Lord of the ring



There are lots of things I notice first about a man: his eyes, his hair, his overall demeanor.

His hands.

I know it sounds odd, but I can get an immediate sense about a person just from looking at their hands. Young, old, male, female: doesn’t matter. Strange? Perhaps. But whether you’re kind, hard-working, anxious or romantic, for reasons I’ll never understand, I can tell.

When it comes to men, however, one thing I never looked for while subconsciously surveying the terrain was a wedding ring — until recently.

For women in their mid-to-late 20s, the realization that the pool of potential candidates is getting smaller is a sobering one. For most, it’s enough to send hordes of us into the wild in a husband-hunting frenzy. But for those of us who don’t have our eyes on the prize, it’s more an amusing observation.

Throughout different stages of our dating lives, my girlfriends and I have found ourselves asking common questions about the men we’d meet. Those first few months after college, it was whether or not he had a job. Now, it’s marriage. And in a few years, “Does he have any kids?” “Is he divorced?” or “Does he have a working hip?” will probably be commonplace conversation.

But for now, it’s the quick glance of the eye to that ring finger. And if we can’t get a look, we’ll be asking.

This is particularly strange for me, since marriage has never really been top on my list of priorities. Sure, I may have over romanticized the idea of it with every guy I’ve dated between the ages of 18 and, well … last year, but the truth is the notion of having to share a bed with, brush my teeth next to, and give up a significant portion of my prized “me” time to another person every day for the rest of my life kind of makes me want to purchase my own private island somewhere. Truth be told, I like my space. A lot.

So I’m finding it increasingly humorous that my mind has been drifting toward a different set of digits these days — and wondering just how long I can revel in my independence before I may — just may — have to learn to cohabitate with another human being. Because while I’m not picking out a dress and china patterns quite yet, I’m starting to realize that this “whole life” I have to be married may actually be shorter than I thought.

— Alison Henry

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