Three Months Of Salary For An Engagement Ring? How About Go F*ck Yourself?

Here’s a re-post from one of my readers…

Felt it was worth sharing.

Engagement rings have become my cause de guerre. I’m thirty and well over half of my closest friends are either engaged or married, so these puppies seem to smack me in the face on Instagram every week now. Sure, I’m a hopeless romantic at heart. Notting Hill, No Strings Attached, You’ve Got Mail, When Marry Met Sally, the first 70 minutes of La La Land… if TV Guide magazine tells me any of these movies will be on TBS superstation, my night is booked. But when it comes to engagement rings, my mouth fills with acrid bile.

Engagement rings are a massive industry. Some people blame DeBeers; I blame women. Dangerous words in these delicate times, I know. But at some point, we need to realize that women are capable of being terrible people, just like men. That’s equality. That’s progress. To illustrate this thesis, we look to Instagram.

As wedding ring/engagement photos have proliferated across my Instagram feed, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend: many women post a photo of the ring and write “he did such a good job!” It’s a deflection, a humble downplay, like posting a shredded bikini pic while pretending to eat a hot dog with a caption like “empty calories, full stomach, can’t lose!” It’s meant to throw us off the scent of what it really is: a vagina-measuring contest. Because what’s really happening here is that she’s posting a photo of a commodity, the price of which we immediately start to estimate. And by we, I mostly mean other women, because they know the ring market.

An olive branch: if women just owned what they were doing with these posts, I’d applaud them for it. Remember ’90s hip hop videos, where rappers would flex in backwards football jerseys as a strobe light hit their $60,000 Jesus piece, triggering epileptic fits for unmedicated children? It was a flex, and they relished it. You didn’t see Diddy brandishing his new spinning Sprewell pendant with a disclaimer like “my friend bought me this, and he knows me so well! Thanks dude!” Today, similarly, these ladies are flexing their new ice on Instagram; but they couch it with deferential words to their buyer fiancé. I would have nothing but respect for a ring post with a caption like “Look at the size of this fucking thing! He spent more than I thought he would!”

But that would be too obvious. That would violate the weird, unspoken decorum of ringstagramming. Thus, we’re left with these thinly-veiled humblebrags that credit some hapless fellow who simply brandished six credit cards and held his breath. Not only do these dudes probably not give a shit about credit, they’re not worthy of it! When it comes to rings, you know who actually did a good job? Sam and Frodo. The ’72 Dolphins. The Motorola Razr. Heidi Fleiss. The Undertaker. Barnum and Bailey. These are first ballot ring HOFers; not your Dave.

I have a family ring from my late grandmother. As a family, we believe in heirlooms and preserving memories. Also, my grandmother was a powerful wizard who learned the dark art of splitting her soul, a portion of which lives on in the horcrux I plan to give my lady someday. The ring is beautiful, too. It’s a far nicer ring than I could buy right now from Zales or Adam Sandler.

Still, I can’t help but wonder how an Instagram post of this ring will be received. Do I somehow love her less because I didn’t spend three months of my salary on it? Do I need to buy her something to supplement the ring, to emphasize this promise?

Maybe. Or maybe I’ll take the money I saved on a ring and put it towards something nice for myself. After all, I saved. I was fiscally responsible. Dare I say… I did such a good job.


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10 Things Guys Should Never Say If They Ever Want To See You Again

Ah, men. So endearing. So easily confused. We know we women aren’t the easiest people in the world to figure out, and it’s all too easy for a guy to open his mouth and say something that’s an instant deal breaker. Whether the subject is sex, weight, or love, here are a few lines that should send you ladies running for the hills if you hear them from your dude. Feel free to add yours in the comments!

1. “What did you say your name was again?

2. “Well, I was in love with you. Now I’m not so sure.”

3. “Did I ever tell you that I didn’t actually go to Harvard?”

4. “I can’t feel anything.”

5. “Come to think of it, those jeans do make you look fat.”

6. “I forgot my wallet.”

7. “I don’t have a condom, but I have sex all the time without a condom, and I’ve never gotten anyone pregnant.”

8. “I do not smell like a strip club!”

9. “Without you, I am a spineless loser.”

10. “I cry a lot.”


Rebecca – Chapter 11 – A Rare Bird – Part 2

I met Rebecca 3 years ago on a date. Rebecca has recently made an appearance in my life so I thought I’d re-run this series so everyone won’t have to go back and search for her series to catch up. Enjoy!

Fall of 2016

What am I supposed to do with what Rebecca just said?

I was about to profess my love to her and he just told me she’s possibly leaving for South America in the next two weeks.

Three to six months? What the hell? How is this happening?

Not now! Not when I’m so close to maybe having her as my girlfriend!


But it’s happening.

Everything in the bar vanishes around me. I can only see her face and her voice is completely gone. I only feel the searing pain of her going.

I can’t let this take me in the moment.

“Chaz…  I know this is kind of sudden and things have been so great with you. I… I don’t know what to say. I really like you.

She pulled her dark mane from it’s enclosure and let her locks tumble about her face like ribbons of sadness.

I’m so transparent. She can see I’m dying. I can’t let the fear in. Nothing is as bad as I think as it is… as long as I don’t let the fear in. I’ve lived my whole life this way. Conditioning my brain to cope with fear and loss.

Rebecca clasps my hands. I feel the paradox between the softness of her hands and the hardness of her words like her well manicured nails.

It brings me back into the moment. Which is paramount for me to deal with this and not lose my composure. I won’t freak out. I will just be overcome by sadness, and I can’t let that happen. I have to be happy for her.

Just like everything else in my life. All of the adversity. I just have to act happy and live through it. I’ve been doing this my whole life.

Why is it suddenly so hard here?

I’m older. I’ve gotten good at this. I’ve trained my mind to pedal slower, just breathe and get through it all with a smile.

“It’s only three to six months, Chaz.”

“I know and I’m really proud of you, but…”

“But what?

“I’m really going to miss you, Rebecca.”

She continued to hold my hands. Her dark eyes searched my face for answers where there was only one.

She took one hand away and pulled her chocolate locks behind one ear. She exhaled through her nose. Her lips pursed in thought. I watched as emotions washed over her lovely face. She sniffed and I saw the beginning of the glistening tears in her eyes. Which brought the same emotion to mine.

Oh, this is a bad moment. Things are accelerating. I need to pull myself back in.

“I know. It’s an amazing opportunity. I… I really like you, Rebecca. I suppose it’s been pretty obvious.”

A tear gently slid down her soft cheek. “C’mere, you.”

Rebecca leaned in.

It was all happening in slow motion. Like I was watching a movie except I was the hapless supporting actor that gets burned in the final reel.

She gently kissed my lips. I felt and tasted her sticky lip gloss. I could smell her. It was intoxicating.

It smelled like love, lust and sadly, the bitter scent of loss.

“I’m going to miss you so much too.”

“Rebecca…” My voice cracked. “I understand. I want you to go forward. I love my time with you.” (I had to choose my words carefully to protect my own heart here) “But, just know I’ll be thinking of you. I hope you do great work and have an amazing adventure. You know that. But…”

(I’m going out on a limb here.)


“I was just hoping that maybe when you get back, maybe we could pick up again and hang out again. But I understand if by then, you’ve moved forward with your life.”

“This is so hard, Chaz.”

“I know. Please… don’t worry about me. I’ll be here working in Philly and doing what I do. Hey, you’ve vanished before, and here I am!”

She smacked my arm and made that sweet smirking face I love. “Stop it! You know this is hard for me. Dude, you know I like you. I’ve told you how you’re not like all the guys I meet and know. That’s why you have so many female friends. They all know your different.”

“Okay… okay… Wait. Tell me more about how awesome I am.”

“You…Such a Leo.”

Rebecca put her arms around me and hugged my tightly. I didn’t care who saw at the bar. Nothing mattered. In that moment I wanted to tell her that I was in love with her. I really did. But I couldn’t do it. Not because I was afraid, but because it was not the time.

It was her time.

Not mine.

I had to be careful.

“Let’s get out of here.”

“You got it.” I settled up the check. It was $20. (Thank you Roman for the glorious hookup! Spend the $50 tip on your son!)

We stepped out into the cool Autumn night in Philly. The corner of 17th and Sansom was quiet. Just a couple of homeless people milling about the church across the street. A sad dichotomy to the wealth on this side of the street.

“I’m exhausted.” Rebecca keyed in and UBER on her phone.

They come so fast.

So fast to take her away from me.

They all leave me.

All of them.

It’s okay, because I know that life is fleeting and none of us really own anything. We just have it for awhile and then we’re all gone from here anyway.

Rebecca clung to me to quell the chill of the October night.

“You’re my favorite person, you know that, Chaz?”

“Same, Rebecca.”

She looked up at me with those emerald eyes. She looked up and down 17th street as if to see if her mom was watching. On tiptoes she kissed me. An initial smooch, then a pause to gauge my response. Reading my face.

It was my turn to strike.

I took her in my arms and kissed her deeply. She responded in kind. Her full lips yielding to my kiss. It’s as if we had practiced this scene many times before.

Saying goodbye.

Our kiss was glorious. Just like always.

Always new.

Always final.

It was beautiful.

I’ve had the honor to kiss many women, but Rebecca’s kisses were like a flower opening before my eyes. A miracle of life and beginnings that always had a finite destination.

When I open my eyes, I see her there in my arms before me. Looking right at me. Smiling. Bright. Shiny. New.

I love the new ones.

But they all drive off the lot with new owners.

“My Uber is here. Text me tomorrow?”

“You bet.”

I watch as my favorite nurse in Philadelphia boards the black sedan before me and disappear up the street.

That final kiss blown and a wave, and she’s gone.

How many times has this happened?

I’ve lost count.

But why does this one feel so exhilarating and painful in the same breath?

I’m not getting any younger. I have no illusion that middle age is what it is for me. All of my rare little birds will eventually fly away.

Is writing this blog simply an extended epitaph to my romantic life?

I think it is.

I keep dating these younger women expecting a different outcome. But it never happens. But I know better. I already know all of the answers to my dating and relationship woes. But I continue to chase these beautiful birds across the field and every one of them flies away.

But I know why.

I think the brief pleasure of having them in my life at this point is enough. I think I’m really done. I think Cherie finished my off. She’ll be the last real one. (As real as that was!) Why am I even thinking I could have a future with Rebecca? She’s Kate, Tara, Melissa, Judith, Michelle, Annabelle and Cherie all rolled into one.

I grow and evolve as a man in this world and become a simpler, happier person but I continue to cycle through all of these young women. I know that every one of these relationships will end the same way, but I just keep doing it over and over.

So maybe it’s not about how it just happens that I’m always dating young women. What it’s really about is the fact that for some reason I’m trying to find something that’s been lost somewhere.

I should get down on my knees and thank God any of them have given me a chance. I’m long overdue to be finished. Maybe that’s why Keith Richards is still kicking. There’s just a part of us that never grew up. There’s a part of men that are seeking the love of a young women that’s missing a crucial part.

We look at women our age as women we associate with our mothers. We love her and miss her and always wanted her love and never really got it.

So we turn to the eternal flowers of youth that are fleeting. We keep reaching for those fresh flowers but they all wilt and nearly die in our hands.

Our sad bouquet stands before us. Vibrant, beautiful and so ready to fight gravity and reach for the sun. Her roots yield to gravity in the Earth and take hold in someone else’s garden.

But never mine.

I realize I never grew a garden.

I’m surrounded by glass, concrete and steel in this fine city of Philadelphia.

I feel comfortable and happy here. These have been the happiest times of my life these last thirteen years.


But I feel things slowing down. I continue to work like any other artist. Funny, how I still refer to myself that way. But that’s the way I feel.

My father used to say: “Walk among them but never join them.”

He was right, but I think I may have twisted that a bit.

I’ve had so many people come into my life. Some I’ve pulled in myself. The strong gravity of my personality. That’s really all I have. My personality and my natural ability.
But that’s all it takes sometimes.

But like a great white shark I will always die in captivity.

Many men have settled into marriage and domesticity. But there are those of us that can never do it. So many who shouldn’t do it. It only works out half the time.

I don’t like those odds.

But if you don’t settle down and get married you wander the earth like me.

I’m happy, but sometimes I think about being single as opposed to being married.
“I could be married and get free boring sex and feel annoyed much of the time, or be single and be lonely but be free to do whatever I want, when I want.”

I know it’s not for everyone, but I’m just going to live my life the way I want to for as long as I can. I’m not doing anything wrong, but I should probably figure out why from such a youthful age I always was surrounded by young, attractive girls.

What’s the piece I’m missing?

If anyone reading this can help me out I’d appreciate it.

Well, I’m going to text Rebecca tomorrow and hope for the best.

But I know the best may not even be something I want.



Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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