August 06, 2017
All is fair in love and war, or so they say. And all is cheap and sweet if you're playing a simulation of it.
What would happen if, for some twisted reason, a woman decided to stage an engagement and "plan" a wedding many months away? Suppose she's not doing it to fool her friends and family. They aren't part of the game. She's doing it to see whether society might treat her differently when she has a rock on her finger.
Writing for The Cut, New York City resident Lisa Ryan recounted her experience of premarital bliss without the actual marriage. Ryan created a fake wedding page on TheKnot.com, bought a $15 fake engagement ring and went about the business of rooking a bridal package out of a local gym.
I’m not someone who would ordinarily embrace faking her marital status, but I am someone who is a big fan of group exercise classes — and at around $35 (or more) per session, those barre and spin workouts aren’t cheap. So, when I learned that many of these expensive gyms offer discounted monthly packages to brides hoping to get in shape for their wedding day, I did what any logical and frugal exercise fiend would do.
As Ryan's piece points out, there is an entire bridal industry surrounding the leadup to a wedding. Much of it centered on fitness training to help motivated women get in top shape, but other discounts include spa packages and deep sales on clothing and household goods.
More than any of the material benefits she was able to exploit, what surprised Ryan the most was finding that people in New York City were suddenly treating her like a queen everywhere she went. She tried on 15 dresses and got free drinks at upscale bars all on account of a bogus engagement.
What this says about our society's reverence for life's ultimate commitment is hard to interpret. This was a devious ploy, to be sure, and not one intended to cut across gender lines. Would a man faking his engagement have had a similar experience? In the end, Ryan was shameless about this social experiment and it's worth reading her own account of what it's like to bask in the fabricated glory.