What Shall We Do For a Ring?

“O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
   But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
   To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
   With a ring at the end of his nose,
             His nose,
             His nose,
   With a ring at the end of his nose.
—”The Owl and the Pussycat,” Edward Lear
A few weeks ago, I took my courage firmly in two hands and made J baked steak in the Instant Pot, overcoming my own apathy for the dish along with my fear of the Instant Pot. The task, which involves dredging raw meat in flour, is pretty gross, so naturally I took off my rings.

What happened from there is a matter of debate. A couple years ago, I got my engagement ring and wedding ring welded together, which struck me as both practical and romantic, and reminded me of my beloved Granny, who did the same, her bands eventually wearing down so much that hers are now one blended ring in the back. Anyway, to preserve them from beef juices and sticky flour, I took off my rings and either put them on the island countertop or else in my back pocket or else, I guess, inadvertently swallowed them.
Whichever, they haven’t been seen since.
For the first few days, I experienced a sort of low-grade anxiety all the time. I felt almost itchy. I’m not sure I would have said that I was especially attached to my rings before this — I wasn’t a ring person before I got engaged, but I do wear mine everyday. Still, they are special to me: J designed the engagement ring with a modest family diamond cushioned between sapphires, and I loved the occasional glimmer, just when I’d forgotten about them.
We figured they’d turn up. But they weren’t in the baked steak and they weren’t in the sourdough loaf. (A friend checked.) The Roomba hasn’t eaten them and if the baby has, she’s keeping them well hidden.
Screen Shot 2018-10-13 at 3.44.35 PM.png
Wedding day fingers
It fills me with a sort of dumb awe. Maybe we’ll find them five years from now in a closet, as a friend’s mother did hers. Or maybe someone will find them under two inches of topsoil out front, decades from now, planting a rose bush. Or maybe they’ll be unearthed in an archaeological expedition in a few centuries. Or maybe they’ll never be found till the world is unmade. But they are somewhere.
All this has led to interesting discussions with friends about what their rings mean to them. Around the same time, one friend suffered such a severe allergic reaction to her rings that they had to be cut off and she must wait a month to wear them again. More friends than I’d really noticed don’t wear their rings because the ring is fragile, or doesn’t fit anymore, or is to ostentatious for everyday use. But lots of us wear our rings every day, year piling onto year, barely thinking of them except to remove them for a messy task.
I find myself telling, over and over, one of my favorite stories of my parents. How my dad lost his wedding ring at a softball game. How my parents found a cheap ring, battered, flecked with gravel, in the road on a walk together. How my father’s father helped him beat it round once more, and how my dad wears it now, my grandfather long passed, the ring still flecked with gravel, my parents’ marriage still a thing of great strength and comfort.
J suggested he might design me new 3D plastic rings, because he knows my enduring weakness for cheap and handmade and sentimental, but I think I’ll wear my mother’s original engagement ring, which my dad replaced for her some years back. I like the idea of wearing a ring that honors my parents’ marriage as well as my own, and it’s a sweet, simple little solitaire that won’t feel unfamiliar to me.
Still, I hope I see my rings again. They were good rings, and I miss them.
What about your ring(s)? What’s their story, and what do they mean to you?

11 thoughts on “What Shall We Do For a Ring?


    you see, when you are a journalist, you almost always have to have a second job because there is no money in the news biz (or, if there is, it’s all in anderson cooper’s pocket and not mine). at any rate, i was working as a waitress to supplement my career, and a fellow producer worked at zales to supplement hers. dan bought my ring set from her one day for a slammin’ deal, and she had to keep it a secret at the news station for WEEKS until he finally proposed.

    they are dainty sparkly things. white gold with a .5 ct princess cut diamond surrounded by a bunch of tiny other ones. and these days i find myself only wearing the band or even wearing a silicone band in its place, because they are SO DANG SPARKLY AND PRETTY and that typically doesn’t mesh well with the messy work of wiping noses and butts all day long. 😉

    one day right after we got married, dan asked me if i liked my rings and i told him yes. he asked me if i wanted something bigger and i, being the dumb and vapid newlywed i was, said, “i mean, maybe when we’ve been married like, TEN YEARS [which is eons away], we can upgrade?” and he hasn’t let me live that down. we will celebrate ten years in august 2019 and he keeps making jokes. UGH.


    • My life is SO much messier now than I expected it would be when I received those rings!

      So famously when we were moving toward being engaged John was housemates with a girl who received a $12,000 wedding set. And I told him that if he had that kind of money to spend on me, I’d like a car. And he responded, “I’d buy you two cars, baby!” We are not fancy folk. (Except when it comes to cheese, maybe.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Somewhere along the lines, we decided that one day we would get married and that my then boyfriend should know what kind of ring I liked. So we went and looked, and I picked one out mostly because it was the only one at the store in the 3 digits instead of 4. A half carat solitaire, very dainty. He proposed 2 weeks later in my parents front yard.

    I picked out my band with similar practicality…I wanted very plain so that I could take off my diamond and still look married while working with my hands.

    They suit me perfectly and I never want an upgrade (though I would accept an Anniversary band or jacket)


  3. Logan has this uncanny ability to pick perfect gifts for me that I didn’t even know I wanted/needed, and he picked out my ring without any input from me (because I’m weird and didn’t care). But it’s perfect and I seriously don’t take it off ever! With one of my pregnancies I was super swollen and had to take it off for the last few weeks, which felt so weird. I hope you find yours soon!!


  4. I’m so happy to hear you found your rings! It is hard to not have them – that feeling of them being missing, of something being not right.

    Justin was in his last year of college, and he didn’t really want to get me a diamond ring, because of the unethical diamond industry. But at the time, a small tasteful diamond was a symbol for me – a symbol of marriage, of commitment, of readiness for marriage, of respect, of the only diamond I ever expected or even wanted. (I was the daughter of a romance writer, after all.) So he got me a cute set from a chain store, serviced by a college friend, which fits together and glitters. We had gone into the store randomly one day, looking at rings (honestly checking my size), and had found them – and he returned one day and bought them.

    I love my rings, and I cherish them. But someday, when we are more established (hahaha), maybe he will pick me out a ring. One that he chooses. A symbol of a more mature love.


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