is Her Love?”
The NoNonsense Bottom Line
Life between men and women is filled with transactions — from the first date to engagement to the wedding to marriage and through (and after) divorce. Why? Because both parties want it that way.
What are the results? Disastrous. Are people willing to change? No, they choose to live with failure. They cling to antiquated customs like wining/dining, pedestals, courting, Valentine’s Day, engagement rings, and wife/mom is everything — and fail.
The regular NFL season is 16 games long. How many seasons would the owner of a team permit his head coach to compile a record of eight wins, eight losses (i.e., 50% failure)? Maybe two. After that, the owner will can and replace the head coach. To the new coach, the owner will issue this warning: If you don’t deliver better results than the last guy, you’re ass is out of here!
Failure is unacceptable in football and in every business. Yet, in people’s personal lives, failure is not only acceptable, it’s predictable. And, they can’t get enough of it. Go figure.
If your fiancée won’t marry you without a diamond, or will marry you without one but will make your life an eternal hell because of it, the basis of your relationship is transparently mercenary. So, knowing this, if you proceed anyway, the yoke’s on you.