Student Voice


April 21, 2024




Are engagement rings really about them, or you?

November 15, 2017

“I made an investment.” My sister’s (ex) fiancée had reassured us of that no more than five times during our Christmas dinner, forcing her to hold up her ring with every single utterance and interrupting my older sister’s enjoyment of stuffing and chicken.

We were never fully sure how much that ring cost, but it was hinted to be closer to the cost of a new car than a semester of community college or anything in the lower thousands.

He hinted that it was chosen to be perfect for my sister. This is a great idea and all, but my sister was fairly certain that when she returned it the ring would go to another girl.

It wasn’t a representation of love or of my sister as a person; it was a representation of him and the person who he would like to be perceived as.

My sister is a boho chic, tattoos, get married in a field and use mason jars instead of glasses at her wedding type of girl. She bakes fancy cakes, laughs too loud at horror movies and listens solely to psychedelic rock.

He gave her a cookie-cutter engagement ring - the kinds that make mothers happy and fathers feel safe; The kind my sister took off and left on the nightstand before she could do really anything, the kind which she informed one of her friends in a disgruntled tone, “had to be cleaned… A lot.”

“The more expensive things get, the less personal they are sometimes,” my father informed me when my sister’s wedding was called off.

The average engagement ring costs $5,978.

A normal ring of the non-wedding variety? $20-80.

I’m not saying, “Hey don’t get your significant other that $100,000 ring!” If it’s what’s right for them and actually makes sense, go for it buddy! I’m saying not to gravitate towards a thousands of dollars ring just so you can hold up some poor kid’s hand in front of their family and say you invested in her (or them, him).

Don’t turn to their family and quantify how much their daughter is worth. Because I can guarantee that my price on my sister is not the same as a new car or boat.

If you spend $20 on an engagement ring; good, I’m proud of you. It doesn’t make you any less, it doesn’t make you any more. If they love you, I honestly don’t think they’re going to care if you got them a 25 cent ring that turns their finger green.

Just don’t try to buy someone’s kid away from them or buy the love of someone.

And hey, you don’t have to go buy an engagement ring because if you still want to spend $5,978 you can invest in the following:

  • 23,912 gumballs.

Go ahead, chew them, throw them away, it doesn’t matter. You have so many gumballs now, like a lifetime supply of (ETHICALLY SOURCED) gumballs that you can eat together until you are both dead, then get buried with the rest.

  • 160 lbs of Parmigiano Reggiano.

Go ahead, buy two wheels of cheese; it’s an investment that has an active return. You can literally cook pasta in a wheel of cheese and live a happy life. Significant other is lactose intolerant? Tell them you want to make their limited cheese consumption worth it with this large amount of fancy cheese. You’ll get so much use out of it and for a cheese-lover, it’s like the most personal gift.

  • 149 heated blankets

Is your significant other cold a lot? Probably, the dorms are a chilly place. Show them that you care by getting them an endless amount of blankets. As each blanket costs roughly $40 and breaks in roughly a year, this is the gift that keeps on giving. You’re literally setting them up to live comfortably for a century. You’ll be lucky if Time Magazine doesn’t name you person of the year.

  • 398 four-lb chocolate bars from Trader Joe's.

You are literally buying them 1,592 pounds of chocolate. There are no downsides, there’s literally no issues with this. Do they want a ring? Bam! They’re gonna forget about that the second you wheel in with palate after palate of Trader Joe’s chocolate. As a general human being, even if you went half in and just got me like 100 pounds of chocolate and ten heated blankets I would be in for it. I'm absolutely gonna marry this wonderful provider of life.

I’m not saying, "hey ditch the engagement ring idea entirely" or "let’s burn the institutions of marriage to the ground" (that’s for another day). I’m saying is a $3,000 ring really indicative of the person you love and taking into account their personal style and opinions?

Or is it just a way for you to advertise how much you make?