Concerning Vanity

(Before reading further, please understand that I have the utmost reverent respect for women; “women”, meaning females who possess and exemplify the virtues and refinement befitting of the title “woman”. However, my face will often turn red with fury when I encounter ditsy, silly, shallow girls who are old enough to act as women but instead taint that noble status and title with their foolishness. To the latter, these remarks may be referenced and stand as a pattern to be avoided and rectified.)


I remember a short film, made in the late 60’s, called “Johnny Lingo”. It takes place among a tribe on an island in the Pacific. In the part I wish to highlight, Johnny is about to sit down with the father of the woman he wishes to marry to negotiate the terms of the marriage. On this island, it is customary for the groom-to-be to offer a gift, usually in the form of cows, to the father-in-law-to-be as a condolence, if you will, to ease the father’s parting with his beloved daughter. The negotiations are a public event, viewed by everyone who is willing to attend. Prior to the negotiations, the married women recount the day their husbands negotiated for them. One wife says, “My husband paid three cows for me.” Another replies, “My husband paid five cows,” and then beams with pride whilst the other clearly becomes disgruntled.

What really gets my goat about these cows is what if three cows was the very best that husband could do? What if the husband of the five-cow-woman was well off, and five cows was just a drop in the hat? In terms of sacrifice, what if three cows was a hundred and fifty percent of what the husband of the three-cow-woman could give? What if five cows was only twenty-five percent of what that husband could give? In terms of sacrifice, which gave more for their wife? Which gave “the widows mite”? Which loved their wife more? The people were so caught up in counting the number of cows that they didn’t consider the value of the sacrifice. Were the women really concerned about how much their husband loved them? No. They were concerned about how rich of a husband they had caught. Money is the name of the game, so easily quantified, so easily measured, so easily compared. And so foolishly shallow.

These same foolish and vain ideals are prevalent in our own culture and day, but instead of cows, it’s diamond rings. In case the reader hadn’t noticed from previous papers I’ve published, I hate the idea of proposing with a ring. It makes it feel like I’m needing to bribe her to marry me, or that I’m paying her. I don’t want her to accept me because of my money. Heck, if I wanted that, I would have stayed in Nevada and gotten myself a prostitute.

Women seem to get a real kick out of flaunting their engagement ring. It’s like showing off how many cows their husband paid for them. Does it show how much she is loved compared to other women? Not necessarily. It may show why she married him though. Look at the size of the ring and you can usually tell if she married the man or the money, and which she thinks of more. Seriously, what wife does not know the value of their ring?

If I ever find a woman I would want to propose to, I plan on doing it without the ring. Of course, I will still have a ring to give her if she says yes. “What kind of woman would go for that?” you may ask. “The right kind of woman,” I would answer. The kind of woman I can be with at our marriage and say to the priest, “Leave out the whole ‘until death do you part’ thing. This is for eternity, not just this life. I won’t leave her, and I know she won’t leave me.”