An attractive woman working in the company where a friend works wears an ambiguous ring on her left hand — it doesn’t look like a wedding ring. Rings as semaphores of romantic status used to be clear – engaged, married, or single. The ambiguity of this ring reflects the ambiguity of the social situation for a divorced father who would like to find a companion. Is the ring announcing that the woman is committed but not married, committed but gay, a single mom raising a child without a father, divorced, married, or just a single woman who liked the ring and it fits best on the finger where wedding rings usually go? Alternatively, the lack of a ring does not always mean the person is single – some married couples feel branded by wearing a ring.
Dating sites provide this information up front, but meeting in person (which is where he would prefer to meet someone) is a thicket of social brambles. Being a man who spends part of his life as a single parent and eschews babysitters when possible, he’s not likely to meet a woman at a bar or a party; more likely at work, or a children’s soccer game, at church, at the gym, or randomly over the broccoli in the supermarket. If he likes her, what is the acceptable opening gambit?
He thinks there should be a ring which signals divorce. He has provisionally called it the Maiden Ring, which sounds nice, but isn’t quite right. Divorce Ring is too fraught. Somewhere there is a perfect name for such a ring.
The suggestions have poured in: people divorced one year or less might wear a red ring, people divorced 2-5 years a blue ring, and people divorced five years or more a green ring. Someone suggested a white band across the ring for each child. Or it could be a ring worn the left hand or a different finger, or a ring of a certain configuration or material.
The counterargument is that half the fun would be in unearthing this information without offending the person. It would build social deftness to try, but maybe there is enough to learn about people deftly without having to negotiate this opening barrier.
Pity the poor person looking for a mate, or even just a date, in the actual, rather than the virtual, world. It’s a minefield out there.