The Truth about The Ring 7/16/00

(Yet-another Truth by Mrs. Steele ... damn, I love this woman.)

Dear Mrs. Steele,

I had thought to ask Mr. Steele this one, as he is all warm and mushy lately... for which I know we all have you to thank wholeheartedly...but perhaps it was something that you did that made the ring magically appear on your finger. We have the ring, the proclamation of undying love and adoration till at least the 401K is able to be drawn on, and a promise of putting me on the life insurance. But the ring is still sitting there in its nice cushion, in a box, in another box, in a bag, in a cubbyhole in the pretty new corner computer desk he just insisted "I" had to have. I don't know what else to do...I feed him...constantly...I wash his clothes, and tidy his things and laugh constantly at his jokes...(and its amazing that 99% of them really do make me laugh, even the fart jokes, but please don't tell Mr. Steele that.) I um...well as I heard it paraphrased just today...read magazines with him constantly, whether he wants to or not.. I sit and watch him play computer games if he wants...and I even watch Survivor with him and pretend its one of the best things besides reading magazines. Please, please help me....before Susan gets voted off the island!!

Mr. Steele, all warm and mushy? It's an act, my dear, all an act. I do indeed accept full and complete responsibility, but don't you think for an instant that it's for real. He puts on that warm and runny exterior simply because he knows that behavior was verboten BIS (Before Iago Steele) ­ and there's about 50 members of the Poor Party™ that would stand witness to that fact. He acts that way so he can gloat, you see ­ he knows I'm smitten, no-tag-backs kind of smitten, so he goes all simpy to rub my nose in it. How's that for some tricky-shit?!

And speaking of tricky-shit .. let's address how I made this rock appear on my left hand. Girlfriend, it was a Principle that every woman should study until it becomes as natural as making your man beg forgiveness when he does you wrong, a Principle I learned from my very first girlfriend, a Principle I taught my daughters frankly, it's about the only Principle I have, but it's so good, it's enough. However, it is also so valuable it should be reserved for women only, so before I reveal it

WARNING: IF YOU HAVE TESTICLES, STOP READING

NOW --- I MEAN IT --- BACK AWAY FROM THE MONITOR.

I'M GOING TO TALK ABOUT TAMPONS.

There, that should do it.

Okay, it is The Principle of Least Interest. Here's how it works: anything he cares about, you care less. Like, he says "Do you want to go out to dinner tonight honey?" You affect an air of nonchalance, and say "Doesn't matter to me, darlin'. Whatever you want." You'll be heading out to dinner quicker than you can say "Iago". Or, he says, "Do you want me to go with you to your mother's, sweetie?" You say "Makes no difference to me either way, Snoogie-oogams." Start with little things like that. Now, you're living together already so you're going to have to really look for the places in your relationship where you can begin to apply the Principle. Ideally, you start when you're dating he calls, you wait two days to call him back, and you call when you know he's not going to be home and you leave a message that goes something like, "Hi Bill. Gee, sorry I missed you. Give me a call back, um, whenever" in that "call or not, makes no never mind to me" tone the guy will call you back and call you constantly, intrigued that you are so disaffected by his charms. You have daughters? Teach 'em the Principle, you won't be sorry.

Anyway, I digress. Here's how I applied the Principle that led to this dandy sparkler on my finger: He said "What about a ring?" And I said "Oh, whenever." He said "Diamonds?" and I said "Oh, whatever". He said, "Well, look for something you like." and I said "Oh, okay." I kept giving him pictures of rings I liked, but hemming and hawing in that disaffected way until he could take it no more and he said, "PICK THE ONE YOU LIKE THE BEST ­ I'M BUYING IT RIGHT NOW!" AHA! Gotcha! The Principle prevails. After he'd ordered it, I shifted the Principle into 2nd gear ­ I NEVER MENTIONED IT AGAIN. By the time it came he was chomping at the bit to get me good and engaged.

But, hmmm you say this ring is in your house already? Sitting in it's little box in another box, etc. This calls for an acceleration of the Principle, my dear. Have you any little finger baubles another gentleman caller may have bestowed on you? Have one of those appear magically on that finger on your left hand. When he notices - and he will ­ shrug it off and say, "Well, to tell you the truth I'm getting hit on all the time and that finger just felt so naked. Don't worry, darling, I tell everyone you gave it to me." Conversely, if you already wear a bauble on that finger - take it off. When he notices ­ and sugar, he surely will ­ say "Well, (sigh), I just don't want to wear a ring that isn't yours. Don't worry, darling, I tell all the guys who keep asking me out that I'm engaged." Ahem. (Whew, good thing Mr. Steele detests tampon talk ­ this is the one I used )

As for all those little extras you do, the cooking, the tidying, the washing, the laughing ­ the endless hours of reading, reading, reading Make sure you pause now and then (during the reading is the most salient time) to gaze longingly at that bare finger and sigh.

If none of these things work, then try slapping him around a little with your left hand ­ you know, a little game of physical Tourette's Syndrome. When he says, "Ow, with the hitting!" say "Oh honey, I'm sorry, my damn hand is so light, I just can't control it these days." (This also comes in handy while carrying plates or hot beverages.)

AND IF NONE OF THESE WORK, wait til he's out of the house and put the damn ring on your own finger and tell him "Oh babycakes, I didn't need a real proposal. I could care less." See: the Principle applies and youget the ring.

Hey, you think magic just happens?