Friday, January 12, 2007

Engagement Ring…? How about a Motorcycle. How Romantic...

As most of us know, an engagement is an agreement or promise to marry, and also refers to the time between proposal and marriage. During this period, a couple is said to be affianced, engaged to be married, or simply engaged. In Western tradition, an engagement ring is a ring worn by a woman on her left-hand ring finger indicating her engagement to be married. By modern convention, the ring is usually presented as a betrothal gift by a man to his prospective bride while or directly after she accepts his marriage proposal. It represents a formal agreement to future marriage. In Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Germany, interestingly, both the man and the woman wear engagement rings. However, in these countries the man's engagement ring is often used as the wedding ring. In the United States – well in St. Petersburg, Florida in the new millennium anyway – women aren’t always offered an engagement ring when asked for their hand in marriage.

Yesterday afternoon while at a local Harley-Davidson dealership, I ran into and was talking with Richard, one of my teammates on my Friday night co-ed softball team. He introduced me to one of his coworkers who told us about what had happened to his cousin, Lynn.

Lynn, in her mid-forties, had been dating her significant other, John, who had just turned fifty, for about a year. Both had been married before, loved each other very much, yet weren’t necessarily in any hurry to escalate their relationship. On most weekends since they had met, they would go for at least one long motorcycle ride on John’s Harley-Davidson Road King Classic – John would drive and Lynn would ride on the back. Last summer, however, Lynn said she wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle herself and took a motorcycle safety course, passed it with flying colors, and got her motorcycle endorsement on her driver’s license. Nonetheless, she continued to ride behind John on his Road King whenever they went riding.

About two months ago when shopping at the mall, they wandered into a few jewelry stores and “half-seriously looked” at engagement rings. The notion of engagement, however, didn’t come up again until a Wednesday evening about two weeks before Christmas when they were in a Harley dealership. John went outside to his bike to get something and when he came back into the showroom, there was Lynn – sitting on a brand new, 2007, Pacific Blue Pearl, Sportster 1200 Roadster. With a big smile, she said, half-kiddingly, “Forget the ring. I’d rather have one of these.”

That Friday evening, John was to pick Lynn up to go out to a movie. At seven o’clock, her phone rang. It was John. “Come outside,” he said, “I’m in your driveway.” Lynn went out the front door, and there was John, standing behind a shiny new blue motorcycle with a big smile on his face. He walked the bike up to Lynn, parked it on its kickstand, got down on one knee and said, “Lynn, I love you with all my heart – will you marry me?”

I don’t know if there’s any moral to this story, but from what Richard told us, there are three very happy people: John – who said, “Will you marry me?” Lynn – who said, “Yes.” And Ralph – the salesman who said, “Sold.”

Gotta love some of those motorcycle riders – romantic in their own unique way.



Anonymous said...

It's a shame she didn't really want a new oven or washer and drier instead of a motorcycle!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hey there Maconnole,
Okay I'll bite... like maybe it's too bad she didn't ask for a new set of men's golf clubs, or better yet: a thirty-two foot offshore fishing boat.
Being the ultimate romantic, however, I suspect he considered it a loving thing to do (get her her own motorcycle, which she wanted) and she accepted it in that spirit (a spirit of love).

lisa said...

Personally, I'm very happy to be alive in such non-traditional times! At what other point in history could a woman live happily alone (as I do) without being ostracized as a "spinster" or even "lesbian" (not that there's anything wrong with that...I'm just saying). As a single girl too, I'd be happier with a new Quarterhorse than a ring, any day!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for the Comment and sharing your thoughts. Yeah, I hear ya... we're not "stuck" in some of the Puritanical cannons with which our ancesters struggled. And if you feel special, happy, adored and loved by receiving a quarter from him, and he feels likewise by giving it to you... what else matters?

Enjoy the ride!


Anonymous said...

Lucretia here:

Actually, that IS romantic! The act of giving an engagement ring is supposed to be a sign of devotion for the present with promises for the future. If someone wants something more exciting than a rock on a metal circle-- who should vilify that?

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Lucretia,
I think you put your finger on it -- it's not just what I give you (i.e., according to societal standards), it's how accurately I know you and know what would be most meaningful, pleasing and exciting for you. To wit, I sense that some of the romanticism of a romantic gift is the "He knew..." consideration.