How Can You Tell if a MAN is Engaged?

engagement ringHere’s something I don’t get: why don’t men wear engagement rings?  I know that a diamond is meant to symbolize the man’s financial wherewithal (the rational being if he can’t afford a diamond, he can’t afford a family) but it seems like a double standard, especially in this day and age.

A man can walk into a bar, size up the clientele and immediately deduce who’s is available and who’s not.  (What he chooses to do with this information, of course, is entirely up to him.)  The fairer sex, by contrast, is left in the dark.

It’s hard enough to tell if a guy’s married when you’re dealing with men who don’t wear wedding bands.  It gets harder still when you throw a European into the mix: do you check the left hand or the right?  And gold wedding bands tend to blend in with most skin tones.  I go back and forth on the whole white gold vs. yellow gold debate for myself but for men, I’m all for platinum-colored bands.  Why?  They stand out.  They stand out and proclaim, “Back off, b*tch, this one’s taken!”

The worst complication, however, is the fact that men don’t traditionally wear engagement rings.  At least not in the western world (is there somewhere that they do?  If so, I am ignorant of the fact and would greatly appreciate any light you care to shed on the subject).  You can never tell if a guy’s engaged and since there are plenty of men out there who aren’t particularly thrilled by the thought of monogamy, they’re usually more than happy to engage in a bit of flirtatious banter while you wallow in confusion.

I recently met a man who was rather nice looking and rather friendly and we found ourselves chatting during various coffee breaks throughout the course of the morning.  During our third conversation, he rather deftly worked the word “fiancé” into the conversation.

Now I love a good proposal story as much as the next one but he was not asking me to be his fiancé; he was informing me of the existence of his fiancé.  Not overtly, not embarrassingly, but simply and honesty without skipping a beat in the conversation.

Granted, I was too hung up on the “f” word (I’ll leave you to decide which “f” word I’m referring to) to hear the next few sentences out of his mouth but as we continued chatting, I found myself smiling.  Good boy, I thought.  Smart boy.  There are a few decent men left in the world.

(And for the record, I wasn’t throwing myself at him; I was simply networking, albeit a little more enthusiastically than I’d generally “network” with a member of my own sex.)

Unfortunately, few men are this forthright.  And this, dear readers, is why I think the less-forthright amongst you ought to wear engagement rings.  It would make things a lot easier for the rest of us.

engagement ring

Frankly, I find this hideous but obviously I'm not the only one who thinks male engagement rings are a good idea.

PS: I’m totally open to a more masculine version of the engagement ring; perhaps an engagement tattoo or a simple rubber band?

PPS: I forgot to mention that I’ve a new post up over at Too Darn Hot and as you’ll see, things are indeed heating up but for all the wrong reasons.  Please take a look and VOTE!  (There’s a poll, involving me in fishnets; what’s not to love?)

22 Responses to “How Can You Tell if a MAN is Engaged?”

  1. mairedubhtx

    Engagement rings for men is a good idea. Men need some way to announce that they are taken. Of course, there are always the scum who take their wedding rings off and they would be the same scum who would put their engagement rings away when they’re on the prowl.

  2. Zak

    My Korean friend wore a band before getting married, as did his to-be wife, and then at the wedding, he put the diamond on her finger. Totally backwards from what we expect, right?

    I wore a rose gold wedding band – when I was married – and although you may complain it blended in, I think if a woman can be picky about her style and whatnot, a man should be able to be picky, too.

    As for announcing, I’ve been thinking for a while now, and you’ve just provided the idea venue, to say the following: EVERYONE – especially women – should be required to wear various colored bands/rings to announce their current status, like facebook for the real world.
    -If you’re wearing any diamonds/wedding bands, you’re taken
    -If you’re wearing a black band/ring on your left ring finger, you’re NOT LOOKING
    -If you’re wearing a green band/ring, you’re looking
    -If you’re wearing a white band/ring, you’re pretty sure you’re looking
    -If you’re wearing a blue band/ring, you’re in a relationship, or think you’re in a relationship
    -If you’re wearing a red band/ring, you’re ready to “f,” and I do mean the other f-word here

    Any takers? Guys could really use this identification system to know who to approach, what her status is, and if she’s at least willing/ready/able to date.

    • Kat Richter

      Hmm… so we’ve got Brazil and Korea now– a good start. As to your color coded band scheme– LOVE IT! It reminds me of the “traffic light bops” so popular amongst British undergraduates, except the colors are different: if you’re dressed all in red it means “taken,” yellow/orange are the equivalent to Facebook’s “It’s complicated” and green is “ready to you-know-what.”

      • Zak

        So, I need to find British undergrads wearing green? I’ll be right back…

  3. Don Lafferty

    It’s easy to spot the engaged man. He’s the one brimming (often illogically) with confidence and [frequently] being chatted up by all the pretty girls.

    It’s a dead giveaway.

    • Kat Richter

      Hmm… I have several (girl)friends who wear these but it has nothing to do with their relationship status– do you think guys where them once they’re engaged?

  4. thabutcha

    I propose, if men must start wearing engagement rings, then women need to wear a boyfriend broach, or something to that effect. Had they been wearing said broach, I would’ve instantly known that this conversation was bound for the “platonic zone.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had lengthy conversations with women who seemed available, only to have them drop the bf bomb like 20 minutes in. Granted, it may have been something I said (you think?) or a vibe I was putting off (again, you think?) that caused them to “hint” they were taken. Chances are, they were just reminding themselves, since I’m just so damned irresistible. So much so, women find themselves making up boyfriends just to keep themselves from attacking me. Ah, it’s a gift AND a curse.
    Great work, Kat!!

    • Kat Richter

      Hah- the “Boyfriend Broach”– love it! I guess that would be the modern day equivalent of wearing a guys letter jacket or whatever they did back in the day… (Although to be fair, we’d have to come up with a male version as well)

  5. Rachel

    Oh, precious Zak! Your idea might be helpful for men, but do you really think, especially after reading this blog for so long, that this color system would work for women? I can only imagine how much longer it would take Kat to get ready for her dates if she had to determine which ring to wear. For example, on her upcoming event with Date #7. Green or white? Or perhaps blue since they’ve known each other for quite some time – it’s a long distance relationship. I’ll let her speculate on the other colors. 🙂

  6. Lauren

    So I commented already on FB, but after the page loaded here and I read further, I have different thoughts: I’ve never felt like the engagement ring was a “back off” symbol as much as the wedding ring is. I think the engagement ring for women is more of a symbol of the man’s commitment (sort of like a contract, although that analogy takes the romance out of the picture). Somehow when we get engaged we think the ring will instantly beam forth a blinding lit-up forcefield, alerting all nearby men “This one’s off limits.” But it’s simply not so.

    Much like the wedding ring is a ceremonial reminder of your promises to each other (“I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment…”) before becoming a symbol to the rest of the world that you’re taken, I feel that the engagement ring is a ceremonial reminder that you’ve become betrothed. It seems we humans have a need for ceremony to make things feel official. So maybe the answer to your question is that the original intent of the ring is for US to remember, not for others to notice?

    That said, I still find it strange that in straight pairings only the woman gets an engagement ring (except in certain Irish customs, in which the man wears a claddaugh ring on his left hand once he becomes engaged). Interestingly, a gay couple in my family wore engagement rings before their wedding. So I guess I shouldn’t say *only* women will notice the ring :).

  7. Kat Richter

    Aha- so guys DO do the claddaugh ring like Micah suggested. Good point(s) re/ the “real” meaning of the engagement ring… I interned at a museum in college where daughters of the household used to etch their names into a window with their engagement rings to test whether or the not the diamond was real!

  8. joe abou jaoude

    In my country men wear their wedding band on the right hand when engaged and on the left when married, same simple ring, it works.


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