Monday, March 27, 2006

Things That Are Not Your Business

People labor under the delusion that I'm just dying for their opinion on particular topics, primarily Eybrows's eyebrows, and my wedding ring.

What cracks me up about the former is that people wait until they know me pretty well before commenting on my eyebrows, at which point they clearly already know my opinions on false beauty standards and on my own personal eyebrows. (Apparently you don't criticize other people's personal grooming standards until you're pretty tight with them.) And yet they feel compelled to inform me of the existence of this fabulous technology called "waxing" that could give me "perfect" eyebrows. Pardon, but I already HAVE perfect eyebrows! People also frequently feel compelled to inform me of the existence of tanning booths, as if I want to go get cancer on purpose. Unless my paleness is actively blinding you from the reflection, I don't want to hear about it.

The one that people get really fascinatingly moralistic about, though, is my wedding and engagement rings. Some people wear theirs 24/7, which is fine. Some people wear them dawn to dusk, which is also fine. I do neither of these, and even though it's nobody's business but Mr. McGee's, I'll tell you why. I have two reasons: First, if I'm washing dishes or taking a shower or doing anything that involves slippery soap and a drain, chances are good I'm going to accidentally wash the ring right off my hand. Or if I'm using a hammer, I'm going to smash it (on my finger, of course). I remove all my hand and wrist jewelry before doing anything with my hands, but most particularly my wedding and engagement rings! I have little decorative bowls by the sinks in the house specifically for this purpose. Second, I have swelly-shrinky hands. I could be outside in the cold and my rings are suddenly so loose I'm afraid they're going to fall off if I make a sweeping hand gesture; then I go inside to a warm room and my fingers swell to the point where I'm afraid I'm going to lose circulation and I can barely get them off. So typically I leave my rings off when I'm at home, and put them on when I leave the house. Sometimes I forget to put them on at all when I leave (and then feel finger-naked, I hate that). Sometimes I leave them on all day. It's all good.

The thing is, Mr. McGee (who wears his ring 24/7 and never takes it off) doesn't care. And I don't know why you do. He knows I love him. He knows I don't need a wedding ring to wave in sleazy men's faces; I can knee them in the balls with or without a ring on, and my cutting sarcasm defense to inappropriate advances hardly requires a ring either. He knows the strength of our marriage isn't predicated on whether or not I'm wearing my rings. (And don't get me wrong - I adore both my rings. I would be devastated if I lost or broke either one.) But there are lots and lots and lots of other people who feel a need to comment on my rings, or lack thereof, and to lecture me on them. "If you really loved your husband, you'd wear your rings all the time," they say, or, "The only reason women take off their wedding rings is to flirt with other men." As if! I'm huffy and offended just thinking about it.

What's even more amusing is that one of my old roommates is a ring-24/7 person, and she gets lectures from people about how she needs to take her rings off when she washes her hands or does dishes, because otherwise she'll ruin them with the soap or get botulism and die from insufficiently clean hands! (I have to say, the idea of dealing with raw poultry with my rings on is just ... ew. I don't feel like I could EVER get my hands sufficiently clean if raw poultry touched my ring!)

I just really don't understand why this is other people's business. I enjoy looking at other people's rings. I might even ask why they wear it on their right hand (often a different cultural tradition, or else their hands shrink and swell like mine!), or if they can do carpentry with it on, or if they had to switch fingers when pregnant. But I don't moralize to people about how they ought to wear their wedding rings. If it's fine with them, and it's fine with their partner, then I really don't care. And I really don't see how it's my business. Or yours.


HeartShadow said...

sing it!

pale is good, first of all.

and rings .. I wear mine on a necklace. since I've had a baby, I've pretty much never worn it, because it's just the right size for baby to grab.

and hubby takes his off when he messes with computer guts and when his carpal tunnel starts to act up.

last I checked, we're still married. yup, married.

Phoibos said...

My wife has swell-shrink hands, too. The first year we were married, she resized her ring several times, including twice in the same day. I personally can't stand having anything on my fingers or wrist, particularly when I'm at the keyboard, which is most of the day M-F, and quite a bit at home. We reached a point where we just decided rings were not worth it, and don't bother. We know we love each other, and that we're married. It really doesn't matter if stranges do.

(This did lead to a funny incident one time: Someone who knew us tangentially at our dance studio at one point asked us how long we'd beed dating. We answered that we'd been married for seven years. They were totally boggled, because apparently we don't "act married", whatever that means.)

As to skin tone: pale is where it's at. Especially if you're of nothern latitude heritage. I don't get Scandinavian or Irish descended folks getting deep tans (if they even can; the Irish often just freckle more.)

Bill Dennis said...

I call it the Oprah-Donahue-Geraldo-Springer-ization of America. Everything thinks your personal business is just fodder for public comment.

I don't drink. But I do go to bars for the conversation. Sometimes, people want to buy me drinks and when I ask for a diet Pepsi, they almost DEMAND to know why I don't drink alcohol. I've actually had someone buy me a drink anyway even after I tell them I don't drink.

Not to mention the people who feel perfectlyt free to comment on my weight and/or lack of hair.

Chef Kevin said...

My dad never wore his. He was a heavy duty truck mechanic. Imagine what that ring would look like after 35 years of that type of abuse? Mom and dad have been married almost 47 years. Guess it worked for them.

Now someone would say that all the marks, scars, dents, etc. that ring would have incurred over the years would reflected all the hard, difficult, etc. times during those 47 years and the ring and marriage have lasted the test of time.


Ocelot said...

It is annoying when people think it's their business to comment on stuff like that. I wear my ring 24/7, but that's mainly because I'd loose it if I kept taking it off. And those plucked and waxed eyebrows, aside from sounding painful, are just too phony and unnatural looking!

Dana (caryatid) said...

I wore my wedding ring for exactly 3 months and haven't worn it since. Bob and I will be married for 5 years in a few days.

When we got married, my ring size was 5.5...due to pregnancy, suddenly it became a 7. It is silver and has an engraved wheat design- I wouldn't trust just anyone to resize it!

You can imagine the looks I get in public when I go shopping with all the kids. No ring, and not even a tan line from a ring. I feel like wearing a sign (or a few:

-Yes, I'm married
-No, they aren't all mine
-No, they are not twins

pollypeoria said...

Dana, We've become so casual, even well meaning, decent people don't realize what is and isn't their business anymore. My sister in law has twins. Total strangers ask her, "In vitro?" all the time. As her boys are still babies she tends to answer, "Nah. I just had mind blowing sex with my husband."

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