Date Culture

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An American man needs help buying an engagement ring for his Filipino girlfriend

18th April 2006

Here’s an interesting conversation from an online message board. An American man is getting ready to ask his Filipino girlfriend to marry him and needs advice about what kind of diamond ring he should buy. In America, we call this an engagement ring.

 This conversation shows some interesting aspects of American culture and how Americans perceive Filipino culture. 

Matt: I need some advice on finding an engagement ring. I know absolutely nothing about rings and she seems to have VERY definitive tastes. We have watched several TV shows/movies where a woman receives an engagement ring and my girlfriend says, “Yuk, that ring is so ugly.” Meanwhile I have absolutely no idea why and am terrified of getting a ring that she hates.

I can’t ask her for advice beforehand as she kills me on my lack of spontaneity on gifts since I usually just ask her what she wants.

Dave: talk to her best friend or sister.

Matt: I thought about that. I think her best friend in DC might be a good one to ask for advice…

Paul: Yeah, see what her sister and or best friend got and go a little bigger.

Matt: I know jack about styles or even jewelers… Any help would be appreciated.

Paul: Maybe ask her mother.

Rob: Ask her in round about ways and not at the same time what kind of cut on the diamond she would like. For example would she like a princess or emerald cut. Then you need to ask about the setting. Does she prefer platinum, gold or white gold? Personally, I would go with the platinum. The spontaneous part is when you decide to give it to her. Look, you are going to invest some serious coin in a ring. Its better to get her what she wants if you can afford it, because the consequences are worse if you get her a ring she does not like. It’s better to listen to her complain about too little spontaneity than to buy a ring she doesn’t like.

John: First…congrats. Second…why hasn’t she felt obliged to give you something that demonstrates her desired commitment? This one-sided sexist crap drives me nuts.
In the increasing woman’s world we live in, I think it is high time that we get the engagement gift. After all, isn’t getting our avowed monogamy enough?
Women, can’t live with them, pass the beer nuts.

Jason: Get zirconia. What is she gonna do, appraise it? Take the savings with you on your bachelor party trip to Vegas.

Matt: Thank Rob. Good advice. I have no clue how I am gonna ask her… heard lots of “sweet and thoughtful” stories about how guys popped the question… I like the beer nuts idea, but it might get me in trouble.
Guess I would love to just surprise her with something great. If I ask her, she will be expecting it. Ideally, I wanna get her something soon… She just turned 30 which is like 92 in most Asian cultures, so her parents are really giving her a hard time.

John: Avoid trendy settings. The size and quality of the stone you choose will depend on your budget, but the one thing I would do is avoid trendy cuts and especially trendy settings. Think timeless, something she will not want to replace when it goes out of style in 5 years. Do your research and avoid places like Tiffany’s where you’ll pay a very very big premium for the pretty little Tiffany blue boxes.

Rob: I proposed on a beach in Thailand. She dug it big time. Then we spent 3 months trying on diamond rings because there were, apparently, occlusions in the stone I had picked. Ya, good times.
Matt: I am looking for simple yet elegant.

Jason: A rule of thumb is three months salary…

Aaron: I bet you change your oil every 3000 miles, too. 3 months? Please.

Ian: I don’t think I followed the formula myself when I got engaged. My wife wasn’t picky about the ring, she was happy to be getting me. (gulp)

Chris: That 2 or 3 months salary rule is just a lot of marketing BS made up by DeBeers about 15 years ago. It is not a standard, just what a company that owns a majority share of the diamond market is telling you to spend.

Alan: my best advice would be don’t plan on doing anything expensive again for a while.. When I proposed to my wife, (girlfriend of 5 years). I was this close..(fingers about a half a centimeter apart) from buying a new Chrysler 300 C. I bought the ring instead. She is very happy. And I’m still waiting on the Chrysler. Happy wife, happy life. Good luck.

Danny: I had to laugh at your Asian line about 30 being like 92. Same boat here, my girlfriend is Filipino… Lets just say I can relate to you ;). Good luck.

Matt: My girl is Filipino as well… Spent Christmas in Manila and New Year’s in Boracay… Can’t tell you how many marriage questions we fielded… It was pretty comical how forward people were about their opinions on our wedding date.
Peter: Spend just one evening watching a jewelry channel (with her) where they auction the stuff. Saturday night there is a higher end show out of California (Fine Art Treasures) that will give you a real good idea about value. You will see that what is appraised at $20,000 can be had for 1/10th the price via these shows. Retail stinks. However, you could go shopping with her to get an idea of what she likes as far as cuts, style, solitaire, round or little diamonds. Is she simple, fancy, etc.? Once you get that idea then go online at a reputable place or go to the shopping channels for deals. Remember to get her ring size (from her mom).

2 Responses to “An American man needs help buying an engagement ring for his Filipino girlfriend”

  1. behing01 Says:

    I just want to comment on how interesting this conversation is. I also want to state that this is the norm for most men and the real answer is to ask your girlfriend. Even if she wants you to be spontaneous and wants you to do it all yourself. She will be happy to go look at rings with you and all you have to do is be honest with her and listen. Then, you go back without her and pick out the ring she liked the most, and upgrade it to a little larger diamond. She is going to be the one wearing it for years and years so she should have some say in what she gets.

  2. jrcwork01 Says:

    Engagement rings can be very expensive! But as long as it works out with the marriage then maybe it’s ok!