Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Getting Ready to Pop the Question? Read This First...


This post is a special gift to my bachelor readers, who might not realize that marriage--and especially marriage to Mormon maidens--is now within their financial grasp.

Like any other man, I had to show the future Mrs. Monk a glistening chunk of carbon before she would consent to marry me. For the last 150 years or so, Mormon bachelors have spent many an hour toiling away to buy the rock that would convince their girlfriends to marry them; toil no more, my brothers! Turns out that engagement rings are meant to purchase something that you don't want to buy--and that any morally upright Mormon maid doesn't want to sell.

Apparently engagement rings are a fairly recent invention, an insurance policy meant to decrease the likelihood that a jilted maiden would file a breach of promise lawsuit. We all know that young men are willing to lie in order to get young women to agree to have sex with them, and one of the lies that young men used (and probably still use) quite frequently involves a promise of marriage--"Of course, we're going to get married, so it's okay if sleep together tonight..." After convincing the object of their affections (read: lusts) to sleep with them, many of these young men reneged on their promise.

The engagement ring was intended to act as proof that a man had promised to marry a woman before deflowering her. If he canceled the engagement, he also forfeited the wedding ring, meaning that the young woman was not left empty-handed (although this legal jargon seems to indicate that men--at least in Connecticut--are now likely to recover the wedding ring if an engagement is canceled). So here's my question: If the engagement ring was basically conceived of as an insurance policy for young women who engaged in pre-marital sex under the belief that the young men who stole their virtue would marry them, why on earth would a Mormon bachelor give--or a Mormon woman expect to receive--such a thing? If the goal is a temple wedding, then he doesn't want to have pre-marital sex, and she doesn't need to worry about him leaving her in the lurch.

Seems to me that Mormon bachelors need to stand up for morality and boldly explain to their girlfriends that engagement rings represent a tradition of lust and concupiscence that a temple-going people should shun. Of course, it also seems to me that any Mormon bachelor who takes my advice should have a shiny carbon backup plan in his pocket, just in case his beloved doesn't take the news as well as one might hope. After all, as anyone who's ever seen a DeBeers commercial knows, diamonds--like temple marriages--are forever (even if the engagement isn't!).

9 comments:

Aaron H. said...

And whatever you do, don't use a ring similarly designed to the one you used on your first financee with your second. Gravy.

Becky said...

I'm LAUGHING! I told Steve I'd rather have a piano.

Doesn't the engagment ring publicy "say" that you're off the market too?

Jenny said...

Z-you SLAY me!
I would totally have bought into that argument. Actually, it still sounds logical to me.
I think you could be on to something here...

Ben said...

Ok - how do you compare your thoughts to Jonny Lingo's eight cow wife? There is something to be said for what an engagement ring does for one's self image and knowledge that she is loved. I am not saying that this is required... there are MANY ways in which we can make our future/current spouse know that she is loved. Just food for thought.

The Mormon Monk said...

Ben,

I think you're misremembering an important part of the Johnny Lingo story. What made Muhanna (or however you spell her name) feel loved and of worth was NOT primarily the eight cows--it was the mirror that he gave her. There are ALWAYS ways to help someone feel loved and of worth without expending exorbitant amounts of money. In fact, I would argue that the most important ways ARE nonmonetary. Nonetheless, if your fiance wants to know that you put a certain $ value on her, why not spend the money on something more practical instead of wasting it on a ring? A KitchenAid, a roomfull of scrapbooking supplies, a series of classes in a subject she's interested in, OR--and this is my favorite--a donation to the charity of her choice? There's something that EVERYONE will always feel good about. I'm not suggesting that gifts are a bad thing...just that the engagement ring has A) outlived its original function; B) become ubiquitous so that one is no more special than another; and C) largely a waste of money. I think engagement rings would be much more meaningful if they weren't automatically given at a set time--if there was a personal REASON to give it, not just a cultural TRADITION of giving.

Jo Jo said...

Oh, I agree with the ring post, but disagree with the mirror that made M feel loved. She became who she was and how she looked because she knew he had purchased her for more than anyone else. That changed her - before she got the mirror. And for the record, I am a 20 cow wife.

Alana said...

Ha! This post coming from the man whose wife looks at big diamonds in the temple because they are especially shinny in there. How about option D) she already knows she is loved BEFORE she gets the ring, but heck, she just likes the "bling" (this make me sound especially materialistic, I know, but if the prophet said it was a sin to wear them I'd take it off in a second)

Jake said...

Sure wish we could have had this conversation 5 years earlier.

Amy's Paradigm said...

As the mother of four sons I am so happy to know I will no longer need to help underwrite such evil traditions. I wonder if to make a statement I will need to get rid of the evil token upon my hand. . . I wonder how many books I could purchase with that sparkly coal.