Rings Around the World

Along the lines of my recent post about 40-50-year-old men wearing Hawaiian shirts -- what's the deal with men wearing their wedding ring on their left hand's middle finger? Yes, the traditionally longest finger that can be used to make an obscene gesture is being used as a ring finger. Here's my question: why? Are there different meanings for the ring finger these days?

The first time I saw this arrangement was on a 60-year-old man who had recently lost a lot of weight following surgery. I figured that his ring's size was too big for his ring finger, so he moved it to a thicker finger. Case closed, right? Well, a short time later I saw this arrangement on a healthy 40-something that had not lost a significant amount of weight. Now, I've seen it on a guy who's my age. On the flipside, I've never seen a woman wear her wedding or engagement ring on her middle finger. It's solely been men. So I wonder: what's the advantage or is there an advantage at all? Is there some sort of religious reason or is there any real reason at all?

All this time, I thought the reason was because the middle finger is substantially thicker than the traditional, fourth/ring finger. If the ring has become too loose on the ring finger, one would move it up to the middle finger. Taking a very informal poll by inspecting my hand, my index finger and thumb are thicker than my middle and ring fingers. The ring and the middle are about the same, so that throws that theory out the window.

I'm not fearing we're in for some revisionist rebranding of ringer fingers here, but I do mind about the placement of a ring on the middle finger. Not only would the sight of a ring on a fully-extended middle finger take away some of its obscene nature, but it looks like the guy doesn't have his bearings straight. A ring on the ring finger isn't as conspicuous as to when it is on the middle finger.

Another interpretation is that the moving of the ring to the middle finger symbolizes a marriage is in trouble. Well, none of the men I've seen with this are in troubled or failed marriages. Maybe there are religious reasons, but maybe there aren't. Maybe I should be glad that men still wear their wedding ring as it's a sign of recognized unity. Previously, I often wondered about the guys that didn't wear one at all and were still married. Of course, people can be in sham marriages and still present matters on the outside as being OK. To me, that's got to be one of the worst.


Anonymous said…
At least they can get married...

(Usually my response to everything regarding marriage)
Unknown said…
You spend alot of time pondering some pretty nothing things.It's like you're a living Seinfeld epidode.Of course that means i "LOVE" your blog.Because you know you're right alot of times.If you ever run for office you've got my vote.
Eric Grubbs said…
Grubbs in 2012? Sounds good to me!