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Thoughts on Singelringen, Anyone? January 12, 2009

Posted by Onely in Dating, Food for Thought, Great Onely Activities.
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singelringenWe are intriged by the idea of Singelringen, a ring that single people buy to support the mantra that,

“I am not alone. I am Single.” 

 We think it’s a great core concept. At first glance, Singelringen represents a healthy commitment to and acceptance of one’s self, even when single in a coupled world. The ring

“Reminds the single man or woman that they are already complete while open to possibilities.”

However (and there’s always a however, isn’t there?),               
do we really need to model our  “proud to be single” message after a symbol used in the historically heteronormative tradition of weddings/marriages (and I’m even ignoring for now the the sexist implications of the engagement ring)? By creating “Singelringen” for singles, are we just further validating the too-prevalent concept of weddings and marriage as status-enhancers?  Or, to think more optimistically, are we recrafting the role of the commitment ring in society, making it work in our favor?

On their home page, Singelringen says,

“There are engagement rings and wedding rings, but there was no such thing as a ring for single men and women. Why not? If anyone needs to signal one’s civil status, it’s a Single.”

Perhaps they mean that until society moves away from its fixation on civil status (by the year 2052, you think?), wearing a Singelring (wearing Singelringen? wearing a Singelringen? wearing Singelring?) might be a good way draw people’s attention to the fact that, “Hey, there are other commitment options beyond man-woman marriage.” 

We here at Onely are all about that. However (oops, there’s another one!), we noticed that although on Singelringen’s home page they say,

We should stand up for what we are. . .

They follow it immediately with, 

We are always more attractive to others when we are comfortable being single.

True, that. However (number three), here we are again, back to being happy so that we are more attractive to others: it’s ok to be happy and single, as long as you are striving toward eventual partnerhood. Is this what Singelringen wants to communicate? By “if anyone needs to signal their civil status, it’s a Single,”  do they mean that Singles should be signalling to people that they are available for coupling (and, hence, imply that Single is a state implicitly requiring change)? 

I’m afraid this might be the case. Singelringen posts in their “press” section this article from The Age, 7 October 2007, which describes Singelringen as:  

A “single ring” for single people who want others to know at a quick glance they are unmarried and available for dating

However (four), this was the media talking, not Singelringen itself, and the overall vibe from the Singelringen site seems more positive and enlightened than all that. So we’re going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps some of this problematic rhetoric comes across better in the Swedish, Korean, Chinese, Polish, Italian, French, or Spanish.

Yes, you can read about Singelringen and join the Singelringen community in any of these languages! And that is very very freaking awesomely fabulous and progressive, no matter what one may think about the legacy of wedding rings, or any specific Singelringen rhetoric. Which is why Onely is adding Singelringen to our blogroll. Check it out, y’all–lots of singlehood experts wear it. (For all our Copious Chinese Readers, there’s even a choice between simplified and complex characters!) 

Copious Readership, do any of you wear Singelringen? Why or why not? What do you think about the USD 69 / 45 Euro pricetag? 

–CC

PS. I just can’t get away from the freaky spacing, sorry! 

 


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Comments»

1. Rachel - January 13, 2009

I have one and am still somewhat ambivalent about wearing it, especially because of your however #3. Even the material from Singelringen seems to give this double message: Be proud of being single but make sure people know you’re available (hence you’re still normal…). I am also wearing a custom-made ring on the ring-finger of my left hand. It is a ring that symbolizes my commitment to myself. And I am wearing it on that particular finger because I don’t like having to reserve 10% of my fingers for one particular purpose. I had hoped either ring would be a conversation starter and thus allow me to raise some consciouness about singlism but so far only very few people asked me. Interestingly, most seem to feel rather uncomfortable with the reason for either ring and quickly change the subject…

2. lori - January 13, 2009

I wouldn’t wear this- no way. Wearing a single ring is akin to me of wearing a chastity ring or an abstinence ring. Eew. Those are rings for single people. I have my favorite rings and they have no meaning other than they’re pretty. Is that photo representative of the singleringen?
This seems a kind of labeling or branding that I personally try to avoid. Kind of like “me too, but Not.” I don’t want to feel any more different or separate from others than I already do at times. I’m happily single, but I’m not militant about it. If I meet a man and fall in love next week, well, life is impermanence. (Then I might be pissed that I wasted $69)
Yes, there are relationships and commitment options out there that extend beyond man/woman married, and there are countless ways to express them- check out some of the tattoos people get. Let the marrieds spend a small fortune on a ring they have a good chance of losing, who cares? We are attached to everything we own to a weird degree; I just don’t think a ring is going to change deeply held attitudes and traditions. Those need fact-based education; a sea-change of the heart; and an upheaval of narrow, intolerant laws.

3. onely - January 13, 2009

Lori, great point about the marketing/branding issue. I think that’s a v. important issue. Wouldn’t it be funny/weird if singelringens cost even *more* than they already do, closer to the cost of a wedding ring? Does increased cost = increased value? I personally think the cost of the singelringen is a bit too steep and would prefer an interesting, hand-crafted ring for the same price.

Rachel, being the researcher that I am, I wonder how many people have had similar experiences (hoping the singelringen would start conversations and instead only increases discomfort/awkwardness)? Out of curiosity, how, exactly, did you hear of singelringen?

— L

4. Nicole - January 14, 2009

i am always amazed that there is product out there that is supposed to make your life “better” in one way or another (so many products operate under the supposition that we are lacking in one way or another), but really life is more complicated than one product can address, if that makes any sense (i guess i concur that there are too many howevers!)

5. Linda Sherman - January 14, 2009

Thank you Onely for including Singelringen on your site.

The Swedish English language on our site is rather challenged.

Singelringen is aligned with the highly respected work of Bella DePaulo. If you look at celebrities wearing Singelringen, they include gay personalities such as Rex Lee.

We promote enjoying your single life which for many includes dating. That does not mean that we feel the objective is to “fix” your state of singleness by getting married. We are not however, anti-marriage either.

Regarding the cost of the ring. Each ring has a unique registration number engraved in it that provides access to a Singelringen Global Social Community with members from over 20 countries. The management of this system is costly.

The point about being more attractive when you feel good about yourself – “attractive” is a broad term referring to people wanting to hire you, be around you etc. We feel Singelringen reminds the single wearer they are already complete on their own. They are fine as they are. Wouldn’t you rather be friends with that person than someone who is fervently seeking to change their situation.

Singelringen Representative for North America

6. Lauri - January 19, 2009

I came across Singlerigen a while back and the same reaction to it. At first I thought “this is cool.” But then I read further and got a little disgusted. Jewelry stores now sell “right hand rings” as well- it’s supposed to be so single women don’t feel left out for not having engagement rings. Um, isn’t that just a “ring”? I’ve got a celtic infinity symbol on my right hand, I guess I’m advertising my “single status.”

7. onely - January 20, 2009

I agree with Lauri–I have always been puzzled about the right-hand-ring. IT’S A RING!

I also agree with Lori of the other spelling–“I’m happily single, but I’m not militant.” I find it so interesting that when people find out I do this blog, they assume I’m militant. I guess that must happen to a lot of “activist” types.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if no one wore rings to symbolize their status? I wonder if that would help make us all more forthright with each other, force us to ask each other what sort of relationships we have in our lives, instead of looking at a hand and making assumptions based on the rings. Just a thought exercise. –CC

8. Joanna - February 1, 2009

Do you guys know if anyone has been successful meeting others in public by wearing their ring? Do straight guys even wear this ring? I’d like to believe that they do, but really do they? How do people feel this social community is compared to facebook? Have people even been successful meeting others online?

9. onely - February 2, 2009

Joanna–those are great questions for the Singelringen people. On their site, they give this contact info: info@singelringen.com The question I would add to your list of questions is, “What was behind the choice of music on the home page?” It kind of reminds me of the stereotype of porn music. I think they could choose something better.

It’s hard to assess the efficacy of the site (if you consider efficacy as meeting people for partnering) without paying the 69 dollars. And do people join to meet partners, or to meet other singles and share notes about the single lifestyle? I think it’s a mixture of both, but then, I’m not curious enough to pay 69 dollars to find out for sure, right now.

And you’re right, it’s kind of hard to imagine straight guys wearing the ring–though maybe the Europeans are less hung up about that kind of thing than we are.
–CC

10. Linda Sherman - February 3, 2009

Apparently in Sweden, this music is cool. I sent them a message with your thoughts about it.

Straight guys wearing Singelringen – absolutely. Actually in Canada the percentage of straight men wearing Singelringen is higher than women. Especially in Calgary!

I have met many celebrities at VIP gifting parties and the men were very happy to wear Singelringen. Some like to wear it on a neck chain. http://myspace.com/singelringen

In Mexico, the male/female ratio is about even. Uriel del Toro looks great in Singelringen – I do believe he is straight.

More than 15 respected authors who write about Single Life have endorsed Singelringen.

We have many stories of “cute meets” wearing Singelringen. It’s more about explaining the unusual ring than running into someone else who is wearing it.

Comparing the Singelringen Global Community to Facebook … Facebook is the gold standard by which all social communities are judged. In terms of functionality, Facebook wins. But what niche communities are about is who is there. At this point in time, Singelringen Global Community is more about meeting proudly single adults living in other countries. I wouldn’t count on it as a local dating site.

Buy a Singelringen by Valentine’s Day and get 30% off.

11. onely - February 4, 2009

Thanks for answering the questions, Linda! I do feel strongly about that music (I myself am partial to classic country, but I’m pretty sure that people would rebel against that!!) = )

Singelringen’s international aspect is definitely its strong suit, in my opinion. I’m glad to hear that in other countries, single men wear singelringen as often or more than women. That is a relief–as you know, the culture of engagement rings and wedding rings historically has had overtones of claiming women as property, and if singelringen can appeal to both men and women, that’s one step closer to reclaiming the use of rings on modern terms. If that makes sense (it’s 5:40 am, for goodness’ sake!)
CC

12. Rings for ’singles’ « Melbourne Jeweller - June 1, 2009

[…] After writing the above mini-rant I found a reasonable discussion, though different conclusion, here. […]


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