Are engagement rings for men becoming a thing? Singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran prompted speculation that he recently wed because he was spotted wearing a band on his ring finger. It turns out his fiancée, Cherry, gave him an engagement ring (also known as a mangagement ring) that she made out of silver clay.
Sheeran explained at the Brit Awards: “I never saw why men didn’t wear engagement rings because it’s the same commitment either way.”
Mangagement rings date back to the 20th century. In 1926, jewelry suppliers attempted to create a market for them and produced lavish black and white ads of men wearing the rings. The marketing campaign flopped. It wasn’t until the 40s and 50s that guys started wearing wedding bands regularly, according to JustMensRings.com. Following World War II, men began demonstrating their commitment to women in a manner in which they could afford, which resulted in the popularity of wedding bands.
A 2014 survey by XO Group Inc., the parent company of popular wedding website The Knot, found that just 5 percent of engaged men wear rings.
Ashley Pitre, 32, gave her future husband an engagement ring because they were in a long-distance relationship and it set her mind at ease. He wore it until they got married. “He really liked it. Even though some people thought it was weird,” she told Pursuit.
If a man can stake his claim on his partner, why shouldn’t she do the same?
For a lot of guys, it’s not the sentiment behind the ring that bothers them, it’s the ring itself. Many don’t even wear their wedding bands, often because they don’t like accessories or because they interfere with their work.
Keith Ferguson, 42, keeps his wedding band in a drawer. “I wear it on occasion but mostly not. Not a jewelry fan,” he admitted. He added that his wife doesn’t wear her ring all the time either.
Other men find rings uncomfortable. For Will Sealy, 43, a married father of two, they’re also potentially hazardous due to his work. “I have my hands in electrical panels, and they recommend to remove all jewelry so you don’t get an electric shock,” he noted.
But he’d be willing to compromise if his wife really wanted him to wear a ring. “If it was that important I would get a tattoo of a ring instead,” he said.
Another problem for couples is that engagement rings can be costly, and the money may be better off spent on something else.
“Way back when we got engaged, we probably couldn’t have afforded it,” said Jim Ross, 70, who got married in 1978. “No way we could have afforded a second engagement ring. If we could’ve come up with something, I would’ve worn it.”
There’s also the notion that men who wear wedding bands/engagement rings get more attention from women. While a ring signifies a man is taken, not everyone respects this boundary.
Casey Johnson, 32, doesn’t think he will wear an engagement ring when the time comes. But he doesn’t think women should be required to wear them either: “It’s rarely used as it was once intended and opens up issues on whether to return the ring due to a broken engagement. However, I also believe it could be useful for a male celebrity who needs an excuse to brush off women…and it could also be construed as a bad look – like he needs to be reminded he’s engaged.”
When this writer asked some friends about mangagement rings, several men and women were open to the idea, but just as many were opposed to it. It doesn’t appear male engagement rings will become a trend anytime soon, despite Sheeran’s love for his shiny new silver accessory.