These days, it seems more and more lesbians are following a traditional path that includes a romantic proposal and one or more engagement rings. You could say we are mimicking heterosexual marriage and buying into a custom that has historical links to ownership of women by men. But I would say we are choosing to participate more fully in a tradition (marriage) that we’ve only recently gained access to. I would argue that lesbians previously shied away engagement rings because we didn’t feel entitled to them. Society was sending us a loud and clear message that whatever little commitment ceremony we might be having was not the real thing, and so we (understandably) steered clear of outward signs that unequivocally symbolize marriage – like big shiny diamonds.
When some high-profile lesbians like Ellen DeGeneres started popping the question with some bling to back it up, I think the rest of us began to follow suit. Who among us did not swoon at Portia’s three-carat Neil Lane pink diamond stunner? (As if getting to spend every day of the rest of your life with Ellen is not gift enough!)
Of course, the lesbian engagement ring does beg some questions. For starters, who pops the question and who wears the ring? Do two ladies mean two rings? And, what if you are ideologically or aesthetically opposed to diamonds?
If your relationship includes some sort of butch-femme dynamic, then it was probably perfectly clear to both of you around your second date who would be getting down on one knee and who would be wearing the jewels. But, what if you’re a girlie girl paired up with another femme? In that case, start saving now for not one, but two diamond rings. That’s what The Real L Word’s Nikki and Jill did when they decided to tie the knot. (They, however, were also able to afford to redecorate their entire house for Passover, so don’t feel compelled to match their engagement ring budget.)