High-profile men like Ed Sheeran, Skylar Astin and Michael Bublé have all publicly sported engagement rings, but it’s still not the mainstream choice in the U.S. these days for most men (specifically, straight ones).
That said, there are many engaged guys who have chosen to wear a ring anyway — because they want a more egalitarian partnership, because their significant other proposed to them, because they wanted something to symbolize their commitment or for any other number of reasons.
And yes, they may get the occasional sideways glance or pesky question, but that doesn’t deter them.
“I, for sure, got a lot of questions but mostly from my parents’ generation,” Ryan Avery of Denver told HuffPost. “Men would question my decision and women would think it was ‘cute’ or say, ‘Ah, good for you. My husband would never have done that!’ Really? Why not? There were a lot of other people who were for it. But I don’t know too many ― if any ― of my male friends who wore or wear engagement rings.”
Back in the 1920s, U.S. department store L. Bamburger & Co., which later became Macy’s, launched an advertising campaign for male engagement rings, but the idea never really stuck. In other countries like Chile and Sweden, however, it’s commonplace for both men and women to wear engagement rings.
In 2018, many engaged fellas are choosing to do what feels right for them, whether it’s trendy or not. Below, seven men on why they proudly sport an engagement ring.
Jamie Raines, 24
“After I proposed to my fiancée, she did a second ‘proposal’ of sorts while we were on holiday. She said she wanted me to have a ring to show off too, and I see my ring as a sign of being equal with my fiancée Shaaba. I haven’t ‘claimed’ her with the ring. We both wear one to show our commitment to each other.”
James Bull, 26
“I really respect the clear and simple symbolism. It’s like a testament to a person’s commitment, it shows intention and I didn’t see any reason to wait until we were married to start wearing it. My thought is, I’m engaged too, why don’t I get to wear a ring? She’s an amazing woman, and I think this relationship that we’ve poured so much into is something to be proud of and something to be excited about. This is a little symbol of that. When I put it on, everything about our marriage seems just a little bit more immediate and tangible.”
Selig Stoney, 27
“I wanted to do something that was non-traditional, in a sense. I feel that love and marriage is a two-way street and that both parties can express their excitement with rings along with announcing proudly to the world that they are happily taken before they get married.”
Jose Rosales, 34
“After I got engaged to Staci, we had a conversation about how it wasn’t fair that only she gets to wear an engagement ring. We were on a hiking trip in Utah when I proposed, and before our flight back home, we were killing time in Las Vegas and stumbled into a jewelry store. Next thing you know, I had a ring too!”
Ryan Avery, 31
“Why would I not want to show the world I am taken too? Especially in our culture where rings symbolize you are with someone. For me, engagements are not a test run ― they are the moment we decide to be together forever. If Chelsea was going to show people she was taken, I wanted the world to know too and feel very proud to tell people.”
Tyson Clyburn, 34
“At first it felt a little weird, but I had bought a rubber ring in every color to match whatever I was wearing and so I kept wearing them. I get questions all the time! No one really understands it and they all think my fiancée put me up to it. She didn’t even know about it until I posted a picture. People think it’s either the dumbest thing they’ve ever heard of or really sweet.”
Michael Correll, 28
“I felt fine wearing the ring during the engagement. I didn’t really get any questions about it because people just assumed I was married. It was just the same as any man wearing a wedding ring; you don’t comment on it, it just is what it is. I liked that I was seen as unavailable but I rarely had to explain myself to other people.”