Rings Are My Thing

IMAG0925

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved rings. They were always my favorite items of jewelry, and would always catch my eye. My mother was aware of my fascination for rings, because every time we went to one particular toy store in a local mall, I would make a beeline for the collection of costume rings which were always by the register. Occasionally, she would tell me to pick one out, and she would buy it for me. I treasured those rings, and still have one crafted of faux aquamarine in a box of collectibles to this day.

My two core teachers during first through third grades (at Montessori, I had the same core teachers for the three years I was there), Miss Umholtz and Mrs. Austin, also loved rings. Miss Umholtz would change things up every week, so that a different group of unique silver rings would adorn her long, slender fingers. On my last day of school at Montessori, Mrs. Austin gave me a gift: a tiny cloisonne heart ring. That ring also sits in my collectibles box, along with the faux aquamarine ring.

As my own personal style began to emerge over the years, I discovered that I preferred wearing many rings at one time over just wearing one or two. By the time I was 20, I adopted the habit of wearing at least 3 rings at a time. The only exception to this was when I was married. During those years, at the stern suggestion of the man I married, I only wore my wedding ring on my left ring finger, and I wore my college ring (which was given to me by my mother) on my right hand. Once my marriage was over, however, my habit of stacking and adding rings slowly but surely crept back.

I now wear between five and seven rings at a time. At one point, before I got married, I wore ELEVEN rings on my fingers. I love the feel of silver or platinum around my fingers. Interesting or unique designs will always catch my eye, especially if they showcase a beautiful stone or crystal. Some of the rings in my collection have such powerful stones in them that I have to be in the right frame of mind to wear them. I also love wearing rings on different digits, like my thumb, or above my knuckles (aka midi rings).

It’s amusing to note that midi rings have become popular recently, because I have been wearing them since the 1990’s, when it was considered a bit odd to wear one. What is a midi ring? It is a ring that is worn between the first and second knuckles. I’ve got news for those of you who think this is a new or relatively new trend: midi rings, or above knuckle rings, have been worn since the Middle Ages. During Renaissance times, wealthy people wore midi rings to indicate that they didn’t have to perform manual labor.

Bernhard Strigel, Portrait of a Woman, ca. 1515

Bernhard Strigel, Portrait of a Woman, ca. 1515

I am such a creature of habit that I will wear the same group of rings everywhere. That includes the midi rings and the ring I wear on my left thumb. It doesn’t bother me that some people think I wear too many rings. I very rarely wear earrings, so I make up for it with embellishments on my hands. My rings have become little pieces of armor for me, and I am so accustomed to how they feel on my fingers that I feel strange when I have to remove them for a photo shoot or other event.

Valentine’s Day: A Money-Maker

valentines-day-TWOBITS

Valentine’s Day is one of the most retail-driven events in the United States, and for good reason. Savvy business owners have figured out how to capitalize on desperate men everywhere who want to please their women. The women, in turn, have been heavily influenced by clever advertising. Most women know about Jared (no, he isn’t the neighbor two doors down), and the Robbins Brothers have also exerted a powerful influence on the fantasies of ladies everywhere.

However, it seems like more and more couples have become aware of the fact that the big day of love is filled with hype and commercialism. After all, it’s supposed to be about the love, lust, or shared interest between two people, isn’t it? However, I still think a fella can’t go wrong with a beautiful bouquet of flowers (I know I love them!) for his lovely lady. If he wants to go the extra mile, he can get a nice trinket of jewelry (no, it doesn’t have to be diamonds), a stuffed teddy bear (if she’s into that kind of thing), or a sexy undergarment from Victoria’s Secret, but those are very predictable gifts on Valentine’s Day.

Then there are the chocolates and candy hearts. Heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates have become increasingly more dreaded, since more ladies than ever are concerned about the sugar rush which comes from consuming them. Don’t be surprised if you buy a box of cheap chocolates and your woman refuses to eat them because they have high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or colors. Perhaps it’s time to get more creative and pick up a few gluten-free, vegan cupcakes?

A popular outing for couples is to go out to dinner, but restaurants have become far too opportunistic in recent years. Typical Prix Fixe menus for February 14th are so outrageously expensive that you almost have to take out a second mortgage just to afford the meal. I have gotten to the point that I have no desire to pay three times the amount of money I would usually pay for a meal at the same restaurant, simply because I was foolish enough to go there on Valentine’s Day. Besides, the restaurants are always packed, always noisy, and there’s a good chance that your table might be right next to the men’s restroom or in a drafty corner of the patio. Never mind that you made reservations three months ago and specified that you wanted a booth inside the restaurant.

What I enjoy the most, and am planning to do this year, is to cook a nice meal at home, open a good bottle (or two) of wine, and enjoy the comforts of home. That holds much more value for me than surrounding myself with red heart cutouts, chocolates I can’t eat, or spending a king’s ransom for a meal. I also don’t have to yell over the din of the other patrons blabbing.