[Disclaimer: While the events of this story did actually occur, and do have quotations, it is safe to say that I probably am paraphrasing a little and may have forgotten the exact words, or order, or even some strange things in between and seeing as I was the only one present who is involved in writing this blog, it is obviously a one sided story.]
I have lived in New York now for 1 year and 9 months and not a single person from New York has actually asked me on a proper dinner date. Until today. I was at the café downstairs from my office (which I go to at least once a day, either for coffee or lunch or both.) when a tall man said “Hi.”
I awkwardly responded, “Hi.” (he totally caught me off guard.)
As I proceed to look for a bag of chips or a drink or something so as to appear busy he says to me, “I saw you out of the corner of my eye.”
I respond with a flustered, awkward “Oh.” And continue looking for chips or something, but at this point I’ve forgotten and really want him to just turn around so I can remember what I was looking for and then sit down to eat because I’m hungry.
“What’s your name?”
(awkward pause as I think whether or not I should lie to this man, I would but I work right around here so god forbid I lie and then see him again NY is such a small place sometimes) “Constance”
Then I turn away and proceed to reach for a diet lime coke (I have acquired a new horrible habit of drinking diet sodas) but he (out nowhere) intercepts my hand and says, “Is this an engagement ring?”
Now, thoroughly shocked, I snatch my hand back and say, “No. Wrong hand.”
To which he responds, “Right… I mean some girls wear them on their right hand so I thought I would ask. Why do some women do that?”
“I don’t know. When they are married and move it over to the right to make room for their other ring on the left.” I’m now trying desperately to get out of the corner of this café and make a B-line to cash register, when he says,
“So then, dinner?”
“No thank you” and at this point I have maneuvered my way out of the corner and am backing away while simultaneously shaking my head no.
“No. Sorry.” I continue shaking my head and backing away until I get to the cash register and head directly back to my office.
As soon as I got safely onto the elevator I realized that this form of awkward me is EXACTLY why no one asks me on dates and even if they do I probably don’t actually go. I know it was a strange reaction to a moderately attractive man in a café near my office, but that isn’t actually the part of this situation that perplexes me the most. In truth and hind sight, I am really disgusted by my answer to his whole “why do some women wear their rings on the right hand?” question.
You see the truth is, at that moment, I realized that I did have a decent amount of knowledge on engagement ring history, but I didn’t feel as though I was expert enough to give a full dissertation on the significance of fingers chosen and the cultural ramifications. (Not that this poor guy who I made out to look like a stranger offering a small child candy to help him look for his dog wanted a dissertation on the significance of engagement rings and their placement on hands.)
So here are the ‘cliff’ notes of my research:
- The tradition of wearing an engagement or wedding ring on the left ring finger comes from the ancient Greco-Roman belief that there is a vein in this finger leading directly to the heart.
- Some cultures (Polish, Greek, Indian, and Columbian to name a few.) wear engagement rings on their right hands because of the negative connotations of the left hand. (This dates back to Latin influence as the words for “sinister” and “left” are the same, which is also why many super religious discourage left-handedness.)
- I found a source that Nigerians wear their engagement rings on their left middle finger to show that they are close to being married, at which point their left ring finger will become occupied. (small disclaimer: The site I found this on was a weird comment thread, and I am not particularly confident in my internet savvy, and I can’t seem to find again so if anyone could verify I would be greatly appreciative.)
- Apparently, some left-handed women wear their Engagement rings on their right hand to avoid the wear and tear of dominant hand activities. ( I am left handed…. Never once crossed my mind.)
- Some sources are still sighting that homosexual couples choose to wear engagement/wedding/commitment rings on their right hand but I liked this bloggers perspective, (http://www.ourlesbianmarriage.com/weddings/lesbian-wedding-rings/lesbian-commitment-rings/) which was basically that their relationships are no different than heterosexual ones so they too now wear their rings on the left ring finger.
- And some of us just don’t always have enough fingers to fit all the rings we want to wear…. So that could get confusing, I guess.
Of course after thinking about it perhaps this poor man had just been lied to about self-purchased right hand rings by other uninterested women with enough couth to not simply shake their heads in fear and back away slowly.
The Beginning of the End