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October 28, 2011 10:29 PM   Subscribe

Hopefully-soon-to-be-fiance can't wear rings. What should I do instead?

He has super knobbly knuckles, so a ring that goes past them is loose and uncomfortable. Fair enough. So . . . propose without a ring? A ring alternative would work, but he's not a jewelry guy, so something else? A ring pun? A boxing ring is a bit out of my budget, a smoke ring is a bit transitory, and ringworm, well, I just think it sends the wrong message.

Any and all ideas welcome.
posted by Garm to Human Relations (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Shirt studs, cufflinks or a tie tack.
posted by brujita at 10:41 PM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

He can wear a ring on a chain or, even better, a cord around his neck. If he wants.
It's not incredibly jewelry-like but it's still a ring, and a symbol.

There are also ring tattoos. Or temporary tattoos.
That would be a fun proposal, with a temporary ring tattoo, a little sponge and a bit of water.
posted by flex at 10:43 PM on October 28, 2011 [4 favorites]

There's nothing that says he has to wear a ring. That said, he could get a tattoo.
posted by Madamina at 10:43 PM on October 28, 2011

Interesting ideas in this previous thread.
posted by cairdeas at 10:44 PM on October 28, 2011

Has he seen a jeweler? My brother-in-law has knobby knuckles, so the jeweler he went to suggested a wide ring for less play once it got past his knuckle. It's at least 5mm. He seems happy with it. A jeweler might be to make a custom fit or find other solutions.

Or he could try a stretchy silicone ring. I have one, the "platinum," which looks nothing like metal. I'd go with a solid color if I was ordering again. Their sizes are limited and I am somewhere between the 6/7 and 8/9, so it didn't work for me. But it was cheap.

But yeah, there's nothing that says he has to wear a ring. If I wasn't going to wear mine, I'd still appreciate having one that I could keep on my dresser. I wouldn't need a substitute gift.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:52 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I know you said he can't wear them but have you looked into hinged wedding rings or bands? They're pretty comfortable. Some styles slip right around the bottom of your finger and some styles open up to be slipped over your knuckle, then snap into the proper size when you close the hinge.
posted by iconomy at 10:57 PM on October 28, 2011 [15 favorites]

I don't wear a ring for a couple reasons, but I do like having one as a sentimental/symbolic gift.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:18 PM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

What about a watch? Not really jewelry, but sort of? And the kind of thing where you could spend some time finding one that really seems like "him" so it feels special and chosen. I sort of feel like that's a big part of the ring for some people is the "does the other person know me well enough to choose the right thing?"
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 12:05 AM on October 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

Put it on a chain if he's the kind of person that would wear that instead.
posted by fshgrl at 1:27 AM on October 29, 2011

A friend just proposed to her fiancé using a beautiful watch, which he seemed delighted with. Both the watch and the proposal, that is.
posted by Magnakai at 3:30 AM on October 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

My husband bought me a ring, I bought him a very nice dress watch. He seems to like it and it's classic, not trendy so hopefully will be timeless. Pardon the pun...
posted by Jubey at 3:48 AM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Claddagh rings are popular as wedding bands, symbolizing love, friendship and fidelity. So how about a claddagh necklace? You could go classic or modern depending on his taste.

I gave my husband a claddagh ring as an engagement ring and he loved it. He actually proposed and gave me a diamond but said he felt kind of left out, not having a symbol of being engaged himself. So I surprised him with the ring for Valentine's day, and he wore it proudly for years until it broke.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:52 AM on October 29, 2011

I think a really high quality watch with engraving on the back would be perfect.
posted by h00py at 6:16 AM on October 29, 2011

I have very fat pads on my fingers, so anything that gets over the pad was usually too loose at the bottom of the finger. I found a Cartier trinity ring style offered a solution. The three interlocking rings move over themselves to get past the large part of my finger, but interlock enough so that they don't flop around at the base of my finger. (You can get these from other jewelers, I just found this illustration of the style online.)
posted by blob at 6:35 AM on October 29, 2011

When I worked at a jewellery store, specializing in bridal jewellery, in this case if someone wanted to wear a ring, I'd recommend a wider band with a comfort-fit interior will go over large knuckles more easily, and fit well below. If it's an allergy problem, platinum or titanium is suggested.

That said in "the old days" people often used cigar bands.
posted by peagood at 6:44 AM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm also a man with the knobby-knuckle problem. I use ring snuggies.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 7:19 AM on October 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Well, if it's a comfort issue, Saferingz makes silicone rings that look pretty good and are stretchy but still look like rings, even close-up. I've seen them on electricians. They are ultra-cheap, so it might be funny or sweet to buy, say, ten of them.
posted by juniperesque at 7:28 AM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Expanding ring bands do exist as well. Some are spiraled like a key ring, and others are opened on the inner side to allow flexibility. He might be still willing to wear a ring, but has been put off because of his knuckles.
posted by samsara at 8:12 AM on October 29, 2011

If you want a personal item he can carry with him as a memento, maybe a pocketwatch?

But you can also do a symbolic gesture that has nothing to do with rings -- something like an anniversary clock, perhaps, or a gift of art that would be meaningful to the two of you. Commission a portrait or a song. Name a star for your new family surname (assuming either of you will do any name changing or combining.) Start a scholarship. Plant a tree. If you are religious, buy a very nice family Bible, Quran, mezuzah, or similar symbolic object.

Or if you reallllly want to go the ring route, you could do something like this tree ring table, or a life preserver. Or a dart board, though the symbolism on that is, er, a little iffy...
posted by Andrhia at 8:34 AM on October 29, 2011

Our solution to a variant of this problem was to call it an "engagement thing." We ended up having a jeweler make matching bracelets that were tight-fitting and light enough to ignore, and designed to be very hard to remove (if only to symbolize permanence).
posted by range at 9:02 AM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am a married man and don't wear a wedding ring (or any sort of stand-in) because I don't like rings. This has never bothered me in any way. It turns out I feel just as married without one.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:33 AM on October 29, 2011

Yeah, you can buy him a nice chain and he could wear it around his neck if he wanted. I, personally, would pretend it was the One Ring and I was Frodo for the rest of my life.

The ring is just a symbol. It's not the most important part of the proposal.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:00 PM on October 29, 2011

Unless he'll be annoyed, you can propose with nothing whatsoever. My husband proposed with nothing and I hate jewelry so I didn't care, plus I personally feel material stuff cheapens the moment -- but personally is the key word, so don't feel bad if you do give him something. What matters is whether you guys care or not, but what I'm saying is don't feel pressured to care if you don't!
posted by Nattie at 2:30 PM on October 29, 2011

Unless you're planning to use Great-Grandma Whoever's engagement ring or something else where the specific item is meaningful in and of itself, there are real advantages to doing the "traditional" thing and using an impermanent placeholder like a cigar band or a ring from the gumball machine for the proposal. Later, when you have time, you can both go shopping for a ring/necklace/bracelet or whatever you both feel is attractive and suitable. (The engagement ring I wound up with is not anything my husband would have chosen on his own and not anything I realized I wanted, but it's beautiful and we both like it a lot.)
posted by Lexica at 4:57 PM on October 29, 2011

I don't wear my wedding ring simply because I couldn't get used the feel of a ring on my finger. So now it lives on my key-chain, which I have with me 99% of the time.
posted by ducktape at 9:02 AM on October 30, 2011

Like ducktape, me and the man had rings, but don't really wear them. This confuses people, except that when we're together apparently we act so "married" that they get over it quickly. Also we are both recluses who don't flirt habitually, so fewer opportunities for confusion.

If you're proposing, I say skip the ring and offer two tickets to someplace beautiful for a week. Or two. If you're not doing a traditional wedding, get married there too.

If you need something to do during a wedding ceremony instead of exchanging rings, there's always other traditions, like dipping fingers in sugar and licking each other's fingers, or smashing glasses, or what have you. Or just move on to the vows/kissing.
posted by emjaybee at 8:29 PM on October 30, 2011

A jeweler friend had "their guy" solder two tiny balls of gold to the inside of my wedding ring. Now I can squeeze it on and off, past my awful, walnut-looking knuckle, but it stays on the rest of the time. We did the same for my wife's rings.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:48 AM on October 31, 2011

It's not so much 'a thing to wear forever' that I'm looking for as 'something to do with my hands to look less stupid as I propose' (A lot to ask of an object, I know), or some gimmick to distract him from the full implications of the question at hand.

I really like the tickets idea, but if he says no (which he may well), I don't want to, you know, take the tickets away or be all 'So . . . want to go any way? But not as fiancgays?' Plus, those SafeRingz are totally within my budget.

So, tickets and plastic ring it is then.

Thank you for all of your advice though!
posted by Garm at 1:53 AM on November 2, 2011

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