So, I've been meaning to post this tale of romance, woe, and Craigslist sales for quite a while now but have just not mustered the energy to do so until now. Years ago (yes, years) I was engaged to a delightful young woman but things just didn't pan out. This can be attributed to a variety of things, but youth, naivety, and fundamental differences would front any list entitled "Why It Didn't Work Out."
The thing about ending an engagement is that after all of the heartache and upset there's still the matter of an artificially valued ring that neither party involved in the breakup has any use for. Fortunately for me, the Ex in question was classy enough to return said artificially valued ring and I didn't have to swallow the entire cost of the diamond and band. Unfortunately for me, the diamond industry is comprised of some nefarious bastards who convince women and men that shelling out three months' salary for a not-that-uncommon stone is de rigueur and essential to asking someone to spend the rest of her life with you. This is all well and good until things don't work out and the jilted lover (me in this case) is left with something that is really only worth a tenth of whatever three months' salary fetched at the original purchase. I was in grad school at the time so three months' salary wasn't a huge amount in the grand scheme of things, but that's not really the point. The point is that I spent way more than I could afford, got my heart broken, and then was left with a considerably depreciated rock I had no use for. So I turned to Craigslist. My ad:
One white gold, lady's, solitaire ring; set with one, transparent, white, princess cut, natural diamond. Substantiated weight: .72 ct. Proportions and Finish: Good. Color: H-I Clarity I1. Comes with Carte Blue Evaluation and appraisal.
Here's what I really have:
This diamond has been tucked away in desks and closets throughout the numerous crappy apartments I have lived in for the past four years. I have resisted the urge to heave the ring, a representation of my painful past, into a lake or ocean or river of liquid hot magma or some other tired cliche of endless reclamation. I have also resisted acting upon the much less dramatic advice of my friend Barrett to take the ring to a jeweler, extract the diamond, and "Get [me] a sweet ass man ring."
Every time I look at it, I feel like someone has punched me in the nuts...in public...and like maybe they'll do it again for a good laugh. My ex-fiancee gave it back to me after I returned from a trip to Argentina as a grad student in 2004. Did I flounce around with some Argentine Tango goddess when I was there? Nope. On the contrary, I spent most of my time wondering why The Ex had broken a lease in my name THE DAY AFTER I LEFT despite telling me the day I left that everything was cool and she was looking forward to moving into the apartment with me. I don't know if you've ever tried, but it's pretty tough sub-letting a loft from 8,000 miles away even if it does have wood floors, high ceilings, and is located in a delightful area just off the prime entertainment strip of a college town. I'm just saying.
Anyhow, we did the "just dating" thing again for a while after I got back (mostly this was just sleeping together and pretending things would work out), I spent an interminable year living with my parents - remember, I'm apartmentless at this point - I took a job working at a Starbucks that was managed by a neurotic and over-protective single mother who also tried to get in my pants (true story), there was much more floundering and gnashing of teeth with The Ex as I tried to extract myself from the sticky mess we had made (seriously, get your mind out of the gutter), and I finally wound up single and happy in the beautiful, Midwestern megalopolis of Indianapolis, Indiana. It's OK so far, but I still don't know what the fuck a Hoosier is.
So what do I want for the ring? Great question. If you have a charming, intelligent, blonde haired, blue eyed, tan, atheltic, angel of the morning laying around the house I'll take her. Check that. I think that's human trafficking and I'm pretty sure it's illegal. How about this? Make me an offer that you feel takes into account the following:
Worth of the ring. Emotional toll. The negative balance of my checking account. 1 year's membership to Match.com. Seriously. Following the advice of another friend, one much less wise than Barrett, I got on Match because it seemed like time to move on. Good grief. Date #1 proudly proclaimed she had been in a Girl's Gone Wild video (the one with Snoop Dogg) and was also a Reds fan (much less forgivable). Date #2 showed up on my porch one night with a psychological study explaining passive/aggressive disorder. Date #3 was a raging bulimic...and alcoholic. And date #4...well, you think I would have learned, no?
So, to the victor go the spoils. Send me an offer and if you wind up the lucky bastard with this ring, then I hope you have better luck with it than I did. I'm just tired of happening on it during the occasional cleaning fit. It's like coming into your living room after hosting a party and finding your drunk friend still on your couch. Go home already. And stop throwing up!
I'm not sure what I expected from posting this ad. I thought I needed to write something clever enough to differentiate my decidedly underwhelming ring from the literally hundreds of other rings being hawked by guys apparently in the same position as myself. I never sold the ring via Craigslist, but I did get a flood of emails from all sorts of people. Here are the high (low?) points:
"Dude, you've missed your calling. Professional storyteller all the way. Something a la Garrison Keillor. I think you should sex it up a bit though with a picture of your ex. Just saying. It would drive traffic to your post, assuming of course, that she was/is hot."
He was probably right. A little pervy, but probably right.
"Is that a bottle of Bell's Oberon Ale? Good beer. Drink more of it."
I'm not sure if this was intended as advice to get over the heartache or if possibly this was sent by a Bell's representative. Potato, potahtoe (that's a tough one to make translate through text), I took the advice. It was delicious.
"Well, I cannot afford to pay anything for your reminder...my last major relationship stole my engagement ring from my exhusband that I was saving to give my daughter!! Sounds like a soap, I know...Sooo...I mean it, I came across this as while trying to find the number of the guy who sold me a 'non working' dryer for 150...'it works great,' he says. I really cannot afford to pay you for your ring, but please don't ever do anything foolish and throw it in the ocean...I am here for you!!! You will feel just as 'free' and a single mom like me could feel special!!! Win, win."
This was not an uncommon theme in the replies I received. Apparently, there are a lot of women out there who just want someone to give them a ring...for free. I had no idea how to respond.
"My daughter and her goofy friends live in Indy (although they are not hot blondes) and are always interested in adding intelligent people to their group."
I got like 6 of these from parents trying to introduce me to their daughters. What parent surfs Craigslist and decides that a guy trying to sell an engagement ring is relationship material for their daughter?!
"I've been composing this email for about 20 minutes trying to think of something witty enough that you'll say. 'Man, that chick should get the ring even though she's happily married and has a kid and probably would just sell it for a bed anyway.' But, unfortunately, I haven't really come up with anything spectacular. I'd offer you my sister, she's a hottie who lives in Los Angeles...but like you said, there are probably some ethical and legal ramifications involved with that sort of transaction, so we better not go that route."
...and a bunch of these trying to introduce me to their sister. The preceding paragraph in this email was all about the Disney Princess bed the woman was trying to buy for her daughter. Apparently, she searched "princess" and my ad is what she got.
"Take your substantial, romantic and loving energies, and give bits of it to the women around you who aren't crazy...but no more than you're comfortable with. Give this energy also to your mom, sisters, grandma, whoever you love and aren't romantically connected with too. Most of us are starved for it, and be aware that some may lunge at you. Begin, slowly, to sort out the women who really appreciate what you give, and who don't take advantage of your generosity, and listen to the women who return your affection. Date them. Listen to them as best you can...just because a woman is beautiful, hot, fuckable, doesn't mean she's good."
This is the most lucid, thoughtful advice about relationships I think I've ever gotten...via the internet...on Craigslist. I'm still wondering what possessed the woman to write it, but wow.
"I have very little interest in the ring, but I might be able to make you an offer on a date with a brown haired, brown eyed, tan girl from the East Coast?"
This was actually written by the tan girl from the East Coast. She wrote like 5 more times. We never went out, in case you were wondering. I'm all about serendipity, but this was just a little too romantic comedyesque for me.
"Your friend who suggested a sweet ass man's ring is a bit of a douche. Men who wear jewelry like that are creepy."
Barrett's no douche, but the general rule here is noted and usually holds true.
"Stay away from Mach.com. My brother used it because he said it's a way to find girls to hook up with. You could do that was a lot less than $35/month by going to Broad Ripple on a Friday night."
This email made me re-up my Match membership!
"My name is Jon aka Wolf I know random bu id liek to tell you something and if you take the time to read this i appreciate it as well but id liek to tell you about a story of a marine adn his ex. I got out of high school and started to work hard for a life better then the one served to me by my folks and make something better of myself. so as it seems i went day in and day out working my butt off for a new car a new place and all and all a new life. one day i meet a young woman she was here for school from cali well we got to know each other for over 2 years i decide she was the one i left everything her sold my truck left my job moved to cali with her when she was done with school. we ended up moving in to geather and thinkgs got really tight so i decided to join the marines to take care of us and know that id be able to supply for me and her. well i made it thru basic adn came back home and asked her to marry me well she was all happy and glade btu i was wrong i got my first station in specnav san diago and hell i got lucky to be able to stay in the same state for my first station and be abel to see her on the weekends well after yr of this i got hurt and discharged from the u.s.m.c.
came back home to find she wanted to be with me for the money nd beafits i wake up one morning to her gone and the ring left on my desk to find out she moved back in with her mom and was with another guy for the past yr and 1/2 while i was in the core i knwo life can behard my friend but beleive me take it one day at a time adn learn something from it i knwo you can nvr really forget the ones we love or loved its not in us to forget because we alwas want what we cant hae but i have been alone not even dating because i dont want to urt againbut im learning to trust woman and im dating this amazong woman that see me for me and nothing more. but i just wanted to let you know it will get better and to take time in life because you nvr kwno when youll lose it all at once adn start all over ppl are the best thing in ones live but the worst as well adn im sry to hear that you went thru almost the same thing but i wish you the best of luck in life and best of luck with selling the ring i wish i could let mine go it still sits in my locker box with my uniform to remind me i guess..."
Jon...er...Wolf? Stay tru.
"My knight of almost 20 years decided while I was out of town working that he felt abandoned...poor baby...alcoholic, mama's boy. Had to go find comfort and picked up some skank...last one left after 'last call' and took her home! First night, bam! What a catch! Of course he didn't have the balls to tell me he was doing us both! Had to find out the hard way!"
I can only hope the "hard way" wasn't a scorching case of herpes. I kind of think it may have been.
"Hey, I'm not interested in buying the ring, but I find your writing incredibly hot. I want to meet you."
Again, we never met. If the other email was a little too romantic comedyesque, this one was a little pornesque.
"Hoosier is a term that originated from basketball. Have you seen the movie Hoosiers?"
False. Clearly the term existed before the movie came out! You can't use the word in question in the definition. I'm still flummoxed.
"Dude, thanks for the laugh. That sucks! Haha! Not sure how I came across your ad as I was searching Craigslist for 'Ass play.' Whatever, it was worth it. Good luck, Bro!"
I wonder how many other anal lotharios I gave a good laugh? But does anyone want to buy the fucking ring?!