'Tis the season when my Pinterest board fills up with ridiculously overpriced glittery white dresses, "rural" chic reception décor and, of course, obnoxiously oversized diamond engagement rings. It's engagement season in a digital age; here, you don't have to subtly hint to your boyfriend that it's time to tie the knot, you can just direct him to your "wedding bling" page. Ah, #romance.
Part of me gets it. Wedding culture, from Cinderella to Bridezilla, has indoctrinated generations of ladies. I get that they believe their happily ever after begins and ends entirely on their wedding day. I get that they would want a big gigantic ring to commemorate that (at least until the credit card bill comes in). I get that diamonds are shiny and pretty.
But guys, let's be real. Diamonds are silly. In my humble—although admittedly not engaged—opinion, they are not worth it. Let me try to persuade you with a few reasons you should get married sans diamond.
1) Diamonds weren't always "necessary" for an engagement; for hundreds of years, the engagement ring was just a simple gold or iron band. Then some archduke in the 1400s made a diamond ring for his bride (I should note he died in a mountain of debt after living beyond his means). Then, for centuries, diamonds were only for the uber-wealthy—that is, until diamonds were discovered in Africa. De Beers quickly bought up the mines, exploited miners and then convinced the American public that engagement rings needed diamonds through the "a diamond is forever" campaign. Not exactly a romantic story, unless you're Ayn Rand.
2) I dare you to watch "Blood Diamond" with Leonardo DiCaprio and feel nothing.
3) Diamonds are really effin' expensive! Most of the rings I've seen my friends pinning cost four to five thousand dollars. That is more than my car. And my little Geo does useful things, like drive me to the grocery store so I don't have to ride the bus carrying sad bags stuffed with Lean Cuisines and PBR. Why would you waste $5,000 on something meant to just look pretty?
4) Most diamond settings look tacky, gaudy and oh-so-boring. You can get cheaper, prettier stuff from local Chicago jewelers. Just check out Etsy!
5) And finally, I'm going to get a little judge-y here: It feels like some people get diamond rings to impress other people, not to symbolize their love. Lord knows I'm all for consumerism, but marrying someone should be the one thing you don't do to impress others; you should do it to make your life eternally better because you now have a partner to share it with. I know, sappy. But really, if you start your marriage trying to keep up with the Joneses, then that is all you will ever do.
Look, I know some people just love how diamonds look and think they are totally worth the money. To them I say mazel tov! To those who are doing the whole diamond thing because they think it is what they "should" do or because it's what has always been done, I say gold bands work just as well, and $5,000 can buy you a pretty sweet honeymoon. Or a gently used but reliable Geo Prism.Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.