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Romance is Dead: Price of Love Set at Two-Months Salary

10.27.10

I’ve been to a number of weddings.  All have been wonderful celebrations of love and friendship — good times had by all, absolutely.

That said, and no disrespect to any one, but I’ve never been quite sure that it was for me.  Not the commitment part — the whole ceremony part.  The whole blind tradition of it.

It all starts with the engagement.  You get on one knee.  Why? Because you just do! And you pull out a little box and pull it open to reveal a – gasp! – diamond ring.  Why? Because you just do! (Forget about the Africans and the DeBeers cartel: we want something shiny because that means we’re in love!) And then you have a wedding and you have a Best Man and Groomsmen and she has a Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids — why?

You get the idea.

Now, I know: this is the Judeo-Christian ideal and it’s what I’ve grown up as being the norm.  I’m not even talking about the religious aspect since it’s become way more universal than that; it’s just a cultural standard.  You see this exact script in countless romantic comedies, many times without a hint of religion thrown in.  By the time we’re five years old, I’m sure we already know the formula:

DIAMOND RING = ENDLESS LOVE

To make sure you all don’t hate me: If all of those previous steps toward marriage made you ridiculously, honestly happy, I’m stoked for you, zero snark in my voice fingers.  Honest.  No judgment at all. They just never struck me as being the symbols of love and happiness or the ways to get to the ultimate showing of commitment.  And I hate the society pressure that comes with what’s expected of you as the way to show that you truly love someone.

The kind of pressure that isn’t always overt.  It’s just always right in front of us through those fairy tale rom-coms, sure, but also just in our daily life.  Like, going to Yahoo.com for instance.

Chris Chase:

A quarter-million dollars is a whole lot of money to spend on a ring, but considering how much money [Los Angeles Lakers star Sasha] Vujacic makes a year, he may have gotten off easy. As my mom constantly reminds me, a man is supposed to spend two months salary on a ring.

Thanks for the solid advice, Mom!  Wow.  Seriously, how fucking grotesque that this symbol of love – that’s all it’s supposed to be, a symbol – is expected to be directly proportional to the amount of money you have in your wallet rather than love in your heart. Two months worth of your annual salary.  That’s what it boils down to.  I guess since you can’t quantify love scientifically, the next best way is monetarily.

Since Vujacic is scheduled to make $5.5 million this year with the Lakers, that would equate to buying a ring worth $912,000. Of course, that two-month rule probably doesn’t apply to celebrities, or else Bill Gates would have had to have given his wife a diamond the size of the Rock of Gibraltar.

Instead of taking this example to point out the absurdity in his mom’s advice that shows maybe there should be a different way to gauge just how serious a man is about his proposal than the number of carets in the rock, Chase makes a joke about how the rich can’t afford it, which then assumes that the rest of us can and should abide by this bullshit parameter.

I know that love and marriage are simply what you want them to be and what you bring to the table together.  It’s personal.  It’s between you and your soon-to-be spouse.  At least, that’s how it should be.  What pisses me off is that our society still has way too much interest in focusing on the most worthless, soulless, vapid part of it all: money.

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