DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a young woman in her early 20s whose friends are being proposed to and becoming engaged. I have noticed that when these young ladies present their happy news in social settings, the other women ask to see the ring. When the ring is obligingly passed around, many women try it on.
I seem to be the only one who doesn't do so. I have always assumed that the engagement ring was something that a woman other than whom it was presented to was not to try on, since it is ostensibly a symbol of the promise between the happy couple to be wed.
My friends say it doesn't matter as long as the lady who owns it has passed it around, since that signals that the other ladies may try it on their hands, but I am not quite so certain. Am I wrong to simply admire the ring in my hand (rested on the palm) rather than on it?
GENTLE READER: Ladies old enough to wed should have emerged from the Show and Tell Years, but apparently many have not. Passing around the engagement ring is only slightly more decorous than passing around the bridegroom.
When it gets to you, Miss Manners encourages you to express admiration, but you are under no obligation to bite it, try it on or ask the price.