There were 6 women and 6 boys sitting together in the stadium that night. I was enjoying watching the kids exploding with anticipation as they waited for the show, excitedly watching every move the pit crew made. I was chatting with the young lady beside me, (who was accompanying her boyfriends son because Mom had an emergency), and as we chatted I learned that she was newly engaged.
My eyes immediately traveled down to her hand to check out the ring and I could not believe that I had not noticed it before that moment, but it was a very, big ring. I know the guy she was intending on marrying, and that ring was not in his budget. It wasn't even in his budget when he didn't have an ex- wife and child to support.
I know this was none of my business, but I couldn't help but start to worry about it, and I started to worry about the guy. I knew he was smarting a bit over the split with his wife, and I wondered if he was thinking straight.
My thoughts and questions on the subject were interrupted as the answers that I had feared, started to come my way:
She: "Yeah, we chose it together, I just knew it was the one, the second I saw it"
[oh no here we go ..... I had this sad image of them in the ring shop, I wonder if he kept himself composed as he heard the price of the ring ]
Me: "Wow, that's quite a big ring, is it really in his budget?" ( yes, sometimes I ask inappropriate questions,)
She: " Well, he has a second job now on the weekends so that we can pay for it"
[I don't know if it was the stadium hot dog I had just consumed, or if it was her little story, but at exactly that point, I threw up a little]
Me: "Wow ( yes, again, I said Wow, and I said it with a big exhale and an incredulous tone, which she missed ), soooooo, when do you see him?" [ thinking I could get her to see what she was doing, if I approached it from another angle ]
She: "Oh, ..... well", she sighed sadly, ................"its really tough"
[at this point I thought she caught my drift, and might be referring to how hard he was working for her, and I softened a little]
Me: "Is the ring really worth it do you think?"
She: "Oh yeah, its so beautiful," she perked up, "and you know, my girlfriends keep me company when we are partying on the weekends, so I am not too lonely without him"
[huh?............. wait, no,..... its not about you being lonely.....er...god I wish It was legal for me to smack some sense into you..........]
I decided to try another route, I shared my own story. Because, I thought, I am a pretty cool and admirable chick, maybe I could lead by my own example. You see, I didn't even have a diamond ring when I got married, I still don't, and we could afford it. I figured it was a waste of money though, so, we just saved the dough, and eventually bought other things (like the old Porsche I found online and had shipped from North Carolina to Houston for hubby, way cooler than a ring if you ask me).
Then I told her about the ring that I had had, made, which I could wear to fancy functions or ladies luncheons or whatever, it cost under a $100 dollars, & in all the years I wore it, no one ever doubted it's authenticity. I suggested she take her ring back and choose a setting she likes and put in a fake diamond, so that she could spend more time with her fiance. I reminded her that when they could finally afford it, they could put a real diamond in (if she really wanted to still).
She: " Well, yeah I understand what you are saying, but this is really the only time I am going to get married, so it really has to be right, I want this to be the ring I wear forever. "
Me: "How old are you anyway?"
She: " I'm 21"
I knew I was defeated, the conversation was over, I don't like to work that hard.
I know I can't give her my experience, though I hope she learns to listen to people who offer it to her, sooner rather than later.
I know I did, listened to my elders. I recall very early on, hearing the adults around me say "If I only knew then, what I know now",........ I noticed it was such a universal saying, I knew there had to be something to it. I didn't understand it, but I made note of it, and paid attention because of it. So when I am the recipient of advice from someone I admire, even if I don't understand the advice at that time, I try to remember it, file it away, so that when I encounter that particular experience, roadblock, or situation, I might be armed with a piece of wisdom to help me find my way.
To be fair, this young lady is young, and it does take a while to get there, I did my share of stupid at 21, and lord knows I am still learning and have a long way yet to go. I know that I don' t know everything, or anything even, which leaves me more open to consider another point of view. That is where understanding lies for me, in seeing things from as many different perspectives as possible.
I do worry about a culture that places more emphasis on the ceremony and accessories associated with weddings, rather than the actual union itself. It seems to make the young girls feel entitled to this big magical day, no matter what they truly can afford, and I fear young couples set themselves up for way more stress than they need to, at such a young time in their relationships. Hopefully simple cheap weddings will be whats in vogue by the time my children start flirting with the idea of it.