Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ain't No Diamond Like the One I Bought

Jewelers are a cunning bunch, quite astute in associating a pricey diamond with such hard-for-men to express emotions such as love, gratitude, and atonement. They also like to set themselves up as champions of a woman's need and right to be appreciated. But listen closer to their advertisements, and I think that you will agree that they are actually demeaning those they would presume to esteem.

I heard a radio spot today that encouraged helpless saps to purchase a "right hand ring" for their beloved lest this Valentine's Day go down as the worst since Bugs Moran lost seven of his men to a decidedly unsentimental Al Capone.

The "right-hand ring" business, I would guess, is to combat any ill-conceived notions that slipping that ring on her finger at the altar signals the end of a man's diamond buying days. Not a bad pitch, I suppose. Certainly better than trying to hawk birthstone's in August with the slogan: "Peridot for Pointer."*

What turned me off to the ad was the tag: "Show her you really know her."

And just who exactly is she? Well if jewelers are to be believed, she is a materialistic harpy who will accept no less than a diamond ring that costs the equivalent of three paychecks, mortgage and car payments be damned.

Men don't fare any better in the ads. We've bought into the notion that not only are we from Mars, but that we are basically no-good shlubs who can't connect with women on any real level, but are saved from extinction because we can be easily coerced into producing a credit card the day before a holiday.

Women, on the other hand, they are totally unaware that by accepting the gift of a diamond, they are conforming to the stereotype that they are just a bunch of gold diggers.

A television ad that ran recently supports my position that jewelers are playing both sides for fools. In it, a man, inspired by an uncontrollable passion, spontaneously and unabashedly proclaims his love for his woman for all to hear. Seldom has a truer proclamation of adoration been heard in a 30-second television ad. And how does the woman respond to this outpouring of emotion? She's embarrassed, obviously wishing that she were married to George Clooney, someone suave and sophisticated who wouldn't humiliate her with such histrionics. That is, she's embarrassed until her man lays some "ice" on her, then she is moved to tears and reciprocates with a declaration of love to him, an emotion that she couldn't seem to muster without the sparkle of a diamond to move her soul.

Excuse me if I don't share this dim view of womankind. Instead, I agree with the Four Tops in their song "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I Got), which along with expressing such adoring sentiments as,

Every day the sun comes up around her.
She can make the birds sing harmony.

also acknowledges that women aren't the bourgeois princesses that Zales would have us believe,

She don't ask for things, no diamond rings.

Be careful, however. If you use this song to serenade your sweetheart, you must cough loudly when they get to the line that goes, "cause it's my word, my word she'll obey." Otherwise, you'll find yourself at Tobin's quicker than you can say "one diamond right-hand ring, please!"

*Inspired by the children's classic, "Where is Thumbkin?"

1 comment:

Monkey Boy said...

I regard to the ad you referenced in which the guys screams aloud that he "loves this woman," then gives her a big diamond ring.

How about her other response besides her obvious joy? She shows her love by whispering in his ear that she too loves him. A shout compared to a whisper? After getting a diamond? There needs to be an R rated version of that commercial alluding what good things happened to the guy later in the hotel room or he needs to see a lawyer.