Saturday, April 16, 2011

An Argument About the Royal Wedding

I had an appointment to meet a friend, Aileen, for lunch. She is one of those friends that I knew a while back and recently met again at a function concerning some civic affair. I had always liked her and found her to be funny and well informed on a large number of issues. She asked if she could bring a friend and I readily agreed. What surprised me is when I arrived at the local Denny's, everyone was deep in a lively discussion which included the waitress and even the manager of the restaurant about the Royal Wedding that is to take place between Prince William and Katherine Middleton.

I sat down astounded that anyone cared about the pending nuptials. The restaurant was mostly empty as Aileen and I agreed to lunch on an off hour. The argument or debate all concerned the decision of Prince William to forgo the wearing of a wedding ring. I did not know he did not want to wear a wedding ring.

"Who wouldn't know he was married to Kate. Everyone in the world is going to know he is married to her," said Shirley the waitress. "I just don't see the big deal."

"If my husband decided not to wear his ring, I would wonder about his commitment to me," said my friend, Aileen.

I was surprised for I have always thought Aileen to be the strongest feminist I have ever met. I would have thought she would not have cared.

The manager who was a woman said: "Sometimes, men can't wear their wedding rings because of their jobs. My husband can't because he is a policeman."

"How would that make a difference?" asked Aileen's friend, Wilma.

"Well, if someone grabs your hand it hurts like hell if you are wearing a ring. That is why police don't wear long hair or long ear rings," she answered. "People can grab them."

Everyone laughed.

"Police officers come in two sexes," Shirley said.

I asked if the prince explained why he did not want to wear a ring. No one knew. I kept thinking about all of the people he had to shake hands with.

"His father wore one and it didn't stop his father from sticking it up Camilla's you know what," said the cook as she headed back to the kitchen.

"I think it is strange that he isn't going to wear one, that's all. She is wearing one, Kate that is," said a woman from a booth.

The argument went on after I tuned out. I had to ask myself if I cared whether a man wore one or not. What if you were in a long termed relationship but not married as some people were it would be dishonest if either spouse wore a ring. Why does a woman need to wear a ring? Does she? I like to wear rings ever so often but bands because I don't like stones but attractive bands. I would wear gold but can't afford them. As a result I wear silver. They do not symbolize anything. My favorite rings are those with fish and animals carved in them and I have one that has Celtic Knots on it.

To extend it even further, why must a woman change her name? I have already decided that I would never change my name again. The last time I changed my name I did it in court and choose it because I was considering marrying someone at the time which thankfully I did not. I will never change my name although I might change the name on my Email account. It is the same as a ring. It seems as if someone is branding someone as their property. Some religions don't even have vows but simply standing up in public and acknowledging that this woman is now theirs.

Of course, the law favors people who are married and that is why everyone in the population wants the right to marry who they want should they desire to. I agree with that. That is slowly changing but ever so slowly and many people waiting to marry and who have been together for many years will not live long enough to be in a legal marriage. Then there are people who are forced into marriage and they have to wear the wedding bands such as rogue Mormons who marry youngsters in this country or fathers of daughters who marry their daughters to their friends. That happens everywhere.

Divorce options are slowly coming into those countries but not the right to collect child support if you are lucky enough to retain the children nor the right to work. But if you are in a marriage where the husband beats you up within a inch of your life, you need to leave before you end up in the cemetery.

Divorce, and choice of husbands, wives and whether to marry or not is healthy for everyone. I don't think this is agreed upon as yet. When I was younger and under the sway of my family, I used to look down on men who left their wives. I am not so negative now. No one should lives with spouses they don't want to live with anymore. Still, if a marriage breaks up, it should be done right and the surviving family provided for.

I still don't care about the wedding between William and Kate although I think Prince William is a nice young man. I was also fond of his mother, Princess Di. I don't like his father and would rather see William on the throne than his father for all of the pain and sorrow he gave his mother, but its not my country. Still, it is an interesting question and it is up to Prince William, and if he doesn't want to wear a ring then he shouldn't.

As far as the argument in Denny's, the consensus was that he should wear the ring. There is no shortage of people who want to tell others how to live their own lives, unfortunately, but I think he learned from his mother's example not to pay that much attention to them.

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