14 February 2005

if i say "i'd like to pretend," will you know i'm referencing tbbme:tm, and that i'm singing?

i didn't intend to have a valentine's moment all by myself in the big crate and barrel. it's fine to pretend, but then the couples are wandering through the furnished rooms, actually shopping. as opposed to the rest of us (i.e. me) wandering around daydreaming and appraising. i really honestly just went in there to kill time out of the rain, though i admit i went upstairs to the furniture to see about seeing myself living in those rooms. the nautical rooms, definitely not. the printed couches too cheap... cheap-looking. the slightly more 'masculine' rooms, a little more right. darker wood, softer couches. not too themed, just nice. etc, etc. but then somewhere about half-way around my circuit of the floor, the couples started wafting in, sneaky-like. beautiful, professional, upper east side couples, tall and thin in really nice clothes. and i started noticing the soundtrack of love songs. (i realized half way to french class that, dumbass, it's valentintes day, rather than some evil wedding registry soundtrack.) i kept walking, finished my tour of the rooms, but it lost its imaginary charm. or rather, its real charm of the imagining. (besides, that's when i hit the nautical rooms. eew.)

sometimes, i wear a fake engagement ring. i really have no idea why. james and i were walking home one night, on st. marks. we stopped at one of the street-shops so he could look for a new ring, to replace the ring he bought in venice, which aged and got too dirty unnaturally fast. while he was trying on rings, i went over to a tray of engagementy-looking rings, shiny silver(esque) bands with very pretty, very fake stones. i already had enough rings, even one for my left ring finger, so i was just playing, the way that trying on my mom's engagement ring is playing, though in this case it was even better, since my mom's ring is neither my taste nor my size. and then i tried on this ring, and i totally fell for it. big yellow stone (big for if it were a diamond), with two little triangular diamondy things (which if i were a proper 22-year-old girl i'd know the name of) on the side. sigh, went i. it was so pretty, and looked so nice... and it was fourteen dollars. and with james' purchase the guy gave it to me for $13.

and so i had a fake engagement ring for a finger for which i already had a ring. more importantly, i had a fake engagement ring.

i suppose i could look at it as a ring, rather than a Fake Engagement Ring. (but let us not forget that when i got my silver, stoneless, celtinc knot ring - this time on the street on ninth ave - for my Engagement Ring Finger, andy asked me if i'd gotten married.) when i decide to wear it it's somewhere between wanting something dressier and sparklier than the ring i wear on that finger otherwise, and wanting to look like i'm engaged. or at least make that ambiguous. (it's not a fake diamond, after all.)

this weekend, working at the met (and wearing the ring), two women who were renting audioguides commented on the ring. "oh, what a pretty ring." ("thank you.") "is that a newly-engaged ring?"

i was totally caught off guard. too caught off guard to lie. "no, it's just a ring. i wear it because i think it's pretty." ("well it's very nice.")

let us take a moment to note that these two women, relatively posh, upper east side, just the other side of middle-aged women, thought i, twenty-two, working a saturday at the met, could afford a relatively honkin stone.

tim (met boss #1) and i decided that if anyone asked about the ring again, i'd say i was engaged. we settled on a med student. (tim wanted it to be a doctor, i first wanted an artist. but i think i need a little more stability in my life, in my future, than that.)

(tim and i had talked about the Fake Engagement Ring before - he says it makes me seem hotter, the unattainability. but fear not - tim has a little japanese wife. cause no. cause seriously, no.)

i don't know why i wear the F.E.R. - it's always a gut thing, to decide to wear it a certain day. a weird negotiation of where i'll be, whom i'll be seeing - do i want to seem unattainably hot, do i need to make sure the cute boy in the coffee shop downstairs doesn't think i'm taken, do i want to look richer or dressier (or happier) than i am? none of those questions explicitly go through my head - it's like a gut-feeling fog of asking them just under the level of putting them into words. it was the same with going into crate and barrel - i went in there just to get out of the rain, and to avoid getting to class too ridiculously early. but then i went upstairs, started wandering around the rooms, touching the four-thousand dollar tables appraisingly, picking favorites. i was wearing the F.E.R., but i kept my hand in my pocket.

it's all fun and games until the couples show up, until the upper east side ladies ask if that's a newly engaged ring. partially because they expect the answer to be yes.

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