I just read a story in Tango about a woman who decided to take a vacation without her wedding ring. Well, not exactly. But on a recent girly getaway with her single best friend, she simply slipped it off with the explanation: "I think my naked ring finger gave rise to more open responses and deeper interactions than I would have otherwise experienced."
Now, there is a point to that. Part of the joy of traveling is that feeling of freedom that a certain degree of anonymity might buy, being a stranger in a strange land, and being completely open to the new experiences, not to mention people, one might encounter. But what is the fine line between being "open" and well, quite literally straying?
In some ways Maya Halpen, a writer who blogs about marital struggles on FirstWivesWorld.com, presents a remarkable phenomenon: The woman who slips off her ring. The man known to casually conceal his ring on nights out at a bar is regarded as a cad in the truest sense of the word. But as she explicitly points out, sex was not her goal, and she is accompanied by a chaperone, in this case, her best friend. When she discusses the situation with another woman who has indulged in the same behavior, her friend says, "We don't want to deny ourselves the breadth of human interaction. We want to invite it all and make choices about what we get, not limit it from the beginning." She recounts a night of dancing and revelry while she's in Mexico, and wonders if she would've "danced all night" were she presented to her suitors with a rock on her finger. Maybe so, but most likely, she reasons, not.
For so many women who place much emphasis, for better or for worse, on the symbolism behind this piece of jewelry, such an act might seem unthinkable. Even Halpen admits that it's no coincidence that she happened to be involved in a "rough patch" in her marriage at the time. Personally, the act seems dishonest to me. I've traveled extensively and though my partner and I haven't exchanged rings, I'm always quick to point out that I live with a wonderful man back home. At that point, the guy hitting on me usually starts telling me about his beloved. Never has the fact that I'm attached kept from meeting many amazing people and enjoying unexpected new experiences on my travels.
Still, I'm coming from the perspective of not being married or having a ring to speak of (read the rest of Halpen's article here). Perhaps if the tables were turned, I wouldn't mind escaping from those "shackles" for a few days, but I doubt it. Still, I turn the matter over to you. Is it perfectly acceptable to lay off the ring now and then? You tell us.