One of the things we love about the internet is its ability to spread ideas and open up minds. One of the things we hate is the internet’s ability to spread ideas and confuse the sh*t out of people by creating a controversy at every chance possible.

Well, now there’s a photo making it’s way around the internet of a Kay Jewelers advertisement for a $25 ring. The advertisement does not say it is an engagement ring, but that hasn’t gotten in the way of a good argument. Women have been sounding off about how much a man should spend on a ring and what they’d do if a man proposed to them with a $25 ring.

Let it be known that the previous internet discussion was about a woman who posted a photo of her engagement ring. It was a thin, gold band and a small stone. Some women dragged and bullied her in the comment sections; others came to her rescue detailing how it wasn’t just about the size of the ring. But, oh, how things changed when a price was put to it…

I’ve heard plenty of women’s opinions, so I decided to find out how men (married, single, dating and engaged) feel about this topic. I attempted to start an internet discussion amongst men about the issue, but the women took over the conversation despite the question being addressed to men. I went to the barbershop and the same thing happened: Despite asking the men for their opinions, women took over the conversation. However, a few men were willing to speak and get some points in, and here’s what we discovered.

What got under a lot of men’s skin was someone telling them how much they needed to or had to pay, and that it leads to more questions than answers. The men had some questions that deserved answers but women were unwilling to answer. If it’s not about the ring, would you be willing to accept a proposal without it? If the ring is mandatory, what are the limits? What’s the high range and what’s low? What do your love and acceptance cost?

What if he didn’t believe in the practice and history of giving engagement or wedding rings at all…Would that be a deal-breaker?

The traditional rule of thumb suggests that men spend three month’s (¼ of the year) salary on an engagement ring. Back in America’s Great Depression era, De Beers started running an ad campaign suggesting that buyers spend one month’s salary on the ring to save money, and the idea stuck in our minds ever since.

According to the Knot’s 2015 Real Weddings Study, Americans spent an average of $5,871 on an engagement ring.

Another study suggests that the average wedding cost was almost $26,000, with most couples spending between $19,000 and $32,000 on just the wedding alone. And according to honeymoon.com, the average honeymoon is seven days/six nights, and the average price per couple is $5,000. While we’re talking money it should be mentioned that it’s suggested that approximately 40-50% of marriages will end up in divorce before hitting the 10 year mark, and the average cost of a simple uncontested divorce costs approximately $2,500.

What men are seeing are bills and potential bills piling up, going into debt and being financially irresponsible to impress other people and make you smile. Is the tradition worth that much?

The guys had some other questions, also. If he buys an expensive engagement ring, does he have to buy a wedding ring too? Does the ring have to be new or could he have gotten it from a pawnshop? What if he doesn’t buy a new ring and instead proposes with a used ring of sentimental value (e.g. a piece of estate jewelry, a family heirloom, etc.)? If you’re dictating how much has to be spent, doesn’t that defeat from the heart portion of the gift? What happened to the love and intent of the proposal? Isn’t the proposal in itself a gift? The fact that he asked for forever isn’t more than enough???

Keep in mind most women were not upset at what the ring looks like; just the price. But you wouldn’t know the price if you were just given it. Keep in mind it’s from Kay Jewelers, and they aren’t generally known for selling fake merchandise or having bad craftsmanship. So the question is this: is it the about the ring or is it about the price of the ring? We just want a straight answer.

Ultimately, a man wants to know that you want him, regardless of the type of ring or whether he can afford to get you the one you want.

He wants to know that the ring is not the deciding factor. If the right man gets the wrong ring or doesn’t get one at all, does that automatically disqualify him from being the right man? If he proposes and you say no, that more than likely is going to be the end of that relationship. All expectations and deal-breakers should be expressed ahead of time, so both of you know what you’re dealing with and what to expect. If your heart is set on a ring and price then, by all means, don’t settle. But don’t complain if challenged on the premise.

On a personal note, I don’t too much believe in the practice of giving rings. It’s money we could put toward a house, a business, paying down debts, and setting a good economic footing for your new life together. Affordable housing one of the countries most pressing issues. The ring has no religious purpose and is not even mentioned in my religions holy book. Secondly (partly joking, mostly serious), everybody that knows me knows I don’t believe in rings. I’m proposing with a ring pop, just because I said it in a poem in college and every woman in the room melted and said it was so sweet and cute. It doesn’t mean I won’t have a real ring afterward or that I’m absolutely against them. I don’t want to feel forced. I’m probably not buying a wedding ring either. My future wife’s wedding ring will be a piece of estate jewelry that has been in this family forever, so ain’t no breaking up. It’s my grandma’s ring. I picked it out when I was 20 years old.

Part of people’s feelings about this issue is how they were raised. Remember weddings and courtship are part cultural, part religious, part family ideology. I grew up in a family where the marriage I look up to most has been together 59+ years and counting. They got married with no rings and a cornbread cake. My grandfather told me once about marriage is that they had a poor wedding and rich marriage but too many people have rich weddings and poor marriages. I never forgot it. Not saying we have to have a poor wedding, but I’m not going all out to impress others or just because. Hypotheticals like this are the things we should talk about on dates; this is why communication in relationships is so important.


Written By: Johnny Brownlee II  

Follow Johnny on Instagram: @slin_k_polymath



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