– for the making of life easier for chronically anxious lonely young adults:
Do you remember the media furore when it turned out Prince William wasn’t going to wear a wedding ring? If you’re not from the UK this probably passed you by completely. Anyway, for collectors of legal trivia, it is a necessary part of a British wedding ceremony for the groom to give the bride a ring; the other way round is optional, but increasingly heavily enshrined in tradition.
Conversely, a few male celebrities (Johnny Depp, I think?) have recently popped up wearing engagement rings, traditionally confined to the other side of the relationship.
I think life would be easier for people with massive neuroses about the footings on which knowing someone are started, about failing to read hints and signals, and about confirming negative stereotypes of single heterosexual men (so, like me then), if the following became normal:
- Engagement rings for both sexes. It’s just equal and progressive frankly.
- Relationship rings. These might have to be worn on a different finger, as the options for differentiation are getting booked up otherwise, and could be abandoned if and when you chose to proceed to something more formal, but would be a useful indicator on about the same level as listing yourself as ‘in a relationship’ on Facebook, and for everyone who objects in one way or another to the institution of marriage (or just doesn’t want to go there themselves).
- Similar or possibly identical to the above, what I think of as the ‘bugger off’ ring. This might be worn regardless of actual relationship status, but indicates without having to actually discuss the matter that being chatted up, flirted with, asked out on a date, attempted to be had a one night stand with, etc. etc., is completely off the table and any interest shown in you is purely friendly (or feigned for professional or networking purposes, to avoid falling out with your friends’ friends, or to keep the peace).
Wouldn’t life be so much better if people with clever ideas could legislate for the instant and uniform changing of social norms and behaviour? Umm …