Until I flew the nest and went to college, all the men in my life were the kind that resolutely refused to wear scarves, carry umbrellas, or wear denim. They could all build a small house with their bare hands, start fires with a quick chink-chink of flint, and carry a minimum of three small screaming children up the stairs at once. None of these blokes wore wedding bands.
And it’s not like they all refused to wear rings in order to facilitate their serial philandering. If any of them had affairs, they were of the emotional variety. With cream cakes. As far as I know, apart from a couple of ill-judged hokey-cokeys at family weddings, my father has been unwaveringly faithful to my mother. When she said “It’s the Ford Cortina or me!” he chose her.
But like Jim Carrey’s Truman, finding out that there’s more to the world than an artificially constructed utopia, I grew up and discovered that some blokes did yoga, moisturised and wore wedding bands. This craziness didn’t seem to even be hen-pecking talking, so I decided to take on some empirical research. Which is a posh way of saying that I asked some fellas (married lads…what can I say? I’m a scarlet woman) about how they felt about their wedding bands.
From the guys I asked, one couple had purchased their wedding bands from e-Bay (his had “lucky” stamped on the inside), while another had made his own ring. I like to imagine that this was accompanied with Gollum-esque hissing, but the man in question is far too distinguished for any of that nonsense.
The idea of the ring as a piece of decorative jewellery was scorned by the blokes I bothered. The male half of Dublin’s most Kooples-esque couples informed me “From a style perspective, I abhor the recent trend for showy wedding rings on men, patterned platinum or inset with stones etc. This is poor taste. The purpose of my wedding band is not decorative, it is a reminder of the permanence of the vows that I took in that church on Francis St. The significance is semiotic.”
Everyone echoed the sentiment that the symbolic aspect of the wedding band was incredibly powerful. For some, it was a reminder of the vows that their parents had made, as well as the vows that they had made themselves. For others, it was the sense of belonging, and knowing that there was something waiting at home that was worth eschewing that last 2am pint for.
All of this research got me thinking about whether I would insist on my husband (not that I’m in so much as a semblance of a relationship) wearing a wedding band, and to be honest, while I loved hearing about the power of the symbolism on my friends and colleagues, I’m still not entirely convinced I would feel disappointed if my husband saw an out, and decided he didn’t want a ring. Anyway, I’m told that wedding watches are the next big thing in L.A, and if my potential partner is halfway as obsessed with punctuality as I am, I’m sure that’ll suit us both.
Kate Coleman @colemakf is Deputy Editor of Le Cool Dublin and Manager of South Studios, however, she is best known for protesting “I’m from Wexford” in a cockney accent.