Alternatives to the engagement ring

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that I’m an atypical lass. You may also know that people all around me are getting engaged, married, and pregnant, and not necessarily in that order. Take a friend from middle school. We once joked that we’d change so drastically that I’d be morbidly obese and have ten kids by our ten-year high school reunion. Said reunion is still five years away, but I’m in good health and haven’t conceived yet. Facebook tells me she’s about to have a kid. I don’t know much about the rest of her life, but that shows exactly where life can take us.

Since everyone else is entering that phase of life, I started thinking about how expensive the process was. In Western heterosexual relationships, the male typically asks the female for her hand in marriage, often with the gift of a ring. Assuming the “engagement-wedding-kids” order is followed, the ring comes first. How much does this ring cost? Searching gave me varied and shocking answers, but the two that stuck out were this 2007 article at People with various wedding statistics citing an average cost of $2100. Savvy Sugar claims $5487, supposedly from a study by The Knot. I was unable to find the actual study that The Knot conducted. Other sites that cited ranges claimed numbers in between these two, so to keep things interesting, I’ll use $3793.50. Let’s round that up to $3800. Wow.

Now the fun begins. Like singer-songwriter Molly Lewis did to convince herself not to buy an iPad through infographics, I’m going to show what else can be bought for the cost of a piece of shiny that I’ll rarely wear anyway, especially after obtaining a wedding ring. I have no candidates right now, but it’s good to write these things in advance, right? Like a will?


Not all of these will add up to the magical 3800, but I’ll definitely get them above 3000.

1. A $2500 donation to the Office of Letters and Light (these are the people who do NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy!). This comes with a lot of cool swag. Oh, and add everything in the OLL store to that pack that I don’t already own. Trust me, that’s quite a bit of stuff. That’ll get me to $2902. Not only that, but I could donate enough to attend the Night of Writing Dangerously, fly there and back, and stay comfortable while there. That in itself would be a wonderful engagement gift if you’re into spending engagement ring-type money.

2. I could replace both of my computers (five years old and nearly three years old) with excellent new computers.

3. If I’m just buying songs, $3800 is approximately 3800 new songs. Hello shopping spree! But not you, iTunes.

4. I could buy three Very Big Klein Bottles (the 17-inch version) and one of every other item on the site except the very very big Klein bottle and the giant Klein bottle. Let’s throw the Klein bottle opener in for good measure.

5. $3800 would host both this site and Wikiwrimo for a very long time. Peace of mind is always a good thing.

6. I could make my bedroom into a ball pit. This is after taking the furniture out.

After taking all these options into consideration, forget the shiny ring. I’ll take the ball pit, though all the OLL merch is pretty tempting.

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