Editorial Note #1:This article was originally published 11/11/02. I am currently on holiday and unless titled Dispatches, then what you are reading was scheduled for publication in advance of my departure.
I have known some women who — while in the throes of preparing for their weddings — have praying mantis’d their partners.
I have never been a fan of weddings. In fact, I am among the few women who loathe weddings.
As a little girl, I imagined crossing the world with a partner in adventure; I did not imagine a wedding, but rather being a part of a team. I imagined calling my parents with the great news, and then assuring them I was not pregnant as response.
Truth be told, I have never been drawn to wedding dresses either, though maybe the tiara (which, I mean, I could wear anywhere). When I thought of partnering, I thought not of the wedding, but rather of the beautiful man who gets my mind and wants to raise babies with our shared value system while we make one another laugh. Occasionally we fight, and then he apologizes. Obviously.
That said, I have always wanted a ring. I have always wanted that plain boring traditional gold band. Which I love so much, and which I have always wanted to see on my hand, knowing that it is from a man who has chosen me to be his booty call for life, because that’s just the kind of romantic ideal to which I aspire.
But then recently, my world was dislodged.
B informed me that the ring situation? It is not a Muslim tradition, but rather a Christian one.
My father confirmed this, and then laughed when I became visibly upset.
In fact, really very devout Muslims do not wear bands.
(CHRISTIANS!! CALL ME!! (I am totes single, and I heart Jesus (blessings and peace upon him).)
Listen, I know what you’re going to say, that just because it is a Christian tradition, it doesn’t mean we can’t adopt it. And we have, in fact.
But I am still stressed out entirely by this news, because I can not un-know it, now that I know it.
It’s not a sin; so it’s not like if I request a ring, I will char in hell. But still, this really upset me.
I can not explain to you the ‘why’ of it, only to say that now that I know it is not a part of Muslim tradition, I feel dumb for wanting it. I feel foolish in my hope for a little slim gold band given to me by my partner, and I can not get over this impasse, because I want to carry something tangible from my man. I want to always have something on me, an anchor if you will, which grounds me to the man who calls me his woman. That may sound Neanderthal to some, but this is a solid want in me, one of the few physical things I have ever consciously wanted, in fact. And trust me, I am not a “wanter,” I have never been a big consumer, opting instead for experiences rather than things. But this? This is different.
And it may have to do with my parents being divorced. Before which, my father gave my mother a little golden ring with a heart on it, inscribed on the inside was that he loved her. This ring she gave to me after the divorce, and I wear it on a chain around my neck; a chain which is never removed, a chain on which there is one other ring and Allah. For the longest time, I wore this ring hoping that one day I would be able to give it back to my mum.
Even though their marriage has dissolved fully and happily for the both of them, and even though I will never be able to hand this ring back to her, the ring still represents something extremely visceral and tangible to me, the daughter of this divorce. Bottom line is, at one point, this ring was real, and so were the sentiments inscribed within.
Although perhaps? Perhaps I should aim for a date with a man before I start worrying about the specifics of what he will / will not let my infantile side have so that she may not pout every time she looks down at her left NUDE hand. And we all know — nudity in public is haraam.
Photo courtesy of the brilliant Cathy Thorne, who gave the world Everyday People Cartoons — Cartoons about women, and the people who love and annoy them.