Wedding ring just not their thing

Many husbands choose not to wear their wedding bands

Those darn royals.

Thousands, maybe millions, of married men were peacefully sporting naked ring fingers until palace officials confirmed that Prince William would not be wearing a wedding band. Women in the blogosphere went bananas.

“Men who don’t wear their wedding rings are slime,” wrote ChicagoNow blogger Jenny Milk, while another Chicago blogger, Jenna Andersen of, said we shouldn’t demonize Prince William for his choice (Andersen’s husband doesn’t wear a band).

Whether it’s an issue of fit, fashion, philosophy or royal tradition, there’s nothing like a ringless married man to get a woman in a snit. Single women — more than the women married to these ring-free dudes — don’t just want men to put a ring on it, they want to make sure he’s putting one on himself, too.

Not even Prince William — a public figure who can’t hide his marital status anymore than he can his balding pate — can escape the perception that a married man without a ring must be up to no good.

“I have a ring. I have a nice ring,” said Dan “Dano” Blankowski, 54, of Marietta who has been married for 15 years. “I wore it for the first nine years.” Now the classic white gold double band resides in his man bag. “I carry it around with me ... it is in there with my credit cards,” Blankowski said.

Like many men, Blankowski attributes his naked finger to comfort. “I have always had trouble with my ring finger. I dislocated my finger so many times. And even when the swelling went down, I couldn’t get [the ring] on,” he said. “I typically don’t wear jewelry on my hands at all.”

Blankowski, owner of Magical Music Machine Entertainment, a mobile DJ service that does a lot of weddings, sometimes gets the stink eye from women who discover he is married. They assume he’s not wearing a ring so that he can cruise bridesmaids, but if anyone were to get in his face, he would shut it down by whipping the ring out of his bag.

Some guys say they don’t wear a ring because they don’t believe it is essential to their marriage. They stand strong in their flouting of social convention, but not strong enough to be quoted in this story. “I don’t want people to think I’m an [expletive],” said one ringless Atlanta man, who asked not to be identified.

Then there are the men who fall into the category of not wearing rings for religious reasons.

But even that really comes down to individual choice, depending on the faith.

“We do have some of our ministers who chose not to wear jewelry, at their discretion that sometimes does include not even wearing a wedding ring, but it is what we call a personal conviction,” said David Jackson, executive administrative assistant for the United Pentecostal Church International.

The practice, he said, is based on the Bible principle of being modest and not adorning yourself with jewelry.

Most of the married women wear rings for the purpose of publicly identifying that they are married, Jackson said. And no doubt some of those women smell a double standard.

Last year, nearly 50,000 people responded to a poll on AOL’s asking “Are married men who don’t wear rings up to no good?” More than half the respondents said it depends, 32 percent said not at all, and 16 percent — a very vocal minority — said absolutely.

The poll was displayed at the end of a blog post by Mason Jamal, 39, of Cincinnati. The relationship blogger explored the issue when a reader asked for his thoughts on guys who go “hando-commando” (Jamal’s term). Warranted or not, he said, people think the worst of these guys. “They see a married guy out there without a ring as an untagged member of the male species roaming wild, a menace to society. And some guys give credence to that,” he said.

Mostly, the skeptics fall in one camp.

“In general, single women seem to get more upset about married men not wearing their wedding ring than married women do,” said Jamal, who is married and wears his ring 70 percent of the time (he doesn’t like to wear jewelry). “Single women, especially those who have never been married, have this idealism about marriage. They romanticize being married, and some men do, too. Then they get married,” he said.

The marrieds quickly learn that a ring is only a ring, not a marriage. Still, Jamal and probably more than a few other men, cave to public pressure and wear the ring. “Sometimes I am uncomfortable if someone points out that I don’t have my ring on,” Jamal said. “It is probably one of the reasons that makes me wear the ring as often as I do. If it were totally up to me, I would hardly ever wear it.”

It’s just another way married men are living a “wifestyle” instead of a lifestyle, Jamal said. “Most married men are somewhere between somewhat to extremely emasculated. Men have surrendered everything. A lot of men find themselves wifestyled and they are like, ‘ I don’t like wearing this ring’... but then they are like ‘Hey, I won’t hear the end of this if I don’t.’”

Jim Esdale, 52, who is ringless in Birmingham, has been approached by people with nothing nice to say.

“It is actually kind of offensive to me,” Esdale said. “They say, ‘Oh, you should be ashamed.’ My reaction is it’s none of your business.”

Esdale didn’t wear a band during his first 13-year marriage, because it wasn’t comfortable. The deal with his second wife, to whom he has been married for 14 years, was to find a band that he would wear. But even the gold band that was advertised for its comfort, proved uncomfortable.

“I just gave up and she was OK with it,” Esdale said. “If it was something that really bothered her I would wear it anyway just to keep the peace.”

Like Prince William, Esdale’s son is recently engaged. Father and son haven’t discussed the wedding band issue... and they probably won’t. “I figure that is between him and his wife,” Esdale said.

And just maybe, that is as it should be.