Jonah Goldberg on how he tried to weasel out of buying a wedding ring for the future Mrs. Pantload:
Dude, I’ll check out the piece at Slate, but the diamond engagement ring thing is a social convention that will never, ever, ever, ever die. If it was a fur coat, there might â€” might â€” be a chance at killing the tradition. But not the rock. Looked at objectively, it’s an absurd custom. I remember talking with the Fair Jessica about it. She was far less invested in getting a diamond engagement ring than most women. She understood how silly it is to spend huge amounts of scarce just-starting-out resources on some crystallized coal. And it wasn’t even the money for me. I heartily offered to buy the equivalent amount of stock in De Beers. It’s just absurd to lock up precious resources in something you’ll never sell â€” hence the genius of the diamond business. But, at the end of the day, no one will believe you that you didn’t get the rock on principle. Her friends won’t. Your friends won’t. Her family won’t. No one. In the spirit of misery loves company, your guy friends â€” who are deeply invested in defending their decision to get the rock for their wives â€” will give you a brutal time about how cheap you are. Her friends are similarly invested. Everyone is.
A few people will refuse to do it on principle, but their heresy will only reinforce the custom. A few men will decline because they simply can’t afford it. But if they ever find themselves living more prosperous lives they’ll atone at the jewelry store eventually.
The diamond is the modern updating of the mastodon hide and the shiny rock. It’s a sign, a ritual, a public declaration of commitment grounded in ancient custom and instinctual drives older than democracy, monotheism and the wheel. Of course, it’s irrational. Chesterton may have been wrong that the purely rational man will not marry, but surely the purely rational man would never buy a diamond engagement ring. But we are not purely rational creatures. Diamonds are forever. Period.
First of all, Jonah is thirty eight, and his right to use the term “Dude” expired about… well, in Jonah’s case I’m not sure he ever had the right. He’s Jonah Jacob Goldberg, fercryinoutloud.
God, now it’s got me thinking that there was probably a time in recent memory when he walked into the Corner breakroom and addressed Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru with a big shit-eating grin and “Wassup, mah niggaz!” and then there was this embarrassed silence followed by throat clearings and murmurs about getting back to some article or another and then someone told John Derbyshire about it and he got all weirded out because it reminded him of how alien black people and Mexicans are and, omigod, K-Lo is short for Kathryn Jean Lopez which is kind of Mexican sounding and the Derb had never really thought about that, or her, for that matter because she’s not thirteen and now the all cubicles on the floor are weirdly silent except for Victor Davis Hansons where he and Cliff May are lying on the floor and playing Nazis vs. the Spartans at the battle of Acarnania using little plastic army men and making appropriate “budda-budda-budda!”, “pchow!pchow!“, “Islamofacism delenda est!” sound effects, meanwhile the cleaning lady smells some going bad in Mr. Buckleys office, peeks in, sees him sprawled out on his desk, checks his pulse, puts down a fresh drool mat, and then empties an entire can of Citrus Scent Oustâ„¢ as she backs out of the room wondering if Byron York is finished blow-drying his hair with the hand dryer so that she can replace the urinal cakes with Hillary Clinton’s face on them and and go home .
Later, there was cake…