The Band of Bothers
February 25, 2015 11:09 AM   Subscribe

What style of ring can I wear on my left ring finger if I'm not married?

I’m an American male. My marriage ended recently. I loved my wedding ring, because it's a beautiful, comfortable, unique thing, and I like symmetry: I wear a small simple single silver ring on my right ring finger, and not having a silver ring on my left ring finger any longer bothers me.

I've accepted that I can no longer wear the wedding ring. But I want to wear a new ring on my left ring finger and I don't want people to think I am married.

What are the acceptable ring styles an unmarried American man can wear on his left ring finger?
posted by the matching mole to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would think anything that is not just a simple band would suffice i.e., a ring with a gemstone or something that looks like a class ring.
posted by madonna of the unloved at 11:14 AM on February 25, 2015

Normally if I see someone wearing any sort of ring on their left hand I assume they are married since alternative wedding and/or engagement rings are very common these days. It doesn't mean you can't do it, but some people probably will assume you are married. Unless you wore a class ring or something indicating affiliation or membership. You could buy a novel antique ring for the Loyal Order of Moose or something.

What about getting your lovely silver ring resized to fit on another finger and then buying a fabulous new ring for your right hand ring finger?
posted by mermily at 11:15 AM on February 25, 2015 [7 favorites]

Best answer: A class ring maybe?

Not sure there is such a thing, though, because even if it's obviously not a wedding band, most people are going to see the fact of wearing something on that finger as meaning you're married, unless you are also wearing rings on the surrounding fingers. The good news is, who cares? If people care enough, they'll eventually ask, or you'll say something in passing, and then they'll know the truth. Strangers can mistakenly think you're married all they want; it won't impact on you in any way.
posted by Mchelly at 11:17 AM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

You cannot wear a ring on your left ring finger without it implying that you're married to most people. That's just what that means in our culture, even if it's an unconventional ring or a class ring most people will assume "unconventional wedding ring" or "wearing class ring as wedding ring", not "wearing a non-wedding ring on ring finger so probably not married" - it's not like most people are looking closely at your ring before making that assumption.
posted by brainmouse at 11:17 AM on February 25, 2015 [22 favorites]

Any ring on that finger is going to indicate that you are taken. How about having it resized to your pinky or another finger?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:22 AM on February 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm a American lady and I like wearing rings on that finger too. I found that if I wore a ring on both my left ring finger and my left thumb (even when the ring I was wearing was actually a wedding ring!) people did not assume the ring was a wedding ring. People just thought I liked rings in general. (As for the type, I had a braided band on my finger and a triple ring on my thumb. Often I'd wear another ring on my right thumb as well.)

So: More rings! Any style!
posted by mochapickle at 11:24 AM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

And to follow up, I don't find it odd at all for men to wear rings. Particularly simple bands and thumb rings.
posted by mochapickle at 11:26 AM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also I see a non-zero number of married co-workers wearing wedding rings on their right hands so even if you have, say, a class ring on your left hand you plain silver band on your right is still going to say married to some people.

I like Mchelly's advice best--do what you want and who cares. There are certainly plenty of people who are married and don't wear any rings so it's not like rings/no rings absolutely signifies anything.

I don't know why these people wear the ring on their right hand. Maybe they're left handed and it bother's them?
posted by sevenless at 11:30 AM on February 25, 2015

If you're religious at all, you might consider a ring with a cross or religious inscription, like you can get from James Avery.
posted by neushoorn at 11:31 AM on February 25, 2015

I don't know why these people wear the ring on their right hand. Maybe they're left handed and it bother's them?

Ring location varies across cultures. Many guys at my office also elect for the RHS; for eg. married Muslim men and/or eastern European, Eastern Orthodox church etc. etc.

My best suggestion is to go tough guy skull ring, or wooden. (But I did know someone with a wooden wedding ring!) Or a ring that is so common, it is not "special" enough to be wedding related, e.g. with a tiki god on it, Buddhist symbol, or something ridiculous like this silver lion ring. Another option is to make it very thin, like 1/4 the width of a traditional wedding ring so that it's a "hmm" in people's minds.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:55 AM on February 25, 2015

I don't know why these people wear the ring on their right hand. Maybe they're left handed and it bother's them?

Whenever I see a wedding band on the right ring finger, I assume the wearer is an Orthodox Christian, as that is their custom. So even moving your ring to your right hand won't necessarily solve the issue.

If it were me, I'd wear whatever ring you like on your left ring finger, and if you are in a situation where someone needs to know that you are not married, you can tell them. Like the others, I suspect that almost any ring on that finger is going to been seen as a non-traditional wedding ring.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:57 AM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think people will think you're married if you wear any kind of ring on your left hand ring finger. It's different for women, we can wear an oversized cocktail ring or something that's of a different material/less simple or precious stone oriented than wedding/engagement rings but for men any ring will indicate "married."
posted by zutalors! at 11:59 AM on February 25, 2015

Best answer: I'm an unattached person who often moves any right-ring-finger ring onto my left hand, just out of fidgetyness, and I haven't noticed any adverse impact on my life. I realize that this is somewhat different for women, and if I were in your shoes I'd probably go fully ringless to a date or party or conference or the dog park... but honestly, that is the vast, vast minority of my time. While at work with people I know, or at home watching TV and sleeping, or at a friend's house for dinner, or running boring errands, etc.? I wouldn't think twice about wearing any rings on any fingers, and if that's what feels most comfortable and pleasing to you, I say, be happy. Maybe pick up a secure-but-easy-to-clip-things-on-and-off keyring (ex.) to get in the habit of stashing your ring(s) on when you find yourself visiting Hey I'm Available! World.

(great post title, by the way)
posted by argonauta at 12:24 PM on February 25, 2015

Men's wedding rings usually look like wedding rings. Maybe it's just me, but if your left hand wore something like this (just as an example, not necessarily a recommendation), I wouldn't say that says "married." If you are in a situation where you think it's very important to not leave any room for doubt about your status, slip the ring into your pocket.

Be a free spirit. Wear what you want. Of all the "rules" in the world, break this one.
posted by sageleaf at 12:43 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Traditionally, you can wear a Claddagh ring. You'd want to avoid it looking very wedding-band-ish, but if the heart/aspect is pointed out (ie, away from you) your heart is available; if it points in, you are coupled.

(I realise there is more legend around ring positioning, but in practice, that is how I see it executed. A very good friend who was recently divorced after 20 years adopted this approach, and I assure you his outward-pointing-left-hand Claddagh did not stop him from finding a fabulous new partner.)
posted by DarlingBri at 1:14 PM on February 25, 2015

Even a class ring, I sort of assume that's the finger it fits on and you've just swapped it out with your wedding ring for the day (that's what my father used to do).

I agree that any ring of any kind on that finger and I would assume you are married.

You could move the right-hand one onto the middle if symmetry is important and wear rings on both middle fingers?
posted by amaire at 2:35 PM on February 25, 2015

Agreeing with the many who suggest any ring on your left ring finger indicates marriage. I know of a guy with a silicone wedding ring, another with wood, another with carbon fiber. I'd like to suggest that there was a time in your life when wearing a ring on that finger took some getting used to, so why not consider shifting to wearing a nice ring on one of your other left-hand fingers? You'll very likely get used to the difference and enjoy it just as much.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 4:07 PM on February 25, 2015

Response by poster: Thank you all for the thoughtful responses. I do like the idea of re-contextualizing my former wedding ring for another finger, or wearing more rings, or wearing a ring on a different finger on my left hand.

I also hadn't considered a ring on my pinky or thumb, but that could be rather fabulous now that I think of it, and it might help with the symmetry issue I have.
posted by the matching mole at 4:58 PM on February 25, 2015

Best answer: I prefer the look of a ring on the pinky or thumb for a man! So I say go for it.
posted by stoneandstar at 6:04 PM on February 25, 2015

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