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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Who Hates Engagement Rings Proposes Annuity Instead

DEAR ABBY: I despise wearing rings, which is a problem because I plan to become engaged. I'm OK with a plain wedding band, but baubles on appendages interfere with useful work and creativity, and they turn me off.

I have an expensive heirloom ring I would gladly give to my lady if she'd keep it in the safe deposit box where it belongs. I don't want to insure it, deal with it if she loses it, or know I caused her to be injured if a thug tried to steal it. If I give it to her, she'll want to wear it. She doesn't need an ornament to prove she's special or loved.

What can I use in lieu of an engagement ring? I'd rather give her an annuity or something useful. The thought of a $10,000 ring on a hand that belongs to a productive and intelligent working woman suggests self-indulgent exhibitionism.

I know I'm fighting an uphill battle, but my feelings are valid to me. I feel the same when I see rings in the workplace and socially. Why not just duct-tape a $1,000 bill to your forehead if you want to call attention to yourself? Any ideas? -- PRACTICAL IN DENVER

DEAR PRACTICAL: Before you pop the question, be absolutely sure you and your lady have a meeting of the minds on this subject. Candidly, from the tone of your letter you come across as rigid, opinionated and controlling. While you are entitled to your biases, if you marry an "intelligent and productive working woman," she should be able to decide for herself what kind of jewelry is appropriate.

Also, I find it sad that you would rather keep an expensive heirloom ring hidden in a safety deposit box than have your lady enjoy it -- presuming, of course, that it's her taste and she WOULD enjoy wearing it. So if you're looking for ammunition in arguing this with your girlfriend, I'm sorry, but you have asked the wrong columnist.