Iconic shot from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
TIFFANY’S IN CLEVELAND AND A HISTORY ON ENGAGEMENT RINGS
Out of all of the news that could have been talked about yesterday, the majority of things pressed through my ears and under my eyes were about the new Tiffany’s & Co. opening up at Eton Chagrin Boulevard in Cleveland. Reporters dubbed this as an exciting moment for Cleveland, evidently more important than the war in Syria. Women everywhere have been generalized in the news as lovers of the Tiffany’s box, as Hollys enthralled with the very idea of a sparkling rock. How is this good news for Cleveland? It’s not. Absolutely not. In a dead, burned out city struggling to get back on its feet, a diamond store doesn’t fit in the least. Cleveland is third on the list of large American cities with a high percentage of low income families. Stores like Tiffany’s only perpetuate the stereotypes and materialistic mindsets of young people who grow up thinking a diamond is in the future of any successful lifetime.
So what is the origin of the diamond engagement ring anyway? The first type of ring worn by couples was recorded in Greece, but there were no pre-marriage rings. Couples’ rings in Ancient Egypt were a simple band representing an eternal ring and doorway of life. The Romans had the first true betrothal rings, likely taking the idea from the Egyptians. These rings were used to signify ownership. (Yes, ladies, so be super excited to get that ring from him… It means he owns you but notice how he doesn’t wear one.) Not only that, but women had two rings: one nice one for in public, the other made of iron so they could do housework and not ruin the public ring. Sometimes there was a key included, not to symbolize unlocking the heart like many want to believe but rather to suggest unlocking wealth. Charming? Not. The ring then faded out and wasn’t revived until after the Dark Ages, mostly for the use of royalty and not for common folk.
But where did diamonds come into play? It wasn’t until the 1400s that royalty giving rings caused nobility to pursue more expensive gifts, such as diamonds. This tradition didn’t really take off until the 1870s when African colonies were being ripped to pieces to gather diamonds and sell them to the world. Sure, this made diamonds more affordable for the common folk to buy now, but only after depreciating their value. Rings, however, never really kicked off the way we know it until the 1930s – during the Great Depression. WWII made wedding rings more popular for men who wore them to remember their wives.
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S
Yet the real reason why 80% of women are given diamond engagement rings and girls everywhere are so childishly infatuated with the “tradition” is supported by a long line of ownership, greed, and… of course, the Entertainment Industry who has continued to popularize the idea and make a diamond ring an attractive possession. Just think of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The movie, based loosely on a book, stars Holly (Audrey Hepburn), a ditzy, greedy, wanna-be socialite woman…that now so many women today idolize? The story includes crooks, crime, and corrupted relationships. If you take away the glamor of the picture, there really isn’t anything attractive about the story. In fact, here’s what my pessimist person takes away from the movie: Holly is a horrible person, she only cares about money and things to make her seem wealthy whether she is or not, she has no care in the world for the feelings of others, and she strives to marry rich men for their money without any shame to admit it.
While everyone lusts over the aesthetics of this movie (well, mostly of Hepburn and the diamonds in the shop window), I begin to wonder if anyone really pays attention to the storyline at all. Tiffany’s, from my perspective, is symbolizing a tyranny of greedy, unnecessary, flashy things. Silly Holly is sucked into this world of Tiffany’s and acts like something she is not, just like any not-so-great, not-so-rich, and not-so-nice woman lusting over her way too big diamond ring or necklace. Paul is finally someone who breaks through her bad run of men and manages to – somehow – fall in love with Holly. Here’s the irony of it all: Holly realizes what wench she is at the end, when Paul tosses a Tiffany-engraved ring on her lap. Sure, there’s some Tiffany’s in it…but the ring itself was from a Cracker Jack box that her ex-husband had.
Read the signs people: Diamonds = greed, stupidity, and a perpetuation of a stereotype. The Cracker Jack ring signifies how meaningless diamond rings are, especially in today’s world. Diamond rings don’t prove love; they prove the ability to be swindled into wasting a lot of money on a Blood Diamond, on a piece of greed, on a shiny rock. What are we, parrots? (No offense, parrots – you probably have a lot more common sense than most people.)
MY VIEW ON ENGAGEMENTS
In today’s world, marrying in your early 20s or sooner is not logical (unless you have unplanned incidents that might sway your plans). Today is too competitive. We young people have to build a career – one that defines us and easily changes us – before we are actually able to settle down and make those kinds of decisions in our lives. Furthermore, the idea of marriage has become such a fickle, disposable thing in modern times. It’s left people with the impression that it should happen quickly and that it comes without significant consequences. But marriage isn’t about a wedding day or a honeymoon or jewelry; it’s about finances and, well, that’s really probably the heart of it. It’s about survival and how teaming up can increase your chances.
Think you’re ready for marriage because you’ve been dating the same girl since high school? She’s been eyeing up jewelry and dropping hints? Don’t fall for it. You have to both be prepared. If she’s so infatuated with the idea of it, chances are she isn’t ready. If you have any qualms, don’t be tricked into it. I see too many guys getting dragged around by overly eager, silly, ignorant girls and it angers me that these kinds of people are out there perpetuating the stereotypes the media consequently lays on me of needing shiny things to feel like I have self-worth and am loved or whatever they get out of it. I would rather see that money donated to a cause I care about than invested in a stupid ring. I hate the thoughts of weddings for the same reason. (“Oh, let’s start a life together! And blow ALL OF THE MONEY WE DON’T HAVE in the first 24 hours!” – NO THANKS.) My motto is: If she isn’t willing to marry you without any rings at all, then she doesn’t really care about you let alone love you.
And for the record, I don’t even know what a Tiffany box looks like. Hmpf!