Ask Aunty Pam
Dear Aunty Pam,
I’m a little concerned about my son. What my husband sees as being ‘frugal,’ I see as plain old ‘cheap.’
“Bill” is 25, has had a long-term girlfriend, “Becky,” for 3 years, and he is planning to propose to her. I happened to find him browsing jewelry on E-bay and was shocked. He is planning on buying her someone else’s cast-off engagement ring and give that to her. When I asked him if he was going to put it in a sandwich baggie, or something, he said he was planning to get a new box for it as if he’d just bought it at a jewelry store.
I hit the roof and said no woman wants another woman’s old engagement ring and Becky might want to pick one out for herself, but he said if he’s proposing and already has the ring, that won’t happen. My husband said if he can get a nice ring for hundreds cheaper, it just makes good sense and it saves money they can put towards a house.
The thing that gets me is that both “Bill” and his dad have no problem spending money on themselves. Bill just bought 4 special-order rims for his car and his dad doesn’t hesitate to spend money on expensive suits. But when it comes to me, I’ll be honest, I get pretty cheap and unoriginal birthday/Christmas gifts and I’m worried that Becky will suffer the same fate.
Can you settle this for us?
Oh, my, I do like getting in the middle of a juicy family drama from the safety of my keyboard!
First of all, yes, both men sound less than generous towards the women in their lives but the thing that chaps my hide, besides my saddle, is the fact that Bill is planning to pass off this eBay ring as one he purchased for her in a jewelry store and that is flat-out deceitful. What a crappy way to begin a lifelong relationship with someone—and you can tell him Aunty Pam said so. You can also give him a smack across the back of his head at the same time.
Listen, I am all about young lovers saving money instead of spending thousands on extravagant weddings/rings/honeymoons…but that has to be a decision that’s made together. What’s Bill planning to do if Becky doesn’t like the ring? It may not be to her taste at all and she might suggest they return it and pick one out together. Then what does Billy Bonehead do?
For all he knows, maybe Becky doesn’t even want an engagement ring. Maybe she just wants a wedding band. Maybe she’d rather use the money towards a deposit on, as the hubs mentioned, their first home. Maybe there’s an antique heirloom in her family that her mother had been planning to give to her. There are so many potential red flags here that Billy boy could sew his own bodybag when Becky finds out the truth.
I’m with you on this, Mom. An engagement ring is a big deal to most women, something they’re going to look at every day for, hopefully, the rest of their lives. If he wants to surprise her with a ring, fine, but not presented as something it’s not. T’ain’t right. Just t’ain’t right.