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Last night’s episode of “Being Mary Jane” opened up a can of relationship worms — as expected — but one issue that stuck out to me more than the others was a small aspect of the tell-all discussion the ladies were having during their in-house bachelorette party. As the drinks were flowing and people got to telling secrets (as usually happens when women and alcohol come together), the bride-to-be burst into tears and proclaimed that she was scared she’d already ruined her marriage before it even got a start. Why? Because when her fiance proposed she decided the ring he bought for her wasn’t good enough and so she bought her own and now fears that she emasculated him and started her union off on the wrong foot.

Is she right?

I posed this question to the office and the general consensus was that buying your own engagement ring — after being presented with one of so-called lesser quality — isn’t necessarily emasculating, it’s just rude as hell. In this day and age of wearing every last dime you have on your sleeve, we’ve come to see the size of a woman’s engagement ring as directly congruent with the health of her relationship and the man’s affinity for her, as opposed to ring’s original purpose which was to be a token of one’s love and affection. Now we’re more interested in showing off a rock than celebrating a union of two people. That’s not emasculating, but it surely says a lot about one’s priorities and motives for getting married.

But from a man’s perspective, it would certainly be some ish for the woman you love and want to spend the rest of your life with to decide that the symbol of that pledge that you personally chose wasn’t good enough and she could get good enough — in the form of a better ring — on her own. That certainly screams emasculation and potentially sets a precedent for your pending marriage that says you, my husband, can’t satisfy my needs and wants and so I have to do so myself. And if that’s the feeling you have about your future spouse, the natural response is why even bothered getting married?

One truth that holds true about men since the beginning of time is that they need to feel needed in a relationship. Even if a man isn’t vital to your survival on a basic Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs level, he at least needs to feel he is, and I can imagine buying your own engagement ring after he’s already given you one doesn’t quite send that message. It’s one thing to agree to go half on a ring from jump or to unleash all holy hell if he presents you with a cubic zirconia and asks “is you gone marry a ni**a,” but to essentially swap out a symbol of love your man worked hard to earn for you like you exchange a pair of shoes at the store because you want the Manolos that came out this week and not last…well, let’s just say that doesn’t exactly say I promise to love, honor, and cherish you all the days of our lives — let alone respect you.

What do you think? Is buying your own engagement ring emasculating?


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