Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Friday, 8 April 2011

One ring to rule them...

An illustration of priorities, perhaps; despite a few local difficulties in places like Libya and Ivory Coast, the British press continues to enlighten us on vital subjects such as royal wedding rings.

In much the same way as his grandmother was castigated for her failure to emote on camera, the prince is facing criticism from all sides for his choice not to join generation Ratner and wear a wedding ring.

Now I have nothing against men wearing rings if they wish to, or if they belong to a tradition that includes male wedding rings, but it seems somewhat harsh that the poor boy is expected to pop down to the high street simply because a jewellery chain once saw an opening* and started a craze.

Even Mumsnet - that social barometer of our time - has entered the fray:

'...in cases of ring refusal, an underhand motive is often inferred, as shown in a discussion on parenting website Mumsnet that came in the wake of the Prince William announcement.

"It's so he can pick up girls in bars anonymously, no?" joked one contributor. "Perhaps he doesn't want anyone to know he's married cos it'll cramp his style," suggested another.'

Interestingly, the BBC article attracts several comments from men who reluctantly agreed to wear wedding rings at their wives' insistence - and this utterly pompous interpretation: 'Choosing not to wear a ring while expecting your partner to have one is a sign to me that William has less regard for Kate than she has for him. Not a good start to the marriage IMO'.

It all goes to show - if further proof were needed - that commercial pressures have turned the 'ghastly public confession of a strictly private intention' into a circus where all must comply with the conventions or risk the ire of the masses. Still, one commentor, at least, is making the best of the situation:

'My father does not wear a ring and I never planned on it either, when it came to it though my wife said she would like me to. I wasn't a jewellery person, but I did to make her happy. Now it feels weird if I am without it.

Plus it's handy for doing Frodo impressions.'

*The double-ring ceremony, or use of wedding rings for both partners, is a relatively recent innovation. The American jewellery industry started a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging this practice in the late 19th century.[Wikipedia]

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