Burning Question: Why Don’t Men Wear Engagement Rings?

Sarah B. Weir, Yahoo! blogger
Love + Sex
May 30, 2012

What a Prince Charming
What a Prince Charming

[Every week, Shine finds an answer to one of life's little mysteries. If you've got a burning question you want answered, tweet it to @yahooshine #burningquestions or share it in the comments section.]

Although I am a card-carrying feminist, I still appreciate having the door opened for me, the dinner bill picked up, receiving flowers on special and some not-so-special occasions, and other niceties of traditional courtship. And I especially like my engagement ring. It's a braided platinum band set with a faceted yellow sapphire and I remember every minute of the rainy, romantic afternoon when my husband-to-be proffered it to me.

Writing for Slate.com, Meghan O'Rourke has a different point of view. "There's a powerful case to be made that in an age of equitable marriage the engagement ring is an outmoded commodity-starting with the obvious fact that only the woman gets one." She traces the engagement ring's history in the West to the 13 th Century when Christians began giving betrothal rings, a tradition that dated back to Roman times.

The betrothal ring was originally a symbol that the man now owned his bride-to-be. Roman wives had few rights and after marriage were kept in virtual seclusion. The ring was placed on the fourth finger of the left hand because the Ancient Egyptians believed that it contained the vena amoris, a vein that led straight to the heart. O'Rourke also points out that, historically, jilted women were allowed to keep the ring as a payment for a "damaged reputation," since it might be assumed that they lost their virginity during the engagement period-something that would dramatically reduce their future prospects of marriage.

I'm thankful we live in more egalitarian times. While the history of betrothal might not be so pretty, "owning" me was not on my fiance´'s agenda when he proposed, nor would my ability to find another mate have been compromised if we broke up before marriage. At the risk of sounding reactionary, sometimes a ring is just a ring.

Why do women date jerks?

Why do kids have imaginary friends?

Why do kids fear clowns?

What to Read Next

How to Read Your Child's Deleted iPhone Texts

New service makes it easy to monitor your child’s texts (even deleted ones) as well as activity on Snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp.

What On Earth Happened To Marsha Brady!?

These Stars Look Absolutely Nothing Like Before...

You'll Love This Disney Movie Club Offer!

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Exclusive Titles, Merchandise, Offers & Discounts. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

8 Symptoms Osteoarthritis

Early Detection Can Save You Pain. Don't Wait Until Joints Break Down. Search For Symptoms of Osteoarthritis Today!

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!