Recently, there was a PGP column about the engagement watch, a gift that men should receive upon their engagement to the woman of their dreams. I’m here to call BS.
As a female, I’ve been dreaming of my engagement since the approximate age of 4 when I arranged the marriage of my favorite Barbie and Ken and sent them off to their dream home in their little pink Jeep. I’ve transitioned from Barbies to Pinterest, but my wedding dreams have stayed the same. After a few years of dating the perfect guy, discovering how right we are for each other, and meeting each other’s families, he’ll get down on one knee with a ring and ask to spend the rest of our lives together. I’ll tear up and say yes, not because of the ring, but because of the joy that this man has brought me and will continue to bring me for the rest of my life.
I’ve always dreamed of my engagement as a promise to love and cherish each other until the ends of our lives, not as a barter for an equal gift. One of the perks of being a woman living in the 21st century is that we have the ability to make our own decisions. Something about this watch expectation throws me back to the days of women having their hands in marriage traded for a herd of cattle. Is it really too much to declare your love for someone without expecting something in return? Call me crazy, but conditional love based on presents isn’t exactly part of the romantic proposal I’ve always dreamed of. Here are some of the reasons that if you hold onto this ridiculous expectation, then you shouldn’t be getting married at all.
If you give to others based on the need for reciprocation, you shouldn’t be getting married.
Ask any girl – compliments don’t mean as much if you have to fish for them. To me, a gift like this is the ultimate compliment. Of course I want to spoil my husband back to thank him for the love and support he’s offered to me for the rest of my life, but a gift doesn’t mean as much if it’s expected or demanded. I’d love to be able to surprise my husband on a birthday, holiday, or anniversary with this amazing gift that says, “I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” I’m looking forward to that surprise and adoration in his eyes, not a pout and a frown when I don’t instantly reciprocate gift for gift. A marriage isn’t a sale or a business transaction. If that’s what you think you deserve from a relationship, your time and money is probably better spent at a strip club.
If your fiancee’s happiness isn’t enough to make you happy, you shouldn’t be getting married.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been looking forward to my engagement for almost my entire life. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with the man of my dreams, but of course I’m looking forward to the other little perks that come with the engagement as well. I’m looking forward to the Instagram photo of my ring, the “I’M GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!” Facebook status that will get at least 200 likes, and the numerous retellings of the engagement story. Not only are these events exciting for me, but I want them to be exciting for my husband as well. I want him to swell with pride when he tells his friends how he proposed, and I want him to show off my hand at every function we attend together for the next year. In short, I want him to be proud that he’s made me the happiest I’ve ever been. Excuse me for sounding selfish, but I want to be shown off during the most important time of my life, not shown up when my fiancée shows off his new Rolex to his buddies instead of the 2+ carat ring he’s been saving up for for months.
If you view an engagement as a trade-off, you shouldn’t be getting married.
The argument referenced in the above-mentioned article quotes, “as I give up big bucks on the ring, so goes with it the strip clubs, college girls, shitting with the door open, and being able to keep my apartment messy.” If you see marriage as a settlement, there’s no doubt in my mind that you shouldn’t be getting married at all. I see marriage as something that will make my life richer, not poorer. Of course we’ll have to make what would seem outwardly to be sacrifices – we’ll have to clean up after our guys to keep the house presentable, live with someone who thinks farting is acceptable human behavior, and essentially double our time taking care of not just one, but now two people. The difference here is that I would never, EVER use these things as an excuse not to spend the rest of my life with someone I love or to get fiscally rewarded for my “good behavior.” I’m marrying a man, not a puppy, and I shouldn’t have to give you a treat every time you do something correctly. If you see these “cool bachelor perks” as something you’re “giving up,” then believe me when I speak on behalf of all women that you should stay single until you get your act together.
In summation, if you view this watch, or any other engagement gift for that matter, as a necessary consolation prize, you need to rethink why you’re getting engaged. The engagement gifts you’ll receive are nothing compared the better gift of years of love and dedication from your future wife. You don’t need a modern-day dowry as well. Go blow that money on a bachelor’s weekend in Vegas instead and try again in a few years, because if what you want the most out of this is a watch, what we want most is to set you free.