I remember when it happened. I was on my second day of interviews for graduate school and was feeling fairly tired and ready to be done with my day. I was meeting fellow interviewees and one of the guys caught my eye. We were all introducing ourselves and making small talk around the table. And that’s when I caught myself… I did a ring check. That’s right, I stole a casual glance at that left hand of his to see if there was a ring on it (there wasn’t). I honestly couldn’t tell you what that guy looked like now, but I can certainly remember the feeling I had in that moment, realizing what I’d just done. I actually texted my best friend: “When did I start checking for rings on men?? Am I old?”
I just passed the benchmark of surviving my first year out of college. The real world isn’t scary at all, it’s different. Some differences are more beautiful than others. Nevertheless, the dating game is entirely different. In college my dating age range was 20-22. Now, I feel comfortable dating anyone from 22-30. In college, you met people in class, on campus, at the bar or a party. In the real world you can still meet people out, but it’s more challenging. People just aren’t as available. In college, you automatically have something in common with someone you’re meeting. That doesn’t happen in the real world. In college, everyone was available. Yes, people dated and some were serious, but married? I knew 0 married friends. But in the real world, people get married. Even serious relationships can feel fleeting in college, but in the real world marriage is so…permanent.
Doing the ring check snuck up on me like an unpleasant surprise. I realized I was at a point in my life where people I may be interested in are either available or are not. It’s a question I ask now when friends tell me about a cute guy they saw at the store or the bar… is he married? While personally, I feel too young to be at the point where my peers are married, I understand that some people are ready for that. So I will continue to do my ring check, and steer clear of those gold and platinum bands… both on his left finger, and mine.