I have a piece in New York magazine today, about the collision of social media and wedding obsession: the context-free diamond.
My big sister warned me that this time would come. The time when you’re afraid to log in to Facebook on Sunday morning for fear that all of your Facebook friends got engaged on Saturday night. Every no-longer-single one of them.
I’m almost four years out of college, and around me, the dominoes are starting to fall. Of course, they aren’t all going to get engaged, and certainly not all at once. But it can feel that way thanks to Facebook’s relationship updates, and to an in-your-face trend those updates enable: the stand-alone engagement ring photo op. Because, as daunting as seeing my acquaintances getting hitched left and right can be (this adulthood thing is not really going away!), I’m thrilled, delighted, tickled pink, and other adjectives, for all of them. But the subset for whom I’m slightly less tickled are those who insist on posting pictures of their newly bedazzled left hands — just the hands — on Facebook to announce the changes in their relationship statuses. Call it the context-free diamond; even if the stones are ethically sourced, the status update is irksome.
In the past, engagement ring photos were the visual equivalent of a humble brag, snuck in sideways and with a blushing face: The radiant couple posed with the bride’s conspicuously sparkling left hand on the groom’s upper arm, or the bride-to-be excitedly holding up her hand next to her smiling face. But in the age of the context-free diamond, the ring flaunt is unabashed: a close-up of the hand and ring, perhaps with a caption like, “He asked … ” or “I said yes!”
You can read the whole thing here.