Running rings around Mars

We were in the kitchen yesterday, shovelling down breakfast as quickly as possible before the school run, when Child Two piped up. ‘What would you do if someone asked you to marry them, but you didn’t like the ring?’

Instantly three spoons went down as the females pondered this dreadful question. Eeek! Wouldn’t that be the most terrible moment? He’d be expecting ooohs and ahhs of amazement, followed by a yes, and he’d get ….what? A pause, a ‘yes – but’. It wouldn’t be good.

The fourth spoon at the table continued to shovel, though. ‘I don’ t see what the ring has got to do with the moment,’ TL said. We all looked at him. ‘But what if you don’t like the ring? That’s a major problem,’ I said. ‘I think if he gets a ring you really don’t like, that is Not A Good Sign,’ I continued. After all, if you’ve got to the engagement stage, he ought to know your taste in jewellery – or to know that you don’t like surprises. Or, in my case, to know that you’re impossible to please and it’s best to let you make the decision yourself.

The girls agreed that it was a terrible conundrum. What we couldn’t agree on was how to get out of it. ‘Say it’s too big, then point out another ring that you do actually like when you’re at the jewellers getting it altered,’ was probably our best solution to this ticklish problem.

The whole discussion made me realise, for the umpteenth time, the dangers of bringing up girls on a diet of happy-ever-after stories. Yes, I would love them to get married – though I’ve been told quite firmly that I have put them off marriage for life – and of course I most definitely want them to live happily ever after, but do I want them to stress out about what could be seen as completely irrelevant aspects of the marriage ritual at this young age? Trouble is, I think most girls have planned their weddings from bouquets to going away outfits by the time they are six, and there’s not an awful lot that can be done about it – unless we keep them in isolation, well away from all our fairytales, films and shops, until they are adults. Hang on, didn’t we do that to Rapunzel? And how did she end up? Why, she got married to the prince who rescued her and lived happily ever after, of course.

‘Well, I can’t see what the fuss is, it’s the moment that’s important ….’ said TL, finishing his breakfast while the rest of us still wrestled with the horrible ring dilemma. ‘You mean you think the woman should put up with a sucky ring that she has to wear every day until she dies?’ said Child One. TL shrugged. He obviously didn’t think that would be a problem. The three of us looked at each other.

Definitely a Mars/Venus moment.

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