Ladies: Should Men Wear Man-gagement Rings?

February 18, 2014  |  

I know that it is typically the man, who proposes, or puts forth the idea of marriage, but why must women be the only ones wearing the heavy artillery?

That’s part of the discussion being held over at The Atlantic in an article entitled, “The Rise of the Man-gagement Ring;” the other part is why would men want to wear engagement rings? According to the piece, a recent survey revealed that 5 percent of engaged men are wearing man-gagement, or engagement, rings along with their intended partners. That may not seem like a high number until you consider that jewelers, hoping to capitalize further on the rather lucrative side of pre-marriage and wedding industry, have been trying to popularize the man-gagement ring since the 1926 but have failed miserably because ewww…that’s for girls.

More specifically, according to The Atlantic

“Companies like L. Bamburger & Co., a large department store later rebranded as Macy’s, joined together for a cooperative advertising campaign. The ads, which ran in East Coast newspapers, featured black and white photos of a man’s left hand, a cigarette resting between the first two fingers and a large rock flashing on the fourth. The rings even had ultra-macho names: the Pilot, the Stag, the Master. But these campaigns were unable to overcome the ingrained femininity of the symbol, and the movement flopped.”

However being empowered by the push to legalize gay marriage, which is now legal in 17 states, as well as evolving gender roles and expectations, including Jennifer Hudson’s fiance who wears the man-gagement ring, more men are considering the finger bling as an option. In fact, the article states that a survey commissioned by the jewelry retail chain Robbins Brothers has found that 67 percent of the 800 men polled are “open” to wearing an engagement ring.

With that kind of momentum, some more enterprising jewelers are giving the man-gagement ring another go including British jeweler H. Samuel, who has designed “The Tioro,” which is made of titanium and  looks more like a lug nut than a actual ring. However this more “masculine” engagement ring has been a hit thus far. And it doesn’t hurt that the most expensive is $204, which is ridiculously low considering that the average cost men spend on a woman’s ring is $5,431.

But in spite of the new appeal, there’s no telling if the man-gagement rings will be fully embraced by the general public. The hold up? Well the article suspects the biggest hold-out will be women themselves: “It’s not pushed enough,” says Severine Ferrari, the editor-in-chief of Engagement 101 magazine. “Big changes have to come from individual people. If they don’t find the product in front of them, it’s not going to happen. People need to see things to buy them.”

Upon greater exposure, I can definitely see the man-gagement ring catching on and in particular, being widely popular among the tab-keeping crowd, who like to check phones and mean-mug every single woman within a 2 mile radius of “their” man with the wandering eye. But in general, it just makes sense that if both parties have to wear wedding bands then why should an engagement ring be excluded? It just never seemed right that I could walk into a bar and tell an engaged woman right off the bat but spoken for men had no such markers.

Either that or we can abolish the entire ring-racket all together, which to me would not only be more progressive but would stand to save a bunch of couples much needed money in the process.

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