Order in the Courtship

If you like it should you go Dutch to put a ring on it? Beyoncé, feel free to weigh in.


Oh, sure. We’re pretty fond of each other, but the truth is you all are our favorite contributors to The Man Repeller. Really! We’ve formalized that fact with “Let’s Talk About It.” This weekly column is a forum for conversation, communication, and complete distraction from the jobs you’re supposed to be doing right now. So get involved. We promise we won’t tell your bosses.

We’re all friends here, so I’m going to take this opportunity to admit something vaguely mortifying. I’ve given a lot of thought to my future wedding.

I’ve debated flower arrangements, centerpieces, and the merits of formal photography. I’ve considered color schemes and where I’ll seat my less-liked relatives. Also, I hate Barry Manilow, love peonies, and have spent too many hours watching Say Yes to the Dress.

Surprised? I don’t blame you.

According to a friend whom I’ve since forgiven for her honesty, I am “about as romantic as Soviet Russia.” Returning readers might remember my railing against earnest, starry-eyed boys on this very website. In true Man Repellent fashion, I’ve denounced matchmaking, decried misogyny, and advocated that we all stay out of Jennifer Aniston’s uterus. Still, despite my voluble pronouncements and the fact that, no, I am not a figment of Jennifer Weiner’s imagination, I really am looking forward to my one-day wedding. (You are all, of course, warmly invited.)

Let me assure you: this eventual fete is going to be a thoroughly 21st-century affair! There will be no matching bridesmaids’ dresses. Or fondant. Or tulle. I am going to be an aggressively modern bride! At least, that’s what I’d always thought.

Last week, The Knot revealed that young couples are increasingly willing to split the cost of their engagement rings. Given today’s financial climate and, you know, the entire movement pioneered by Gloria Steinem, the practice seems logical enough. After all, many women make as much if not more money than their significant others. Besides, isn’t there something undeniably distasteful about promising eternal devotion— or 300 sandwiches — in exchange for a shiny material good?

Perhaps. Then again, when Amelia and I debated the survey’s findings in a series of rapid-fire emails, we each arrived at the same, shamefully backwards conclusion: But…no!

For the record, my name is not Charlotte York or Bridget Jones. I am neither a Southern Belle nor a weak-kneed extra in Kate Hudson’s latest movie. In fact, I am the mostly proud heir to my mother’s deeply feminist legacy. And yet, I cannot imagine going halfsies on “happily ever after.” When it comes to matters of romance, it seems, I’m not just old fashioned. Apparently, I’m very nearly prehistoric.

The question is: are you? Practically speaking, would you go Dutch on a diamond? Would you even go Dutch on date? Can women continue to claim equality in our professional lives if we aren’t willing to pony up in our personal ones?

Finally, have the conventions of courtship and the demands of feminism become “irreconcilably different”?

Before you point (ring) fingers, let’s talk about it.

And while we’re on the subject, does the existence of 300sandwiches.com make your blood boil? Or is Stephanie Smith’s epicurean experiment somehow empowering? Yeah. Probably not.

Get more Postmodern Love ?
  • No Name

    I completely agree with the 300sandwhiches.com thing…ridiculous. Also, I don’t think it is so horrible to want independence, etc. professionally, yet still expect to be taken to dinner by a gentlemen.

  • Something about the 300 Sandwiches thing grosses me out. It’s the whole tone, statements like, “we’ve even talked about having a family without him breaking into a cold sweat and changing the subject.” It just plays in to the same old tropes about women begging to get hitched, and men being afraid of commitment.

    As far as paying for the ring goes, I think it’s up to the couple, and of course it doesn’t mean you aren’t a “good” feminist if you don’t want to go halvsies. My fiancé surprised me, so I wasn’t given the option, but I gave him a really rad watch a month later. I felt like he should have something pretty to look at, too.

    • Sush

      I agree with what you did. Wouldn’t go half-sies on the ring, but I’d reciprocate the commitment with a gift too.

  • Lynn

    My man put a ring on it last winter so this is all hypothetical but honestly I’m with you – I can’t imagine going splitzies on my engagement ring, and frankly I would have been pissed off if he suggested the idea.. which he didn’t, because he knows better haha

  • “I am the mostly proud heir to my mother’s deeply feminist legacy”

    Well, I am not a feminist (I have never ever used the word for me and blinked heavily when called one on my blog – once), I just learnt about the rights I want to have by having to wade through some serious old-school patriarchy, but …

    We went Dutch on wedding rings (sans engagement, we didn’t know what to do with the concept) and I kept my maiden name for no particular reason (I’ve grown used to it).

    I still like to be given presents, cooked for, held the coat and whatnot.

    Things just happen(ed) and I have no names to call them, really. Maybe I am lazy 🙂

  • Perry

    Jezebel discussed this last week and I agreed with their sentiments. If you can’t afford your ring, you probably can’t afford your wedding.

    • Thamsa

      I agree completely.

  • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

    I don’t think I could go Dutch on a ring. I also (back when I was dating) was completely turned off when a guy would let me pay for anything. It’s not that I’m cheap, I’m actually very generous, but there is something about a man being a man and wanting to “take care of me” that is a dynamic I need to be attracted to him. I like the whole knight in shining armor thing and did manage to hold out for one. Now that said, if my significant other suddenly lost all his money, I would contribute, b/c I do genuinely love him.

  • laura

    My fiance and I both paid for my e ring. We have been together since high school and living on our own for a few years with a joint checking account. We share everything. My ring came out of that checking account. It just makes more sense to pay for it the same way that we pay for everything else. Engagement is also less of a big deal for us because we are living like we’re already married.

    • Thamsa

      I am curious though, why did you then decide to buy an engagement ring?

      • Thamsa

        I hope I don`t sound like I am picking on you or anyone when I ask this, but why?

        • Miko

          I think that’s kind of a silly question for a fashion blog. She must have wanted one, either to mark the special time in her life and relationship or for purely aesthetic reasons.

        • Mattie Kahn

          I think this is a totally valid question (particularly when it’s respectfully worded, as it is in this case).

          In the long-gone days of dowries and fathers’ permissions, engagements had a completely different significance. It’s one we’ve been redefining for decades.

          For the pragmatist, an engagement designates time to prepare for her wedding. For the romantic, it might mean making a public (and rather glittery) statement. I think Laura has pretty thoroughly addressed why she wanted a ring, but I’m curious what convinces women who are similarly on the fence about the whole “engagement thing” to go through with it…?

      • laura

        No no its okay. We thought about not doing the engagement, but we wanted to celebrate with our friends and family. We are also young, 21 and 22, and are from super conservative families. I’m sure that has a lot to do with it also. So mostly just to celebrate with everyone and with ourselves. Plus, yeah, I wanted a pretty ring to wear. We got a cheap one, though, only around $1000. I didn’t really think much of us both paying until all these articles have been coming out recently.

        • laura

          I think there are a lot of people in the same boat as us though. Or else these articles wouldn’t be happening. Engagement doesn’t really have a place anymore for a lot of couples. Our first priority was getting an apartment, setting up our life together, seeing if it was a good fit. Before that I wouldn’t have wanted to get engaged. And by the time we had done all that, we were already sharing, so it made sense to share the ring cost.

  • Katie B

    Just read Mattie’s older post “On Being Earnest”. Our hearts (such as they are) are in sync. I’d say we were destined to be friends, if I believed in that sort of thing. But, I wouldn’t mind going halves-ies on a ring. Mostly because if I did ever decide to get married (eee gads!), I probably wouldn’t even wear it. So what does it matter who paid for it?

    As always, MR, you’re the best.

    • Mattie Kahn

      Oh, we can definitely be friends. We who are made uncomfortable by aggressively earnest public displays of affection need to stick together!

  • Amy

    Whoever is doing the asking should do the paying, whether it’s rings or dates or whatever.

    • Abby

      What a simple way to put it, I love this!

  • Jennie

    Only go halfsies if you demand a ring you know your man can’t afford. We are living in a material world, but I think the message is more powerful than the actual piece of metal. Let’s celebrate “less is more” in wedding world and take some pressure off of the dudes.

  • Kaila

    I’m a huge advocate for the joint bank account. So, unless my future husband is planning to pay cash up-front for my engagement ring, I’ll eventually end up paying for some portion of it once our pay checks are going in to the same account.

  • Lamia

    the day men can share half of the pain associated with labor is the day we should pay half for the ring.

  • Sarah M.

    What about “going halfsies” on the entire experience with a gentle I pick it, you buy it sort of scenario?

    • hahahahahaha totally

  • Just a guy you know

    I’m a dude who paid entirely for my wife’s ring. I never would have asked… if you aren’t already living together and sharing expenses, I think it is kind of strange for one person or the other to ask to go dutch. I was certainly rather poor when I proposed, but my philosophy is : If you can’t afford it, then don’t do it. I saved for an entire year for the ring (it wasn’t that expensive, I just set aside a little each month) and then bought it in cash. In slight contrary to what I just said though, I respect skipping the ring. If you can’t afford to buy the ring on your own, but really want to get married, eff it. Talk to him/ her, forget the engagement ring, and just get married.

  • Kelly

    Splitting the cost of an e ring is very appealing, if only because that means I get to help pick it out… Is it just me, or do other women want a say in the one piece of Jewelry they will wear, most likely everyday, for the rest if their lives?

    I find it hard to believe anyone is surprised by proposals anymore, there should be some talk happening before hand about marriage and commitment. So what’s the surprise?

    My now hubbie and I had this discussion beforehand, and he knew I would want to pick out the ring. It was a fun, and yes, even romantic experience picking it out together. I hope it sets a precedence for all the choices we make throughout the course of our marriage. as in, we make choices together with an equal contribution.

    • Loreinski

      Completely agree. I would definitely want a say in the ring I will be wearing (and passing down) and see no problem in helping with the cost. I love my guy, but wouldn’t trust him in picking out lady jewelry. And unless you’re marrying a trust fund baby, chances are cost will be a big factor for the guy, while design is more a factor for the girl. A guy letting you chip in on your ring (if that’s what you want to do) doesn’t make him less of a gentleman. Getting married means you’re a team, and it’s no longer my money/his money but rather our money. And how you deal with finances together is a big indicater on how you’re marriage will go.
      I wonder if any of this would even be an issue with gay couples?

  • “300 sandwiches” enables the idea of the traditional premise that she doesn’t have the option of marrying him if he doesn’t deign to ask, and having to earn the engagement. makes me want to throw up all over that otherwise impressive food blog.

    gender roles aside, what’s more intriguing to me is the psychology behind it – is that ring a promise of a future shared, in which case, shouldn’t that cost be shared? or is it a symbol of the man’s love, given as a gift to remind her of his affections?

    • Thamsa

      what a great point Marcia. Sometimes I think that it`s nothing more than a material symbol (and almost always diamond) and not so much about a promise of a future shared.

    • Lacey Noel Roszak

      You make a good point. I like to think of it as both a promise of a shared future and a symbol of his love. Men can be very…. not good at showing you just how much they love you. My boyfriend isn’t very into PDA and can kind of forget to kiss me and hug me like when we first started dating, but he bursts into tears at the thought of us splitting up.

  • Lo Espinosa

    I think the guy should want to buy a ring for his lady, BUT if the lady wants something a little more glitzy that the guy maybe can’t really afford, I see no problem in the girl chipping in for the upgrade. It is a major piece of jewelry that will be with you for a long time , so I think you should absolutely love it.

    • Mattie Kahn

      You’re so right! In all the discussion, I sort of forget that an engagement ring is still a piece of jewelry. If you’re going to wear something every single day, it shouldn’t be just sentimentally meaningful. It should also be something that, materialistic though this may sound, you love to look at.

  • CR

    Everything about “Happily ever after” is halfsies. You only get out of a relationship what you put in. To think that a man should “buy” your hand in marriage with a bright shiny object is antiquated. If you want a ring that symbolizes your love, you should be willing to pay half. Happily ever after doesn’t begin with a ring or end with a ring.

  • sarah

    Men need to get their act together and make a sacrifice for their woman. If they can’t put a ring on it, then they’re probably not ready to have a wifey.

    About the sandwich couple-The girl should have instead been like, “Hmmm…300 sandwiches? Say WHAT?????”

  • Carrie

    This whole subject annoys me. Maybe because no one is asking Men if they would be offended if their significant others demand that they pay for half of an engagement ring? I think its widely assumed that the Men in our society would be. I would like to think that a woman would marry a man, if she wants to, with or without being offered an engagement ring. After all, the Men agree to a marriage without being presented with a material symbol of the woman’s eternal companionship. What does that say about the “conventions of courtship” from a man’s point of view?

  • Sunday State

    I am not a feminist (there i said it). And since i actually did grow up in (post) Soviet Russia I’m probably not a romantic either. I believe that in most cases the story is very predictable – boy meets girl, they start ‘hanging out’, they enter into a committed relationship. Yet boy probably somewhere deep, deep, deep down inside is still a little bit scared of the whole “commitment” thing. Girls are caretakers… and in 99% of the cases whether you admit it or not there will come a time when you want to ermm.. well.. NEST. Boys on the other hand reach the “nesting” stage much later. Getting married is like buying house – you are excited because its something that will now officially be yours but you are scared – its a big commitment, its expensive, its risky, what if the house has a fault that you are not aware of? So what does the seller do? The seller asks for a down payment, a deposit, something to say “hey im serious about buying this thing!”. So does the girl – she wants a sign of commitment [cue shiny ring]. Splitting the cost of the wedding? Sure! Splitting the cost of the ring? No chance buddy! xx stateofsunday.com

    • Espoir

      Are you comparing yourself with a house, or a thing, than a man has to pay for? I’m so sorry for your future husband.

      • Sunday State

        No need take it so literally. I was trying to illustrate the extent of how serious the commitment of marriage is. These days a lot of people take it lightly and it is a shame. I just think tradition is not always a bad thing and some of them still have a place in our society. That is of course only my opinion, so you may not agree 🙂

  • Anne V

    I think it is really important for anyone who wants to change gender roles and promote equality to not just focus on women’s “right” to have all the benefits men have traditionally had, but also consider it the other way around. If we really want to minimize gender differences we need to take the responsibility that comes with it. Saying “I want a guy to be a man’s man and pay for dinner” is just as unhelpful as saying “I’m a woman so I shouldn’t have to worry about politics” (well, almost, at least). And that doesn’t mean that men may never pay for dinner, but it shouldn’t have anything to do with their sex. It should be out of generosity or thoughtfulness or just because he happens to be the one who has money left at the end of the month. And likewise women should pay for the same reasons on other occasions. Surely, we (women) aren’t by default less generous or caring than men?
    And yes, I like it when my boyfriend takes me out or buys me a present – but for the aforementioned reasons. It shows me that he cares, in the same way as when he rubs my feet at the end of a long day. Just as I sometimes (actually, more often than vice versa) buy him a present or cook him something special to show him that I care.

  • HS

    My only hesitation in splitting the cost is forgoing the surprise of being proposed to!

  • A ring stands for a financial commitment from the dude. If you’re into that, just be into that.

  • I think if your financial situation doesn’t allow you to buy a ring then you most likely don’t have money to pay for a wedding either. I wouldn’t go halves on an engagement ring I would more happily wait until my significant other has the money to buy it and we are certain we can afford a wedding.


  • Tamara

    I’ve been engaged for a while now, and I must admit that my partner and I are mostly traditional. That being said, I didn’t initially want an engagement ring. We’re young, both students, and I didn’t think it was fair to expect such an investment from my fiance (or his family) on my behalf, just for the sake of tradition. I made it clear it wasn’t necessary yet months after our engagement his family presented me with an heirloom diamond. I accepted it, because I’m only human, and I greatly appreciate the gesture.

    I think that there are women out there who expect much more than what is reasonable, because their perceptions of what to expect are highly shaped by the media. Diamond rings are crazy expensive! I think that it’s fine to expect a ring from the man, but if it doesn’t meet your expectations, you should be ready to bear the cost for the extras. I think its a silly tradition and more people use to it show off than as a genuine display of love.

  • Margaret Ely

    i think the only reason couples are going halvsies on rings is because they know the ring their boyfriend will get them will not be up to their standards so they are willing to pitch in so they can post more instagram pics on their account. It has turned into a competition and if you ask me (which I guess you did) i think it’s overly lame. It’s embarrassing for both sides. If you are only in it for the ring… EHHH maybe you should just buy yourself one, ya get me?

  • Poe

    I wouldn’t marry a man who would think that was acceptable on any level.
    There’s no right or wrong – that’s just a decision between two people… I’m certain there are girls and guys out there who think that makes sense and those people belong together – just as people who value tradition and the sentiment/romance/history belong together.

  • Rebeka Osborne

    Oh I think I’m with you on this, I’m pretty forward thinking on most things but if you’re going to ask me to spend the rest of your life with you, you should have at least thought about it long enough/have your shit together enough to be able to buy me a ring. I say that as someone who is fairly independent and career driven, so it would only make sense that the person I’m marrying has some of those same values. I also couldn’t see myself ever having a joint account (besides one to fund rent and bills) so there is really no need for me to pay for half of my ring. Half of the wedding? Sure, but half of the ring, definitely not.

  • I’m kind of torn. I’ve offered to pay but my bf just looks at me and either ignores me haha or is just like, no! And honestly, while I say I’m uncomfortable with him always paying, if I’m really honest with myself, I’d probably be annoyed if he said, ok, let’s split it or ok, you can pay this time. But the ring- no way would I want to contribute! I’ll buy him a special ring or a present (a really nice watch, etc) and he could buy me a ring. I want it to be from him, to me…ya know?

  • Misssunsh

    first of all, why there should be a condition (an almost year condition) for a supposed mutual commitment, why she has to work for it, and im sorry but girls usually tend to exaggerate the attributes of their partners (he cooks dinner, well hes not conditioned to cook dinner for almost a year or hes not getting any ____ thing he want so bad) he is getting the same thing and suddenly he is the one with all the power to make decisions.

    The girl, has created a web initiative to get his ring!!!!!!!!! to me he on the other hand is just probably buying time or its eluding the question, and the girl with other xxxx amount of girls are collaborating so she can finally chase and tie the guy up? it sound like, if you wanna keep him, you should do this and this, no matter what, kind of cosmo blowjob advice. I think relationships got no recipes, and we are all DEFINITELY different, but if you love her, and she wants the fucking ring so bad, you give her the goddamm ring, you dont make her earn it, on everybodys eyes while you sit back and look.

    To me it sounds like shes desperate to get a ring no matter what, no matter who?
    on the other hand, maybe they just want ca$$$$h from the media? probably?

  • There is no way I would split the cost of my engagement ring. Where is the romance? You might as well just date and marry yourself. I don’t mind going dutch on a date if it is really casual, or if I don’t like the guy. It seems like men these days are trying to weasel their way out of acting like gentlemen. They don’t want to take you on a real date, they don’t open your door, and heaven forbid they use their phone to call you. Men need to work a little harder at winning our affection.


  • Gloria

    An engagement ring is a token of their love. I would want a guy who wants to marry me to want to pay for a ring and buy the most beautiful ring he could afford. That is what a gentleman would do. In my opinion, that is what a man worth marrying would do.

  • Why split the cost of a ring when the woman is the one that cooks, cleans & bears the pain of conceiving lol it’s the least they could do in my opinion.


    • liz

      Are women innately obligated to be the sole cookers and cleaners? What about partnership? I get where you’re coming from, I really do. But that sort of submission is painfully off target.

  • Monique

    I suppose my opinion doesn’t hold much water since I have no interest in being married, engaged maybe but not actually married, but, No!!! I would NOT go Dutch on my engagement ring. If you can’t afford to shell out the bills to put a ring on my finger then how do you expect to support our future family?! I’m all for equality, but this is pushing it a bit too far for my taste.

  • S

    Well my take on engagement rings, is that they are like a gift from the man to the woman to say i love you and want to commit myself to you…. If its a feminist issue, why don’t women by the men an engaement ring in return, rather than splitting the bill on only her ring – thats just like chipping in on a present for yourself… so much less satisfying and the expression of his love seems devalued. Ihough, I do think it would be fair to split the cost of the wedding rings, they’re more like mutual gifts/ expressions of love/commitment to each other…

  • Style StreetStalker

    Awesome post darling! man pays!



  • Jessica

    I’m most likely going to have to give birth for this man, the least he can do is buy me an engagement ring.

  • Kat

    This is honestly something I’ve never thought about before. I think that I’d be alright with splitting the cost of a ring (although I’ve already instructed my parents that if anyone comes asking to marry me to hand them my grandmother’s engagement ring), but I’d be kinda sad if, in doing so, I wasn’t surprised by the proposal. The question is ultimately more important to me than the ring, but I don’t know how I could go about paying for half the ring without ruining the surprise (and I really want to be surprised.)

    I also don’t think my boyfriend would ever even consider splitting the cost with me. Not in a patriarchal kind of way, but like it would literally never occur to him that that would be a possibility.

    And 300 sandwiches….first I was creeped out by it, then I tried to justify it, but ultimately….it just makes me uncomfortable. I mean…..damn I really hope she gets her proposal but all of her attempts to argue that it isn’t demeaning and that she’s a feminist….I’m not convinced.

  • Kelsey

    If we’re talking about breaking patriarchal traditions then why would only the woman wear a ring? To me, that has as much or more symbolic significance than who pays for the ring. Sure, my fiance can buy me a ring but then he’s wearing a ring I bought for him too.

  • I would never date {let alone marry} a man that would even have the audacity to suggest going Dutch. Sure, you might think, easy for me to say now that I’m oh-so-happily married to the perfect gentlemen, but in all honestly, I truly would’ve loved a simple band just as much as the pink diamond because as cliche as it may sound, marriage is not about the size {or color} of your diamond {what a concept, right?}. To think that a woman {who claims to love a man} could possibly be disappointed in the engagement ring he gives her {or would want something more expensive} is insane to me. It just goes to show that she has a lot of maturing to do before tying the knot.


  • bloomaglow

    I am such a feminist and am always pro equal rights, but when it comes to money, VERY old fashion. For me is not just about the money. Is just this sense of caring enough to be a gentlemen. I don’t find the romance in that. I understand that things are though now, but is so hard for me to imagine marrying someone that from the beginning I had to ‘support’ financially. I understand some difficult issues are going to come with marriage, but less leave it for when.

    That said, to each its own if you are ok with it and the relationship makes you happy go for it. I have friends that share the expenses all the time and are perfectly happy with it. Its just not my case.


    What about not wanting an engagement ring, at all? I don’t want a ring, and have made that abundantly clear to my boyfriend of 7 years. We will get engaged when we are done school, and will only have wedding bands. I have no qualms about other women getting rings, but I have issues with it because:
    A) It is a manufactured tradition that was invented by DeBeers in the early 1900’s
    B) I can’t justify spending that much money, unless it’s on a house or a car. (OBV I have different monetary values than most MR readers, but hey! I like fashion as much as the next person.
    C) I have huge issues with diamonds and the diamond industry. From their false rarity to the human rights issues (yes, even “ethical” canadian diamonds have HR issues), I would just feel guilty wearing it all the time.

    My boyfriend is a traditionalist, and often asks, “are you sure about the ring thing?”. I’ve told him that if he wants to do something with my Grandmother’s engagement ring, he can, since I inherited it when she died. I already wear it on my right hand as a memory of her.

  • I think like any present why would i pitch in? I would not ask him to pitch him for something for him either equally. I think that in marriage the idea and I stress the idea is that one commits for life so it is a present to someone who is giving up all others!

  • Liz

    As a self described feminist, I even work as an engineer surrounded by semi-clueless males, I don’t really have a problem with the 300 Sandwiches blog. To me, it seems like a not-so-serious challenge which she’s turned into a fun pastime. If she gets enjoyment out of it, why should I have any issues with it? Kudos to her for her positive attitude and making what look to be some delicious sandwiches.

    • liz

      I think when put that way, you are totally right. Why not have fun with it?! But don’t frame it as an ultimatum then put it on the internet. The whole notion of him demanding 300 different types of sandwiches before he will even think about proposing is just plain degrading. That said, the sandwiches look totally raddddddd.

  • Everyone has their own opinion and that’s fine – the important thing is that you and your fiance have the same opinion.

    My now husband (been married 3 years) couldn’t afford an engagement ring so bought me a £10 silver one, therefore he technically bought the engagement ring. Having said that, I’m hoping to get an eternity ring to join my wedding ring one day which I’m sure we will split.

  • kaitbrady

    Surely by the point one is considering marriage, the finances of both partners will be intertwined to a certain extent. How the heck does a man just spend >$5000 without his partner’s knowledge?! “Oh honey, I was just about to pay the rent and it seems the amount EQUALING A NOT-TERRIBLE-USED-CAR is missing from our account!!!”

    I inherited my ring from my great-grandmother so my painfully cheap husband got hoof the hook. Instead he allotted some money to buy one piece of jewelry that I could pick out myself. I haven’t bought it yet because I’ve spent it on stuff for us as a couple instead!

    P.S. Why is decrying misogyny a man-repelling activity? Men should and do decry misogyny too.

    • Mattie Kahn

      Re your P.S., TOO TRUE.

  • Dana M

    Personally, I think this topic screams of selective feminism. Women want to feel strong and empowered and independent…. yet wouldn’t it just be oh so nice to have a big rock that lets everyone know your husband-to-be can take care of you in the ways that really matter? And heavens no I can’t pay for half because it’s so unromantic to share responsibilities!

    It’s fine to want traditional chivalry. I mean, mostly people just like it when other people are nice to them. Why would anyone want to say no to socially mandated kindness? I think the peril is trying to fit such chivalry and the engagement process in general into a feminist box. You can be a feminist and simultaneously want traditional courtship but that doesn’t automatically make traditional courtship a feminist ideal. And, in fact, by pretending it is, I think this ultimately hurts the pursuit of equality in relationships.

    Going dutch aside, I think there’s a bigger issue at hand here. The site 300sandwiches underlines what I think to be the core issue here, namely, that women allow their boyfriend to be the gatekeeper for what should ultimately be a shared life together. A ring and a proposal are a large part of this, but so is the social stigma associated with thinking or talking about your wedding before your significant other gives you the green light (which, at this point in time, takes the form of a big fat shiny diamond). I don’t think going dutch or not is a significant questions with respect to feminism. I think that true equality in courtship will only occur when we ditch the ring, ditch the proposal and start deciding to get married together with our partners.

    • good-girl-x

      Perhaps we run into a conundrum here…

      Men can be the gatekeepers because generally they make more on a dollar than we do, thus contributing more to the joined bank account?

      Great points you have, but equality in relationships vastly varies in power due to past experiences and needs.

  • Jen

    I think there are other factors to think about, when you are talking about a $15,000 ring, and you are the bread winer then yes maybe you should be thinking about this. I think I’d be happier with something sweet, vintage, and my man would not be loosing sleep over a tops $1000 ring. Also I do think it is sweet and meaningful to be presented with this symbol of love and commitment from your person. If you have to be the one to draw it out of him, choose the right ring, and pony up for half it seems like it’d take a lot of the romance out of it… I say all of this but in reality I tell everyone we’ll be the hippie couple who’ll be together for ever when I get the marriage question. But in my mind I know exactly what I’d like at my lovely out door wedding to be, in the park, with the reception at our old town hall across the street with peonies on everything! whew! That was cathartic! Thanks Ladies!

  • liz

    The 300 sandwiches thing is completely inappropriate and ridiculous. First off, don’t arrange an ultimatum centered around bread, cheese, and meat. It’s kind of like disgusting. I might vom on my keyboard at work just thinking about it, sorry boss. There is something so degrading about women making sandwiches for men. If she didn’t want everyone on the internet judging her and her relationship, maybe they should have gone with a different food choice, something chicer – like 300 different ways to prepare Almas Caviar (look that shit up…). My future engagement isn’t even remotely in sight. I am casually dating two men that I am not sure I even like, so I am really not one to judge anyone’s relationship. That said, I hope when I do find “the one” he’s more concerned with the excitement of becoming my husband than what kind of fucking peanut butter and jelly sandwich I come up with next Tuesday. Sick.

    In regards the the ring thing, I have really fat fingers, so I would need a large diamond to make my hand look pretty. And let’s be real, I’d probably lose the ring at some point. Also, I am poor, so going halfsies would be unwise. This has caused me to contemplate even wanting an engagement ring. I think I’d rather have a really pretty band to start, then over the years create a dynamic stack of interesting rings that all tell stories about us. I like stories more than diamonds anyway, always have.

  • Emily

    I thought about this throughout my own engagement/wedding (been married just over a year). I know a lot of women who took their boyfriends to the store and went with the “you will buy me this ring no way around it” route, and honestly, if that’s your style and you don’t trust the man you’re willing to spend the rest of your life with to pick out your ring, well, maybe you’ve got bigger problems, but also, maybe you should pony up some cash if said ring is $10K and he can only afford $2K. At some point I think the woman’s demands require the her to help out.

    Of course, I’ve got a pretty one-sided argument, being married and all. My husband and I had talked about what type of ring I would like, and he knew that a pear was my favorite since they’re not too common. He surprised me completely, and after 5 years of being together I think that’s pretty awesome. He paid for the ring, but I paid for my wedding band (although my guess is it was less than half the engagement ring). Honestly, I still don’t know how much he spent, but have a general idea. I felt guilty about it for some time, but, I paid for about 80% of the wedding, so in the end, I spent more.

    Finances and ‘big gifts’ can definitely be sensitive territory- in reference to another commenter’s stance on knowing your SO’s finances prior to marriage- our finances are still completely separate. It worked for five years of dating (living together for 4 1/2), and we didn’t feel the need to change it. We go halfsies on the bills, groceries, etc., and when he takes me out to dinner and pays, it’s because he wants to. I offer to chip in, but usually just end up paying him back through buying coffee/breakfast/magazines after. Everyone is different I suppose!

  • Yea, I want men to pay for the engagement ring. I want to think of myself more modern but in this case i am old fashioned.


  • Hayley Mitchell-Gardner

    I think its up to the couple if they both want to pay, i am engaged and i don’t think i would of gone halfs but i would of got him a ring instead or another gift so it was even. But for things like dates (first dates) no i wouldn’t want them to pay for everything im of the belief it then gives someone the idea that it can/will lead onto something. Not just sexual but relationship wise and i don’t think thats fair. I also feel if we want to be seen as equals, women can’t argue that they want certain things to stay the same and other things to be changed. Being even has to be applied even more into our lives if we want to be seen as “equal” and if that means going on halfs for things like engagement rings or any other traditional male/female roles then we need too! Only then will we be all seen as equals.

  • moldub

    i always do the right thing when it comes to paying… pretending to reach for my wallet and insisting on splitting. but really, don’t want him to let me. never would i split the engagement ring.

  • Natalia Velez Ireland

    I wouldn’t go Dutch on a wedding ring. If he wants me, he can work for it. I like the tradition of a guy giving a woman a ring. I do think girls should pay for dates, after the initial courting period is over. Swap back and forth with who pays, or offer to do nice things, cook dinner, surprise tickets. Two way street…in the end the money all goes into the same place if you are married anyway. If a guy is stingy with money, he will be stingy in spirit and life. Same with generosity.

  • This conversation has also been making the rounds in the jewelry industry this week, but with the slant of how it would affect selling an engagement ring. What confuses me in this discussion is how people don’t see that, fundamentally, an engagement ring IS a joint purchase because your finances (or at least most people’s) become joined after marriage. However much your fiancé spends on an engagement ring, that is money that is no longer in the bank account of the married couple.

    An engagement ring is a very symbolic thing, and so is the act of presenting it to your intended. It’s no wonder most people balk at the idea of taking that notion away.

  • To be honest, I’m all for the feminism, but when there’s a spider in my room, I’m going to need a man– did I just contradict myself? Probably. But sometimes it feels really good to be pampered.

    Your Friend, Jess

  • contentnet

    OK. I read this twice. I am still, like, w-h-a-t? While the sentiment behind the idea of sharing the cost of the engagement ring is nice, it still boggles my mind. I thought part of the purpose of being presented such an item was the “shock and awe” bestowed from one to the other. The ring is simply symbolic of the other’s love for the other, right? If not, then I shall start saving for my own engagement ring today, by golly, and “awe” (marry) myself!

  • Guest

    Ok, perhaps this is a little off topic but has anyone ever thought about not wearing a ring at all?

  • Allison

    My husband and I split the cost of the ring, and we’d spent a few months together picking it out. It was totally romantic to go ring shopping, and he finagled a way to even make the proposal a surprise, even when I was expecting it. Of course, we had already been together for 7 years by then, and were living together, so that might make a difference? After the proposal, he whisked me away on a two week surprise vacation to Costa Rica where we drank champagne and basked in newly-engaged romantic bliss. BTW, I LOVE my ring. It’s been 3 years since he put it on my finger and I still gaze at it and feel gooey inside. Yep – it’s a material thing, and yeah, we split it. So what? We’re in love, and happily married. And I did I mention LOVE my ring!

    • Mattie Kahn

      Quick question: can I marry your husband? Thnx.

  • L

    My parents went halfsies in the 70’s. I’d prefer to split house payments, vacations, gifts of art, etc. Something shared by both of us. If a gift is only for one person’s benefit (ie a ring or a watch), the giver should pay for the full price.

    • Mattie Kahn

      Power to your super progressive parents! But I agree with the point that so many of us are making. Gender dynamics and the limits of feminism aside, it seems somehow wrong to ask a significant other or friend or even acquaintance/second cousin twice removed/what have you to split the cost of her own gift.

  • Avaloi

    I would describe myself as a fearless, tradition dismantling, Rosie the Riveter, kind of gal (after all, I am the one who made the first move on my current boyfriend of a year and half on the train). There are soooo many nuances to dating/courtship/relationships that it is hard to deem one way right or wrong. I can only speak to what I feel is right and I would indubitably be mortified if my boyfriend proposed, then asked me to pay for half of the engagement ring. I buy him gifts because I feel like it, I have no problem paying for my own movie ticket, or buying us both a meal, I am even comfortable enough to propose to my boyfriend (not that I could, the poor thing would absolutely shit himself) but I find it backward to ask someone to pay for their own gift. I would never ask my boyfriend to pay for his ring!

    And do not even get me started on the 300 Sandwiches article! Although I do find the tone of the article to be odd and slightly needy, I find no gripe with the statement “we’ve even talk about having a family without him breaking into a cold sweat and changing the subject.” In fact, my boyfriend is the kind to discuss the ‘M’ word and have the blood immediately drain from his face. What concerns me is the fact that she seems to genuinely believe, deep inside, that 300 sandwiches will *earn* her a ring. I worry for her.

    Oh, for the record, my boyfriend does all the cooking. And if he wants something, please will either precede it or follow it.


  • Nora

    I’m not ready to go halfsies on the engagement ring, but neither do I advocate for the masculine authority on engagement and marriage. I believe that whomever in a couple decides to pop the question should reach in their pockets and make this beautiful present to their counterpart. Splitting the bill on a surprise takes away the excitement of the unexpected.

    Also, that chick from 300 sandwiches should go and find herself a hobby. Or an own personality. Making sandwiches in the hope of getting married.. really?

  • Meegan

    I don’t understand how Stephanie Smith is continuing with her blog. In her BIo she says “I will learn how to cook amazing food, we will learn more about each other, and hopefully my boyfriend will make good on his promise.
    Even if he doesn’t, the journey will be tasty enough for me. And I hope for you, too.”

    I hope he makes good on his promise?? What this sounds like is an insecure woman in a dysfunctional relationship holding her breath. He’s content with the now but is afraid of commitment, she is also content with the now, but is only “dealing” with it in hopes of a future with this man. If I was further in my relationship, where she is at, and was looking for marriage that would be conversation I would have with my b. If we didn’t see eye to eye, I would take the good from the relationship and move on…I would NOT plea for him to “want” to marry me. If you don’t love every part of me before I make you 300 hundred sandwiches likelihood is you’re not going to jump up after the last bite of the 300th sammie and say will you marry me.

    in regards to the engagement ring: I like to keep it simple, when the time comes I’d be happy with a simple band. I would expect my fiancé to pay for it. Like a reader said earlier I would get him something nice to look at too. In todays society the norms are breaking daily. I don’t think it is normal anymore to expect someone to pay for everything, every time. It takes two in a relationship and both should be aware of that.

  • Rosy Leader

    Wouldn’t (and didn’t) go halfsies on the ring but to be honest, if you’re getting hitched, you’re spending your money (as a couple) so what does it matter if it was from his bank account or yours. But tbh, if he would have suggested we split the cost, I would have been pretty angry!

  • good-girl-x

    I tired of the notion that chivalry and feminism are mutually exclusive.

    All I want for females are equal laws regardless of sex (physical traits), respect from men, camaraderie from women (ok, and for them to stop doing porn), and a general understanding that gender-specific behavior isn’t so black and white anymore.

    Personally, I am a total submissive to my boyfriend which I find gives me more power than I’ve had in any relationship, but it’s my nature and his to nurture me. He’ll buy me a ring and I’ll get him a watch. Probably something from IWC, an heirloom.

  • shvin

    the ring is a gift, you don’t go dutch on a gift. if you’re thinking of going dutch, don’t do it at all, that would be a lie. the ring is a symbol. going dutch would be akin to wearing fake designer goods – just don’t – be orginal – do something else. the reciprocated gift is a much more equitable idea in keeping with the tradition of romance while speaking to the equality in the relationship.