Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Promise Rings (Part I): Flashin' My Biznass (Or Lack Thereof) In Yo Grill

It's Late - Queen (mp3)

If the road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions, then the road to deflowering must certainly be as well. And is there a more twisted and misguided gimmick destined to disillusion American teens more disastrously than Promise Rings, currently climbing the national charts thanks to the Jonas Brothers and Jordin Sparks?

If you didn't already know, select teenagers -- usually kids brought up in uber-conservative Christian households or churches who are kept as in the dark as possible about sex -- wear Promise Rings as an outward sign to the world that they are going to wait until marriage to have intercourse with another human being. Here's a Chattanooga Times article about them.

Statistically, from everything I've read, a Promise Ring has no impact on teenage sexual patterns. It doesn't stop sex any more or less than anything else you could give your teenage child. On the bright side, if you're looking for a perfect way to teach your adolescent child about how easy it is to break a promise, then please, by all means, go buy him or her a Promise Ring.

"Sweetie, you'll wear this ring as a promise to me and to God that you'll never ever ever let a boy touch you down there with anything, not his finger or his tongue or his privates, until after you have vowed your eternal dedication to him before a priest and a host of witnesses in a house of God. And you won't break this promise, because... well, just don't break the damn promise, OK? Because you'll burn in hell, and I won't be able to do anything about it from my cloud, even with my wings and all my angel friends."

Please don't get me wrong. I'm happy as a clam that the Jonas Brothers are virgins, if indeed they are. All the better if their proclamations of a chaste premarital lifestyle provide comfort and courage to hundreds of thousands of teens whose bodies are constantly telling them to screw anything and everything that will give permission.

But taking pride in one's choice to remain a virgin goes four steps too far when you start wearing a ring for the express purpose of letting everyone know your business (or, well, lack thereof). The Promise Ring is the chaste answer to the Tramp Stamp.

Neither are admirable. Both suggest things about a person which need not necessarily be true. Both are a reminder that we live in a TMI world where we just have to make sure everyone knows everything about us.

We post our Current Status on Facebook. We "Twitter" our most minuscule movements. Some idiots even put far too much personal information in their blogs and include inappropriate pictures of women's backsides. Have we traded away all respect for our own privacy?

Can we please get our culture back to a time when we didn't have to wear every damn decent and normal thing we did like we deserve a trophy? If you want to proclaim your indifference to the pressures of the modern world, join the Amish. You get to wear clothes that stand out in a crowd, and they'll kill you if you break your promise. No ring needed.

Otherwise, you're just posing and giving into the very same peer pressure that in other circles would have you smoking pot and dropping X.

"It's Late" is from Queen's fantabulous album, News of the World. If you think this album begins and ends with "We Will Rock You," you should flog yourself with studded whips repeatedly until forking over some cash and checking out one seriously amazing piece of work. It's available at iTunes and Amazon.com's mp3 site. It's a stretch to put this song with this topic, but I needed to answer Bob's claim of "Sweet Jane" with one of my own Top 10 All-Time Favorite songs.


Daytimerush said...

Love the song.
Aren't folks making a promise when they put on a wedding ring? Aren't they announcing their promise to the world as well?

Billy said...

Answer #1: Yeah, those suck too. I take mine off whenever I leave the house.

Answer #2: Some would argue that wedding rings are a better indicator of sexual abstinence than Promise Rings.

Answer #3: But seriously... Very good point, and I'd try and offer a counterpoint, but I had too much fun writing Answers #1 & 2.

Anonymous said...

Is that what they mean by the "living Bible?"

Bob said...

I'm only saying that I'm not sure one of the greatest songs of all time can have a chorus that is a monotonic, one-note repetition.