Some of you already know that I wear one of those oh-so-millenium symbols of feminine independence, the right-hand ring. It’s one of those ‘marry yourself first’ kind of things – it went on right after I gave my last serious live-in the boot and it pretty much never comes off. It’s a reminder to be a little more cautious in the future about what kind of crap I put on that same finger on the other hand. (Yeah, okay…and it’s pretty…)
But today I took it off to do dishes (okay – fine – I wasn’t doing dishes. It was to measure my finger for some half-baked Facebook quiz a friend challenged me to. Whatever. Shut up.) No biggie, I put it back on right afterwards and carried on with my day (which still didn’t include doing the dishes, sadly).
Imagine my reaction when I had that ‘something’s not right here’ tingling – and looked down to see that I had somehow put the ring on the wrong hand!! You may be having trouble picturing it. Okay, try this: Imagine the reaction I would be likely to have if I looked down and saw a seriously pissed-off tarantula about to take a slice of my finger for lunch.
Why this drama, you ask? Why the slightly mental overreaction? Let me illustrate.
I’ve been proposed to a lot. This is not a boast. It is case in point of the fact that I possess that je ne sais quoi that brings out the crazy in people. These proposals have ranged in seriousness from the dude who threw himself down on one knee three seconds after being introduced to me – to the tool who showed up at my parents’ house in a suit and tie, requesting an audience with them to ask for my hand (result: mom, wearing her Rolling Stones tongue logo t-shirt, secretly wishing she were a drinker; dad, not saying a word, but quietly chuckling away to himself the whole time.)
People probably think that the reason I haven’t gotten married yet is because I have commitment issues (not really), or because I value my freedom too much (possibly), or maybe I just haven’t met the right guy (could be).
But I believe the real reason is this: Every time some guy sticks a ring on my finger, I get hurt! I don’t mean emotionally – no, I mean full-on physical, literal HURT. Like with blood. I swear to god. Here, I’ll show you…
Ring # 1: 4th grade (shut up – it still counts). Royden…somebody. I arrive at school one day and on my desk is a small brown box. Inside – a ring (gold with a green stone), 29 cents in change and a note on a scrap of paper that says, “Just a little something.” Cute, huh? Yeah, sure. Until I tried the thing on, and immediately developed a horrifying rash highlighted by the bright green circle it left around the afflicted digit. Not cute. Not at all. Of course, setting a pattern for later stages of my life, I still let him take me to the movies. (Okay, so not a lot of actual blood in this one, but hang tight – I’m just setting the stage here, people.)
Ring #2: Age 28. Fiancee #1. We’d been together for 10 years. I’d moved out and moved back in about five times that year. Things weren’t going so great. In a final act of desperation, during lunch one day he comes over and does the whole one-knee thing (which I just find really silly – and my first thought at the time was “Shouldn’t he know I would find that silly?”). Now, you should know that if this had happened about 10 years earlier – hell, five years earlier – I would have been ecstatic. When I was in my early twenties, I wanted nothing more than to marry this guy. A classic case of too little, too late. And I believe the actual proposal went something like, “If we work things out, would you consider marrying me?” (At that moment, a tiny rift occurred in the fabric of space/time and my younger self, overhearing this, paused in her browsing of china patterns and proceeded to slit her wrists.)
ANYWAY – the ring. It was silver (score – I hate gold). It wasn’t a diamond (score – at the time, I hated anything so traditional. I have since been enlightened. Though I still only approve of fair-trade bling.) It was wrought in the shape of a sun; a recurring theme in our relationship…partly because of a dream we once shared of starting our own theatre company in Jamaica and partly something to do with me being (yeah, I know) the centre of his universe or something (yes, I am aware that the sun is only the centre of a very small solar system, not the whole universe.)
It didn’t take long. As it turned out, the sun shape had some very pointy bits. Which proceeded to completely shred my fingers. One day it got so bad, I ripped the damn thing off and threw it across the bedroom, where it was forgotten about until later that day when it embedded itself in the sole of my foot.
Ring #3: A couple of years later. Fiancee #2. This time I picked out my own ring – a simple silver band with a small round amethyst set flush with the rest of the band. Loved it. Until the day I was being rushed out of the apartment by F2 and in going to turn off the light, the ring somehow got caught on the corner of the switchplate. In some freak moment of ridiculousness, the momentum was just right to force the ring to open up at the seam where the ring had been re-sized (made smaller for me), pulling the ring, with its now raw metal edges, all the way up and off my finger, creating two long ragged gashes the entire length of it. I still have the thing, actually, and it looks like it was hit by a train. That wedding never happened, either, by the way.
Ring #4: A few years after that. Fiancee #3. This one proposed on the second date, so a ring was not immediately produced. Actually, this guy was bipolar and refusing medication, and was also an artist, so while there was big talk of the amazing ring he was going to design for me, and many intricate drawings made, no ring ever actually was produced. So technically this ring never actually hurt me, but since he tried several times, I still feel it counts.
In any event, this is why I panic at the sight of any jewelry anywhere near that hand. My friends find it kind of entertaining.
But you know, I might consider marriage…if I ever got a ring on that hand that didn’t try to kill me. I’m not holding my breath, though.