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Proudly Loving It!

Dear Miss SmartyPants,

I just recently became engaged and my fiancé and I picked out my ring. Neither of us is into flashy, predictable jewelry so we choose a uniquely detailed, intriguing ring with small diamonds. We both really think it is perfect.

In my office some people talk about this person's ring and that person's ring (even those that are not deemed engagement rings).

I don't go around showing it off but when people hear I'm engaged, they ask to look at the ring. The people who know me very well say they love the ring, that it looks like me and my taste. Other people, however, like to squint and ask, "Where's the diamond?" And then they inquire if I'll be "upgrading" in the future. They seem so concerned as to why I'm deprived of a seemingly essential part of a relationship.

A co-worker of mine opted for no ring and you wouldn't believe what people said. They came up with things about how her fiancé wouldn't spend the money, is a cheapskate, etc, when it was HER decision, met with some resistance from her fiancé, not to have a ring.

I'm tired of being polite to these rude and materialistic people but I have a hard time telling them to keep their opinions to themselves. Can you help me come up with some effective responses to these comments?

Proudly Loving It!

Dear Proudly Loving,

How about, "Why would you say such a thing?" It's a bit confrontational, which would make it gratifying, I hope. Jerks that big should be put in a position to explain themselves.

And if you find it too hard to say even that much, just go with, "I think it's perfect." The truly uncouth won't get it, but those with any discernible gray matter will pick up on the implied reproach.

You could also head them off at the pass. While presenting your hand say, "I absolutely love it." That should stop rude comments in their tracks.

By the way, you don't have to wait until you're engaged to take on the ring snobs. You could even have fun with it. Every time they slam someone's ring, just say something like, "Really? I think it's lovely." Just make sure to use the exact same words every time. "Really? I think it's lovely." "Really? I think it's lovely." "Really? I think it's lovely."

Incidentally, I think no ring is a fine choice, as a fashion statement, a political statement, or as no statement at all. The way to get around the clueless isn't to try to predict the one behavior that won't get their attention. It's to try to live your life on your own terms, unapologetically, and with as little contact as possible with people like them. I swear, I spend quite a few of my column inches trying to persuade people that there's no law saying they have to date, befriend, work for or remain married to inconsiderate boors.

Sometimes they're unavoidable, obviously. In that case you either ignore them or call them out, depending on your temperament. Enjoy your unique, intriguing ring, and best wishes on your engagement and marriage!

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