(M)engagement rings?

Some of you might have noticed while reading the Hot Cocoa engagement story post that there are two rings in this photo: an engagement ring on my finger (yes, that Oompa Loompa set of appendages does belong to me, not a four-year-old gnome child) and a band on Mr. Hot Cocoa's finger.  Do not adjust your browsers.  That shiny washer on Mr. HC's digit is, indeed, an engagement ring.  From me.  To him.

When we started talking about getting engaged and going through the process of selecting a pretty bauble for my finger, I started feeling somewhat sad for Mr. HC that he wouldn't get some shiny thing of his own.  Why shouldn't he have a token of my commitment and love too? And truthfully, Little Miss Snarky (my bad, bad alter ego) also thought that it seemed unfair that I should have to be "marked" as off-the-market, while Mr. HC gets to sally forth unchanged.

Then there's also the fascinating theory I read about in law school of how the custom of giving an engagement ring only to women came about.  WAIT - don't stop reading!  I swear it's good! Prof. Margaret Brinig (in an article you can download here) points out that in the olden days, if a man broke off an engagement, a woman could sue him for breach of promise.  BOP was not just about a jilted lover's sweet revenge; in the days when women needed to remain a virgin to be marriageable, this civil action gave men an incentive to go through with the wedding and women some measure of financial support if the engagement fell through after, um, some hanky panky.  But in the 1930s, BOP was legislated out of existence.  Hence the need for some expensive doodad -- a performance bond, if you will -- to keep grooms honest.  (And it helps that, as discussed in this must-read Slate piece, the 1930s were when DeBeers began its "A Diamond is Forever" campaign.)

Anyway, I decided I could do without a (one-way) performance bond; Mr. HC has seen me at my worst and hasn't run yet (I mean, he's sometimes hid in horror, closed his eyes, or fled the apartment temporarily, but he always came back -- sucker!).  And the feminist troublemaker in me liked the symbolic value of exchanging rings.

So I contacted Etsy seller imakecutestuff and ordered one of her custom "secret promise rings." It's a simple sterling silver band that's inscribed with a hidden message inside.
I had it inscribed with "Have a little faith, there's magic in the night," a quote from one of our favorite Springsteen songs.  And sometime after Mr. HC proposed with his ring, I proposed with mine.

Since Mr. HC can't wear any jewelry to the hospital (which is pretty much where he is every hour of every day as a med student), he hasn't really been wearing his pretty shiny thing.  In truth, he also thinks it's a bit weird, even if he completely endorses the sentiment behind it. Despite this, I kind of like the idea that he has it.

Any of you get or think about getting a mengagement ring?  Does the term "mengagement ring," which I'm totally claiming as my own, btw, make you giggle -- like man-purse (murse) or man-bra (bro)?  Did you stop reading when I put "fascinating" and "law school" in one sentence?  Sorry -- it won't happen again, I promise.

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