I don’t think you have to eschew all traditional displays of romance to be a cool, modern couple. Even if you decide these traditions are rooted in an oppressive historical patriarchy (they are) and often serve to perpetuate systematic inequality between the sexes on a society-wide scale (they do), it’s not morally wrong to want a proposal or a ring as a manifestation of your relationship’s progress. There is also the matter—while I am clearing my throat here I might as well tack on the classic disclaimer—of two people being allowed to do whatever makes them happy provided it is safe and legal and mutual. But if what makes you happy is public-facing by design then I get to judge you to be a soulless asshole based on it—them’s the rules.
If you post a disembodied photo of your left hand featuring a newly-acquired engagement ring as a way of alerting the world to your newly-acquired engagement, you kind of suck.
I mean, you’re probably fine, as people go. And so when you decide to make the genuinely exciting commitment to, best-case scenario, be there for the worst moments of someone else’s future, your friends and family will want to know; they will even want somewhere to express their enthusiasm, and you would not be wrong to give them such an outlet. They will not demand proof, however, that you found someone who wants to watch you die—but, like, in a good way—in the form of a photo that does not include said person. The ring does not make you engaged. Again: Rings are fine (personally, I’m a fan) but they are not what you should be celebrating after such a life-altering decision.
(Can we take a moment here to stress that it should be a decision? Proposals are excellent as romanic roleplay and not much else. Getting down on one knee is the equivalent of adding music to a movie—it amps up the visceral response but the plot should still make sense without it. Asking someone to marry you should feel emotional, but not like a shot in the dark.)
Absent the accepted conventions of a necessarily-shallow social-media culture, that picture is a testament to nothing more than conspicuous consumerism and bad taste. That monument to lab-grown diamonds and Blake Lively’s deathgrip on style trends on Wozniacki’s ring finger says something: It says she is getting married. (It also says that David Lee is more optimistic about his continued earning potential than we are here at Deadspin.) The carefully staged, conveniently manicured photo says something else: It says that Ms. Wozniacki is proud to have been awarded what she believes to be a sufficiently impressive trophy for being marriagable. It implies that the viewer should deduce from something about the ring (the size, maybe?) just how good and lucky and deserving and in love she is. The correct response is to congratulate the happy couple on their impending nuptials. The correct reaction is to be awed (and maybe just a little jealous) at what appears to be something that fell off the plastic tiara of a child’s Cinderella costume.
I actually hope that taking pictures of meaningful moments becomes less stigmatized—since the stigma seems closely related to a particular derision for feminine vanity—as the practice becomes more ubiquitous. But this is not a picture of two people who have chosen to let their love define the legal contours of their lives. It’s just a bad Zales ad blocking some blurry, poorly-framed vacation porn.
Nice mani, though.