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should she put a ring on it?

This is something that has fascinated me for a short while now and I have still not come to a definite conclusion. It’s an ever-so-slightly taboo subject but I’m curious to know what others views are.

Should single girls wear a ring on their ring finger?

First of all, I’ve been trying to think of the reasons that people would choose to wear a ring on their ring finger (I’m talking left hand, of course).

The issue is not whether girls do. It is whether it is socially acceptable and the message that this sends out. What are girls trying to say, when they wear a ring on their ring finger? Are they trying to say anything at all? And should girls who would choose not to take offence?

I live by the mantra: “Everything about you says something about you”. So for the sake of this article, I am going to assume that very girl who wears a ring on her ring finger is trying to say something –whether that’s ‘I’m engaged’ or ‘This is a promise ring.’

While trying to figure out my own views on the question, I asked some of my female friends for their opinions. Some are engaged, some are single. Some believe in God. All of them believe in marriage.

Generally, there were two main opinions that came out.

A colleague of mine answered the question with the statement, ‘I think it’s tragic.’ When asked why, she explained that the ring finger is solely for that purpose. Her argument is solid. She is also engaged, and insists that she didn’t wear a ring on her finger prior to her engagement.

My stance on the issue has been somewhat up and down over the years. And it isn’t because I’m fickle. I 100% believe in marriage – that has never changed. But there are external factors that sometimes sway my opinion.

When I was younger, the thought of wearing a ring on my ring finger never crossed my mind. However, as I’ve gotten older, I decided that a finger is just a finger. And while it is not being used for its “proper” purpose, I would wear rings on it. ‘It didn’t have to mean anything’, I rationalised. So, I would deliberately wear costume jewellery – rings that were obviously not engagement rings. And nobody ever questioned me.

See, it wasn’t others opinions that made me change my mind, it was my own. I liked the way it felt when I was wearing a ring on that particular finger. It felt special. Now, I know that marriage is more than a feeling but being a single girl, I decided that I wanted to wait for wearing a ring on that finger, along with everything else I was waiting for to come along with it.

My best friend’s view was similar to mine. During her three year relationship, prior to their engagement, she wore rings on her left ring finger. Always costume. To her, it never meant a thing, other than “I like this ring on this finger.”

Her boyfriend wasn’t offended by it and neither was anyone else. (Or at least they never said they were). She wouldn’t have cared if they were. As far as she is concerned, the ring finger was going to serve its purpose in the future and there was no harm in utilising it in the meantime.

There was one particular incident that stood out in my mind regarding this issue. A friend of mine wears a ring on her ring finger that looks suspiciously like an engagement ring. Much like this. She is not engaged, nor is she in a relationship.

So, ‘why the ring?’ we have asked her on several occasions, especially when she first started to wear it, two or three years ago. Her answer was, ‘I’m married to Jesus.’ Cue lots of looking at the ground and twiddling hair in fingers, before checking our invisible watches and shuffling away.

There are a couple of reasons that I consider her statement an invalid argument but that is for another article. My main point is that if those around you know that you are single but you insist on wearing a ring on your ring finger, be prepared to explain.

In 2008, Disney trio The Jonas Brothers made public their declaration of purity until marriage. Seeing as they were, at the time, on the tipping point of mega fame, in the mainstream industry and already hugely popular with Disney fans, a fashion micro trend was born. But purity, just like marriage, is not merely a trend; though both, at times, are treated as such.

Wearing a ring on your ring finger, I agree with. Rushing out and buying a ring just because a celebrity is wearing one, I don’t agree with. Also, shouldn’t purity be a personal decision? People (well, the self-respecting ones anyway) don’t announce every single time they have sex. So why are those choosing to abstain making a public declaration?

I may sound harsh but I can take this viewpoint because I have taken that vow also. However, when I’ve seen others explain why they’re wearing purity rings, it’s alienated the person who has enquired and made for very awkward conversation. Being a virgin is not something to be ashamed of. However, in my experience, wearing the title loud and proud doesn’t serve to encourage those around you to do the same – it creates an air of superiority – especially when it’s too late for the other person. Or they are dealing with feelings of regret. As Kaylia Payne stated: ‘…there is this idea that girls who haven’t had intercourse are nicer and more innocent than girls that have been with someone.’ This is exactly the sort of attitude we need to stamp out.

In my opinion, even as a Christian, I believe it is wrong to wear a ring on your left ring finger as a declaration of purity. And this is where intention and perception meet. You may have intended to make a bold statement and a vow to God and yourself, but I don’t see why that needs to be declared to anybody else.

My conclusion is this: wear what you like, where you like. But be prepared to answer questions from curious or just plain old nosy individuals. Don’t be surprised by people who are offended by your choice.

By Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

(Image credit)

9 thoughts on “should she put a ring on it?

  1. I wear a ring on my left ring finger. I’m not engaged, or ‘staying pure’ and I 100% DO NOT believe in marriage.
    I wear this ring because my boyfriend of 5 years bought it for me without checking my ring size and that’s the only finger it fits. I love the ring and I wear it because it’s lovely and the ring came from some who loves me.
    The ring is purely a materialistic personal item that only fits one finger.

    • Having come out of a bad marriage many years ago I met my soul mate 5 years ago. We both do not believe in the institution of marriage. It would do nothing to enhance our relationship. Just last week he bought me a beautiful gold and diamond ring which is worn on my left hand ring finger as a sign of our love and commitment to each other. We will never get married, but it is just this, a symbol of our love and that’s all that matters.

  2. I have always had this worry! I have a ring that I received for my 18th and want to wear it on my left hand as I prefer to wear costume rings on my right. It doesn’t look right on my middle finger and fits nicely on my ring finger. Its a hard one! I want to wear it, just for me, but will I be judged??

  3. As far as I’m concerned it’s just another finger to wear a ring on. If or when I ever commit to a man I will wear the ring he gives me, until then, I’ll wear what I like on it.

    And considering your fingers swell in summer and shrink in winter, sometimes you just have to move that ring.

    Also, “experts” have stated that if a woman is not married or engaged and she wears a ring on that finger, it means she doesn’t want men hitting on her as they think she’s married and off limits.

    Meh, either way, who cares, it’s just a ring!

  4. Hi ladies. Thanks for the responses. It used to be something that bothered me, which is why I was keen to get the opinions of others.

    Rose – it’s great that even though you don’t believe in marriage, your ring still means something to you because of the love in your relationship.

    Georgina – I used to be worried about that because I had a ring for my 18th that only fits on that finger. If people ask, I just explain. If people are going to draw conclusions, I leave them to it.

    And Lady Jewels Diva, I must confess, I have done that once or twice, to ward off advances from strange men


  5. I have always worn rings on my left ring finger, as much as any other finger… often its the only finger some of my Oh so Expensive Diva rings fit on 🙂 Now I have never had a diamond or anything to resemble a engagement ring and maybe thats why no one has asked. However for myself no one has ever asked why I am wearing a ring on my supposab engagement finger, Ive never had any one make a comment or be offended.

  6. in my opinion as a feminist, a female can wear whatever ring on whatever finger she wants with no need to explain her choice or reasons to anyone.
    if anyone was to be offended by this i would recommend telling them to f off (you may like to paraphrase).

  7. Natalie – that’s a pretty common thing, isn’t it? Most people are just curious, rather than offensive and nosey

    cr – I think that’s the very essence of feminism, isn’t it? That women can do what they like. I don’t think I’d resort to swearing at them but you never know, depending on how much they’ve annoyed me.

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