A friend noticed that I was not wearing my wedding ring in a photo. He noted that he used to work for a married woman who would take off her ring, and go out with girl friends to see if she still had what it took. The subject of the wearing of wedding rings spurs lots of debate and I really think that my view of the meaning of “ the ring “ has changed as I have aged. When I was younger, I did find that many men hit on me at business functions and I was sure that if I had a ring on my finger, it would be a deterrent. I recently read an article in Marie Clarie about a writer who bought a fake engagement ring to keep men at bay in the male dominated field of biotech. Perhaps this changes as we age.
The men in the weight room have become positively chatty this week. What could have changed? I never wear my wedding ring because it interferes with my handling of free weights (and other reasons better saved for another post). I have been working out with these men for two years. I have learned to keep my mouth shut and just work out. However, over the past two months, I have been more consistent in my time. I noticed that some of the guys would shyly say good morning to me. One in particular, turns bright red and stammers when he greets me or if I ask him a question about his weights. When I asked him in the parking lot if he would like to share some nuts post work out, he practically fell backwards with embarrassment. But this has all changed this week, because I started talking.
For the first time, I have mentioned my handsome husband and the guys seem to have breathed a collective sigh of relief. I now know that two of the men have wives that are as phobic about bed bugs as I am. One man’s wife just lost 30 pounds in three months. Another man’s wife refused to cover up for his friend that was cheating on his wife. Extra chattiness in men in many other situations has always been my experience when I wear my wedding ring. I believe that my ring makes me safe to approach and be flirted with. In our advanced years, very few men would want to actually leave their wives for another woman, with the financial and emotional toll that it would take. The fact that I am a married woman makes me safer to play with.
There is also a similar dynamic with the female half of these suburban couples. As a child of a pretty divorced woman and very good friend to many of my divorced and widowed contemporaries, I have seen the way a single woman can get squeezed out of social situations that involve husbands. I believe that many women see these unattached females as competition for their husbands. I have always thought that a divorce would make me a social pariah in my suburban world. I am already very unconventional but to be a free-floating “sex pot” would be the end of any social life with most couples. This is why I take special care to include my single friends in my life. So in answer to my friend who noticed my lack of ring…I do not wear it to attract men…you will have to wait for my next post on wedding rings to find out why.
Previously Published on Open Salon November 9 2010