Aileen Quijano

Bottoms up

NOW ladies, put your hands up! A guy friend wants to know what that ring on your finger says. Did a man just heed Beyonce’s call and finally “put a ring on it”? Are you now married, engaged? Or could it be that you just have fashionably good taste in jewelry? Wha-oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh...

Nowadays, the meaning of a ring on a lady’s finger is not so clear-cut. Though it seems that most rings begin with a question, you’ll find out it’s necessarily always “Will you marry me?” Some rings are by nature symbolic. Some may take on meaning depending on the finger the ring is worn. While others just sparkle, like white noise, not saying anything at all.

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I guess the key thing here is simply to ask, which I did. So let’s hear it straight from the ladies.

With This Ring, I Say “I Will”

Promise rings are quite common though their meaning change depending on the reason and intention for which they’re given. Personally, these are what I call the innocently doe-eyed virgin rings. They come in many forms. There are the promise rings between good friends, usually worn on the little finger, to show commitment that they will always be there for each other in times of need. Purity rings, given by parents to their children, symbolize a promise from the child to abstain from sexual relationships until marriage. The chastity or abstinence promise ring may be worn by a recovering smoker or alcoholic as a sign of commitment to abstain from vices. And then, I find out, there are also the pre-engagement promise rings (here I can’t help rolling my eyes). The engagement ring, I understand.

But to promise today that you will vow to be engaged in the future so you can promise again to love and spend your lives together in the, well, even far future (marriage)… how many promises do you actually need? Could it be that the lady just wants the ring more than the promise? Hmmm.

With This Ring, I Say “I Do”

Or bluntly put to other men, “Yes, I’m taken. Now back off.”

The wedding ring has been around for centuries. Though the practices may vary somewhat in different cultures, practically everyone recognizes the importance of sealing a marriage – and a string of “I dos” – with an exchange of rings. It is said that the most potent and most fundamental symbol of marriage remains a simple band of gold, worn without ornamentation on the ring finger of the left hand. Why that particular finger?

Both the ancient Romans and Egyptians believed that a vein - called the vena amoris in Latin - runs directly from that finger to the heart. So in essence that makes it closer to the heart than a ring worn on any other finger.

With This Ring, I Say “Ah!”

Single and looking? Well, they’re now putting a ring on it, baby. In fact, currently circulating online is what you call the “Ah” Ring, which supposedly stands for “available and happy”. It looks like a silver band sprinkled with diamonds and is meant to be worn on the pinky. Apparently, some companies like D Jewelry Co. now offer rings to celebrate one’s singlehood. The online site MySingleRing.com even claims that those who wear its rings project to the world: “I am an intelligent, empowered individual and available to meet the same.”

With This Ring, I Say “Aaarrghh”

It may not directly apply in this country but I am fascinated by the news abroad that the resale market for used engagement and wedding rings is actually booming. Ever heard of the online auction web sites IDoNowIDont.com and ExBoyfriendJewelry.com?

It is said that more and more divorced women are reconfiguring their wedding rings to “help facilitate healing.” A company which sells divorce rings uses the tag line: “Building self-esteem one person at a time.”

And then for frustrated ladies with stalkers who just don’t take the hint, apparently they say it now with the “Ms. Taken” ring. It’s an engagement-ring look-alike that you can slip on when needed to zap pushy guys into oblivion. Yes, just like Darna.

With This Ring, I Say “I Can”

I’ve been told often enough that I should find a man to buy me diamonds. I don’t agree but I just usually nod and smile politely. After all, they’ll never understand me when I say: why should I? I prefer rubies.

When I was old enough to buy my own jewelry, I asked to know what piece a lady should first have in her collection. Most of my girlfriends agree that it should either be pearl earrings or a pair of diamond studs. I believe though that the most important piece that a beginner should invest on is her birthstone. It’s been said that wearing a birth stone gives off a certain kind of power and calmness and that it attracts good health and fortune. So naturally, being July-born, the first piece of jewelry I bought was a ruby ring. With it, it’s quite liberating to say that yes, I can pick my own rock; that I can afford to buy it; that I can enjoy it without the fear of losing it—after all, no one bought it for me so I know it’s never gonna haunt me in the form of a disgruntled giver saying, “You lost it. Don’t you love me anymore?” (sheesh); and that now I can finally use this line without flinching, “Hey, it’s not you, it’s me”

In the hit song “Single Ladies”, Beyonce drives home the point over and over “If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it.” All this time I thought she was just berating a man for being too chicken to commit. Perhaps, I wasn’t listening closely.

Now I know she’s talking to us ladies too. If we like it, then why not put a ring on it? Oh yeah, we can. Wha-oh-oh.

(Say it to me at aileen.quijano@gmail.com)