Via McArdle's link to her boyfriend's present and cross-your-fingers-and-hope-to-die-future employer, we learn that some jewelers are eager to open a new market and increase revenue, the God-given right and duty of every free market entrepreneur. This should warm the cockles of McArdle's heart, but as we already know, if the gays get their hands on marriage, they'll just ruin it for everyone else.
It seems to me that there is a market opening for the brave young entrepreneur who is ready to redefine the gendered engagement ring for the gay community. But I'm a little puzzled about the idea of gay wedding rings. We bought ours yesterday, and though there was a big difference between men's and women's rings, I can't say that any of the rings in either gender screamed "gay" or "straight". The form factor for a circular band seems to have been pretty well settled, and I'm just not sure there's a lot of room there to express your sexual preference.
What puzzles our princess bride? Marketing? Niche marketing? Niche marketing for a new market? If a product is "pretty well settled" in form, should the form never change? Or should it not change just for gay couples?
Oddly enough, not everyone suffers from McArdle's lack of imagination and entrepreneurial spirit. If you Google "gay wedding and engagement rings," you get a wealth of information and merchandise available for the happy gay couple.* McArdle once again depends on her gut to tell her what other people want, and lo, her gut just happens to say that almost everyone wants the exact same things that McArdle and her friends want.
Ah, but that's not the good part. Let's take a look at the comments. We will paraphrase the commenters for brevity and directly quote McArdle.
Commenter: It's marketing.
McArdle: "Mmmm . . . but it's not like gay men are going to want to wear bigger womens' rings, and studding men's wedding rings with diamonds is more of a class thing than a sexual preference issue."
Commenter: Rings can't be designed for gay men?
McArdle: "I was in Act-Up, so yes, I'm familiar with triangles! But a very small minority of my friends from those days, gay or straight, have wished to incorporate those kinds of symbols into their wedding bands, and believe it or not, there are wedding bands with triangles already on them, for gay or straight people who like triangles."
So wedding rings are already designed for gay men, but there is no market for wedding rings designed for gay men. And if a friend of McArdle does not want them, nobody wants them.
Commenter: Small markets aren't served?
McArdle: "I'm saying that top of the line jewelers don't usually introduce "their new line of [celtic . . . asian . . . african-american . . . etc] rings, because only a small minority of any given population wants to make their group identity a major statement on their wedding rings. Yes, you can buy wedding rings emblazoned with any group symbol you'd care to name, but the problem is, then they don't look so much like wedding rings, and only a tiny percentage of the group in question usually buys them.
I'm not against it--I'm very pleased that they're trying to cash in on gay marriage, insofar as it recognizes that gay marriage is a coming trend. But like most attempts to cash in on trends, it seems a little dumb, too.
If y'all weren't totally convinced that everything I say is some sort of coded attempt to advance a right-wing agenda, you wouldn't need to work yourself into a lather every twenty minutes."
You see, gay marriage is just the trend of the moment, and cashing in on it will be dumb. But there will not be a market for specialized designs, despite the fact that there already is a market for specialized designs, because they don't look like traditional wedding rings. And we all know that the question of what a wedding should look like is "pretty well settled."
Commenter: So it's a class issue?
McArdle: "As for class issues . . . um, yes? I'm not under the impression that class doesn't exist, or that it's somehow bad taste to talk about it.
But then, we bought our wedding bands at Zales."
Commenter: What about Celtic rings?
McArdle: "I have seen them . . . but none of the Irish Americans I know even considered one. It's a very niche market, and weirdly, a lot of its customers don't have much connection, genetic or otherwise, to Ireland."
Well, if none of the people that McArdle knows buy Claddagh rings or rings with the Celtic knot, that means nobody does. Someone should tell all those people selling Irish rings that they're wasting their time.
Commenters: Megan doesn't know what gays want. Megan is being elitist.
McArdle: "Yes, Rob, because unless you're a liberal, you don't know any gay people! What a reasonable, informed conclusion to draw.
I'm not going to start iwth the "some of my best friends are gay" act, because that's ridiculous. Let's just say, I know a lot of people who want to marry folks of the same gender, and finding wedding rings that work is not one of the issues we've discussed. Engagement rings, now, are a big issue.
Calling this elite is even more moronic, Ginger . . . "not knowing any gay people" hasn't been a characteristic of the elite . . .well, ever, but for not knowing any "openly gay people" it's been a few decades at least."
Commenter: What? Also, your spelling is bad.
McArdle: "I do appreciate your corrections of my many spelling errors, but I do wish you would practice Reading Comprehension 101. On a side note, all you're contributing to the blog these days is hatred of me. If your target were anyone else, I'd already have banned you. Please try to get the "You suck!":discussion ration down to, say, 1:4, or I still may."
Commenter: You bought your ring at Zales?
As of this time McArdle has no responded to the comment on her choice of jewelry stores. Of course there is nothing whatsoever wrong with shopping at Zales, but it does do some damage to McArdle's elitist creds. It's kind of hard to argue from elitism when you buy your wedding ring next door to Hot Topic and an Orange Julius hut.
UPDATE: McArdle says that she bought her wedding bands (not her engagement ring) at Zales due to time limits.
*I also found out by googling that Hitler sent women who used contraception to death camps. They had to wear a black triangle, the same as lesbians and prostitutes.