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Worldwide Ace » Celestial Rings – Part II

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Celestial Rings – Part II

11 February, 2009 (13:10) | Unlucky 13, Women

For context, read
Celestial Rings – Part I.

Rings of Uranus

Sometimes it’s hard to tell by appearance alone what the truth is. Not everyone wearing a Yankees hat is a New Yorker, not everyone wearing a dress is a woman, and not everyone wearing a ring on their finger is married. At least that’s what the Internet told me.

The entire walk back to the dorms, I fretted and argued with myself. Which hand means she’s married again? I pondered. Just because she’s wearing a ring doesn’t mean she’s married. Right? Every spare moment I had was spent thinking about that ring and its implications.

Shy wore small hoop earrings that were simple and elegant. If she wore makeup, it was so delicately applied that I couldn’t tell. I don’t remember her ever wearing a bracelet or watch and her hands were adorned solely with the plain gold band.

That night, crouched in front of my computer, I did what any self-respecting man in my position would do: I asked women who had no experience with Shy whatsoever for advice over the internet.

“I mean, it’s a plain gold band,” I described.

“I wear rings on my ring finger all the time,” Emily told me. “It doesn’t make me married.”

“Are you sure you’re not married? I mean, there was that Spring Break trip to Tijuana.”

“Yeah, pretty sure.”

I couldn’t fault the logic. Plenty of girls like wearing rings. Maybe it was a hand-me-down or a keepsake? Maybe it was a gift from her grandmother or a good friend? Maybe she just liked wearing rings?

Admittedly,the plain gold band was the only ring on her finger, but it was plausible, right?

“You should just ask her out,” Dara advised. “She’s in college. The odds of her being married are small.”

“So are my balls,” I replied. “They’re so small. I simply don’t have enough balls to do it.”

“Man up and ask!”

With the rampant debauchery and young age of girls on campus, it made sense. How many college girls who still look like college girls are married? Engaged, sure, but I was pretty sure the ring was on Shy’s left hand and not her right.

SIDE NOTE: I had googled which hand the ring goes on for marriage just to be sure. Apparently, it’s a tradition that goes back to Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians believed there was a vein that went from the left hand ring finger directly to the heart. Admittedly, in some Middle Eastern and European countries, the ring is moved to the right hand after marriage, specifically in Greek Orthodox. I was pretty sure Shy wasn’t Greek Orthodox, but I didn’t know for sure.

“What’s the worst that happens?” asked Amy rhetorically. “If she’s married, she’s married, but at least you tried.”

“Says the girl who had to be encouraged just to say yes.”

“At least I’m dating someone,” she snapped back.

It didn’t take immediately. Despite the advice and the logical arguments, I still couldn’t quite ask her out. Twice, I had tried to work up the guts and twice I failed. The third time, I finally pushed away the doubt, took a deep breath and went for it.

“Can I ask you something?” I had queried.

“Sure.” Her enthusiastic smile had instantly sent shivers up my spine. I glanced down to her hands, embarrassed. The ring was definitely on her left hand.

“Um, can I borrow your notes from the other day? I seem to have misplaced mine.”

“Oh, yeah. Here.” She had dug them out of her bag as I silently scolded myself for pulling out at the last minute. “Just bring them to lab tomorrow.”


The snow had all but disappeared despite it being May. Girls were out in spaghetti string tank tops and my romanticism was twisting my insides up like a ride on the teacups at an amusement park. I was reliving the last time in my head as our Wednesday lab slowly came to a close.

I had considered being elaborate, complete with flowers and a nice outfit, just like I tried with my first crush in kindergarten. I had considered forgetting the whole thing. But like some sinister plot to take over the galaxy, things had already been set in motion and I’m not one to turn away from a challenge. “Do it,” my friends whispered in my head. “We’re waiting.”

Her notes were in hand as I wandered across the open floor to her computer. I felt lucky, as the entire class had already shuffled out, giving me the privacy to do this without embarrassment.

“Here are your notes, Shy,” I said. “Thanks again for letting me borrow them.”

“Did you get everything you needed?”

“Yeah, thanks.”

“Sure, anytime.”

It was now or never. I quickly ran through my internal pep talk as she shuffled papers into her bag. She’s not married. Lots of college girls wear rings, I reminded myself. And she seems to like you. Just keep it simple and do it, Ben!

“Listen, would you perhaps be interested in grabbing dinner or maybe catch a movie this weekend?”

My heart stopped beating and my hands began sweating profusely. I felt like the most awkward beast in a world of super spies and debutantes.

“Oh, Ben,” she said smiling. “That’s really sweet.” Her hand came up, her thumb slowly twisting the plain gold band. “I’m flattered, but I’m married.”

Image by Alice Zheng.

FUCK, I screamed in my head. Outside my head, the nervous babble had taken hold.

“Heh, I kind of thought that was the case. I even asked some friends about the ring and they encouraged me to ask you anyway, since, you know, a lot of girls wear rings and aren’t married. ” I could feel my face turning red as I got more flustered. “It’s a really nice ring, by the way. I know because I’ve spent a long time looking at it.” Shut up, Ben! Shut up! “How long have you been married?” Why did I ask that? Stupidest question ever!

“We’ve been married for a year.”

“That’s great!” I was probably a little too enthusiastic as she reached out and put her hand gently on my shoulder.

“I really am flattered,” she said trying to comfort me. “You’re a sweet guy and I’m sure you’ll find someone.”

But you were perfect, I wanted to say. Instead, I tucked my tail firmly between my legs and mumbled, “Thanks. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

As soon as I was out the door, my phone was pinned to my ear.

“Hello?” Dara answered.

“She was totally married,” I announced, not bothering to identify myself.


“Yes, seriously. For, like, a year!” She laughed at this. I couldn’t help but smile.

“Well good for you for trying.” I stopped dead in my tracks, a look of shock washing over my face.

“Yeah,” I said, suddenly feeling pride. “I gave it a shot.”

It was the first time in a while I had taken the initiative like that and it really felt like something to be proud of.

“Next time, though,” I told her, “I’m trusting my first instinct since your advice sucks!”