How do you find out what she wants?
Without her knowing what you’re up to
You may have already decided to strike out on your own, and for that I salute you. If you’re still wondering whether it’s right for you, whether it’s possible, or even if it’s sensible, this chapter will help you decide.
In this section, I’ll talk through a few of the ways I subtly did the research to find a ring Faith would love. I was cunning as a fox that had been appointed Professor of Cunning at Harvard University. If you follow these tips, you too will be able to get a solid idea of the ring that she wants without her ever knowing.
This one is key – not just when shopping for engagement rings, but for presents, where to go to dinner and even just for whether you should leave the toilet seat down a bit more. If your other half ever drops anything casually into conversation about a preference, a liking, something that she would someday maybe like to do, then know this: it wasn’t casual.
Remember these things, take note and, heck, actually write a note so you remember to do something about it later.
This isn’t being a sucker, it’s saving you a lot of head-scratching when it comes to buying presents and will earn you huge brownie points when you have apparently read her mind and given her something she always wanted. As well as scars, chicks dig thoughtfulness.
If your girl has ever uttered a word about engagement rings, remember two things:
- She’s thinking about them and expecting one soon
- That thing she just said? She expects you to take into account when buying one
You might not have written it down at the time but have a think, scratch your noggin and see whether you can remember her mentioning anything about engagement rings – either good or bad.
For me, when I searched my booze-addled brain, I had a vague recollection of Faith mentioning a diamond at some point, so this was my first clue in forming an idea of what she was after.
It’s a time-honoured tradition for newly-engaged women to flash their rocks to anyone and everyone, and there’s no doubt that she will have had a few dangled in front of her. Tradition also dictates that she both ooohs and ahhhs appreciatively.
However, just because she makes encouraging noises within earshot of her rock-toting friend, it doesn’t mean that she likes their ring.
If you’re with her when she’s shown a ring, offer up an opinion straight after. It doesn’t matter what – you can say you loved it or hated it – the aim is to get a view back from her to give you guidance. In fact, offering up the opposite opinion to the one you expect her to have can be the best option. If you think the ring you’ve been shown would be perfect, say you hate it – it’ll throw her off the scent and will ensure she gives you her opinion.
With me, we had a lot of friends get engaged in the year before I proposed, which gave me plenty of opportunities to listen for what she loved and what made her throw up a little in her mouth. Mixed colours on the band and multiple diamonds were out, a solitaire and a silver-coloured band were in. I was getting somewhere.
Check out existing jewellery
The colour and style of jewellery your girlfriend currently wears is one of the biggest indicators of what you should look at, for a couple of reasons.
Generally, women wear either gold or silver jewellery – seldom both. So your first job is to determine whether your girl usually wears gold or silver, as this will be the colour of engagement ring band you should buy.
You may already know from having bought her jewellery in the past. If she mixes it up and wears both, find out which she wears more – her engagement and wedding rings will be worn every day so need to complement the jewellery she usually wears.
If she wears gold, you’ll have to choose between yellow gold, rose gold or ‘old gold’.
If she prefers silver-coloured jewellery then your options are white gold or platinum – the most popular metal for engagement rings at the moment.
Aside from the colour of the band, the other thing her existing jewellery can tell you is the general style of ring you should consider. Does she sport big, flashy jewellery – like she has a Studio 54 decoration hanging from each earlobe? If so, it’s a safe bet she’ll expect a flashy ring too.
But if she prefers understated jewellery, her engagement ring should follow suit and be simple but beautiful.
As well as the style and blinginess of her existing jewellery, her personality provides a huge indicator about what sort of ring she would love.
If she’s an extrovert and will want to show off her ring to everyone she meets, she’s going to want something big and sparkly.
More understated personalities are often reflected in someone’s personal style. If she’s quieter, a simpler ring may work out better.
You are what you wear’, said someone, at some point, probably. And whether we like it or not, the clothes we choose, the car we drive and the way we decorate our houses are indicators of our ideas and even our personalities.
If your girl is into sleek design, with an apartment full of minimalist furniture, then the ring you choose should also be minimalist and simple.
Maybe she loves markets and bringing home antique furniture. If so, look at a reproduction of an art deco design, or go for a vintage ring.
If she dresses like she’s in Mad Men then go for something classic and timeless.
Perhaps she’s a girly girl, with fabrics draped above her four-poster bed and wants to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid when she grows up. Look for something imaginative and elaborate, with art nouveau swirls.
I’m sure most men are aware of the benefits of clearing their browser history, but women usually have less need to do so. If you think your girl is looking at rings online, you can search her internet history on all the major browsers. Click ‘show full history’ and then run a search for ‘engagement’ to see if she’s been doing some research of her own.
Sure, Facebook is good for finding bikini pictures of girls you went to school with to see if they’re still hot, but Pinterest is where it’s at for ring research stalking.
Many girls with Pinterest accounts will have a board dedicated to jewellery, or even to weddings. Some of my single girl friends have even got a fully stocked Pinterest board with their wedding decorations planned out. Which may go some way to explain why they’re still single. But nevertheless – if your girlfriend does have a Pinterest account, have a look and you may find great clues.
One thing you may have to contend with is the ‘private’ Pinterest board, which hides selected boards from public view. The only way around this is to fire up her laptop when she’s not looking and check it out directly – risky but potentially very rewarding.
The jewelry store mission
If you haven’t had a chance to gauge a reaction from a show-and-tell session, then take matters into your own hands and conduct a covert op to get the primary intel you need.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to venture deep behind enemy lines and take your girl into a jewellery store – into the very mouth of the beast.
Sounds risky, I know, but as any successful covert operative knows, the key to success is misdirection. Here’s how it should go down.
Tell her you want to go shopping to check out some shoes – maybe something you wouldn’t normally go for – those Vibram FiveFingers barefoot shoes you’ve heard such good things about? She’ll want to come to give an opinion because she’s the one who’ll be seen with you, so won’t want your feet to look like a gibbon’s for the next six months.
When you’re in the shopping centre, casually drop into a jewellers to check out some watches. You’ve always promised yourself a decent watch and you’re thinking about finally treating yourself. While you’re looking at the Omegas (hey, good enough for James Bond) keep an eye on what your girl is doing. Odds are she’ll have sidled over to the rings to have a good nosey about.
Make a mental note of what she’s looking at and say something to prompt a reaction. Make it understated like, “That’s a nice one,” and gauge her reaction. Go back to the watches and leave without looking at the rings again. Mission accomplished.
I did this and it confirmed the type of ring that she was looking for, as well as narrowing down the cut of diamond to a square shape. This helped me massively when I was actually buying the ring, without Faith knowing that I was actually looking for one.
Ask her friends
‘Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead.’
Not a quote from the Hell’s Angels handbook, but from Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s not-as-friendly-as-I-thought Founding Fathers.
The final idea here is not for everyone. It’s a sure way to find an answer, but also the riskiest of the lot.
Have a think about whether there are any of your girlfriend’s friends you could trust to keep it quiet. It’s not a malicious secret, in fact it’s one that if she breaks your trust will affect her relationship with your girlfriend rather than yours.
If there is a mutual friend, let her know you’re trusting her and ask whether your girl has dropped any hints, or talked about what she wants.
A good way to make sure this stays secret is to stress to the friend that she is the only one you’re asking and insist it remains a surprise.
Bringing it all together
If you’ve followed all these hints, or even some of them, you should be on your way to having an idea of what your girl wants. I nailed it down to the type of stone, metal and shape of stone without my missus knowing I was the least bit interested in engagement rings. And once I had those locked down, it was just a case of choosing the ring that had all the characteristics that I was looking for and worked within my budget.