…We Stop Getting Engaged With Them

Originally published at Business Insider.

Yeah, they say three years’ salary.”–Michael Scott, The Office

American males enter adulthood through a peculiar rite of passage – they spend most of their savings on a shiny piece of rock.

They could invest the money in assets that will compound over time and someday provide a nest egg.

Instead, they trade that money for a diamond ring, which isn’t much of an asset at all. As soon as you leave the jeweler with a diamond, it loses over 50% of its value.

Americans exchange diamond rings as part of the engagement process, because in 1938 De Beers decided that they would like us to. Prior to a stunningly successful marketing campaign 1938, Americans occasionally exchanged engagement rings, but wasn’t a pervasive occurrence.

Not only is the demand for diamonds a marketing invention, but diamonds aren’t actually that rare. Only by carefully restricting the supply has De Beers kept the price of a diamond high.

Countless American dudes will attest that the societal obligation to furnish a diamond engagement ring is both stressful and expensive. But here’s the thing – this obligation only exists because the company that stands to profit from it willed it into existence.

So here is a modest proposal: Let’s agree that diamonds are bull* and reject their role in the marriage process. Let’s admit that as a society we got tricked for about century into coveting sparkling pieces of carbon, but it’s time to end the nonsense.

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