Discuss: Put a Ring On It

Jun 10, 2011

A few weeks ago, I heard a story that I’m not sure I can believe.  At first, I was so certain that the story the woman was telling wasn’t true, that I dismissed it out of hand.  Because there was just.no.way that what she was describing could have happened.  But then, I heard from a reputable source that it did happen, and now I am completely torn.

So I thought that I’d put it to a vote.  How many of you think this could have happened in real life.

A twentysomething woman and her live-in boyfriend of a few years decide to take the woman’s parents out for a nice dinner.  So they get a table at one of the top five restaurants in D.C. and prepare themselves for a delicious evening on the town.  As they’re sitting at bar, waiting for her parents to arrive, they hear singing.  They turn around to see her Mom and Dad walking toward them singing the chorus to Beyonce’s Single Ladies at an audible, but not loud, volume.  On their left hands, they are each wearing a cartoon-sized engagement ring, which they are twisting in the air and pointing to ala the dance accompanying the song.

For what probably seemed like forever, but was only a few moments, her parents stood next to the couple singing, “If you liked it then you should’ve put a ring on it…”  A few other patrons and several members of the wait staff heard it, and the two dozen or so people who could see what was going on were all staring at the spectacle.

From what I could gather from the conversation that I overheard (yeah, cause you’ve never eavesdropped before?) it seems that the woman’s parents, discouraged by the lack of wedding bells, decided to make their disappointment felt in the most obvious way possible.  From the tone of the woman’s voice as she told the story, it was pretty obvious that she was neither amused by nor in the mood to forgive the stunt.  And seriously, if this is true, who can blame her?

Embarrassment is practically in the parent job description, but this was just beyond.  I mean, who does that?  Who the HELL does that?  You don’t like that your daughter isn’t married to the guy she’s been dating for a few years (I don’t know how many years, but the woman said “since college” and she had to be 25+), so you decide to humiliate her and her boyfriend?  There’s a winning strategy.  Can you imagine what that car ride home must have been like?  

If those had been my parents, I’d be speaking to them sometime in the year 2035.  And even then, the entire conversation would probably just be me screaming obscenities.  

So I ask you, fair readers, do you think this story is crazy or just crazy enough to be true?  And if it is the God’s honest, what the heck does the woman do now?

Discussions

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  1. amy b.s. says:

    oh my dear god. if it is true, and i actually hope for everyone's sake that it's not, then…then…i honestly don't know! i am embarressed for all of them. i can't imagine my parents doing that. in a serious way anyway. no, strike that, at all. they know i'd kill them.

  2. Dr. Jean Grey says:

    I get the song. But when a parent sings “If you liked it you should've put a ring on it” can only serve to tell the daughter “He doesn't like you.” Or um, “it.” Ick.

  3. Jennifer says:

    If my parents did that or something like it in such a public and embarrassing way, they wouldn't be invited to any future wedding of mine.

  4. girlnextdoor says:

    My parents are quirky like that and I could see them acting in that manner, although I think the original storyteller's mind exaggerates the details of the scene thanks to the popularity of flash mobs. If there is a value difference in marriage between the parents and the daughter, than this isn't the first time she's delt with the confrontation. I imagine these parents drop hints masked in jokes all the time. If the daughter is confident in her decision to not marry, then she should keep moving forward with her head high.

  5. VA says:

    I would sink into the floor and die. Fortunately, my parents would never in a million years pull such a tacky, hurtful stunt.

  6. AD says:

    Sounds like the girl was just insecure. I don't see why it would be soooo awful if she and the boyfriend have a mutual understanding about the live-in relationship. At least the parents weren't being downright mean. They could have said “no. we don't approve of your live-in, non-married relationship and we're not coming to dinner with you until you stop living in sin.” Trust me, that's much worse and more hurtful than a restaurant singalong.

  7. r says:

    Belle, I usually love the discussion section, but DC is a small town and the original storyteller is probably going to hear about this and read it. I mean, it's a pretty distinctive story. If I were her, I wouldn't really appreciate that you A. thought I was lying about the story and put it to your readers to decide or B. used my humiliating story for your blog. And then insulted my parents. Just saying.

  8. NMRascal says:

    My Mom would absolutely do something like this. During our engagement, my husband once said to me, “I never understood why men complained about their Mothers-in-law. Then I met your Mom. Now I understand.” (It's actually a very funny story in retrospect.)

    Those parents just irreparably damaged their relationship with their daughter. No matter what happens in the future, that hurtful scene cannot be unsaid or taken back, and that daughter will never forget. Whether she forgives or not is up to her, but if she can, it is a good way to show her parents how adults truly should behave.

  9. Molly says:

    For the record, I think this story is hilarious, and while it would be mortifying if it happened to me, ….it would still be hilarious. Sounds like it was a sore subject….

  10. gingerr says:

    My guess is that this kind of thing, which is kind of amusing from a distance, is in character for the parents. They're probably been prone to these kinds of theatrics for years.

    Daughter probably wants to disown them.
    Boyfriend might be thinking twice about joining this particular family.

    I read that Kate Middleton's mother asked William when he was going t make an honest woman one time, she just had the discretion not to do it in public to a catchy tune.

    If they do get married it'll be a funny story in 10-20 years.

    I wonder if anybody in the bar got their phone out and videotaped it.

  11. Charleigh says:

    I think people are being way too hard on the parents (and Belle!) for this story.

    Parents are meant to be embarrassing. It shows they care. It is their duty and is far better than being abusive or neglectful, or have run out on them at some point in their life.

    even though I myself would be turning beet-red if it were me in this situation, I would have watched anyway and laughed as I squirmed.

    Take the example of this parent: After his son told him that he did not like it when his parents waved at the school bus when it went by (with him on it), his father dressed up in a different home-made costume every day and did just that… and then wrote a blog about it…. with pictures.

    https://waveatthebus.blogspot.com/

    I think it's wonderful. The son will remember this forever and think about how much his father loved him to do something like this. Maybe with the case of this story and marriage the parents put their nose somewhere where it might not have belonged, but they obviously must have liked the boyfriend enough and this was their way of showing they accept him.

    I say bravo, and thankyou Belle for posting.

    P.S. on the eavesdrop note, you could always wind up on here:
    https://eavesdropdc.com/

  12. AMS says:

    I certainly old enough to be this poor girls mother. I cannot even begin to imagine pulling a stunt like that and thinking it would not damage our relationship to the point of no return. It was cruel and insensitive and incredibly immature on the part of the parents all in the name of “fun.” I am sure Mom is sitting around saying, “WE thought it was FUNNY!!! You should lighten up!!!!” Tacky.

  13. EBT says:

    I am really surprised by all the people talking about how hurtful this must have been. I think it's hilarious and I can totally see my own mother doing this (One time she sang “Yeah” to Usher after chasing down his limo to get an autograph for my brother. Another time she made vacuum cleaner noises all through dinner to tease the same brother for having a hickey after his first date.). I would probably be embarrassed during the performance but I would try to take it in the spirit in which it was given. I feel like it's pretty dramatic to say that this must have caused “irreparable damage.” If you grow up with and embarrassing, you just grow thicker skin and get to the point where you can throw it right back at her. Otherwise you'll spend your whole life in a state of constant mortification and crankiness.

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