Ladies! Do you know about the code? The secret semaphore that every engaged or married woman learns as soon as her partner gets down on one knee and pops the question? (No, not who's going to take the bins out, but: will you, my darling one, be my wife?)

Apparently, us attached females send out a mysterious message every time we gesticulate, put petrol in the car or clutch a coffee. Wedding/engagement ring on, all's right with the world. Ring off, ALERT! ALERT! A warning klaxon seems to go off in the offices of every tabloid paper or celebrity website's offices that Something's Up.

The latest high-profile fiancée to be beaming dismay rays from the naked flesh of the fourth finger of her left hand is Halle Berry. She's been spotted out running errands without the sparkler Olivier Martinez gave her – leading one site to descend into a worried frenzy about her "noticeably ringless hand" and her lack of smile. Another woman sending smoke signals from her sparkler-free digits is Liberty Ross, whose marriage is the subject of great speculation at present.

Guys, I don't want to rain on your paranoid parade but maybe she just washed her hands and forgot to put her wedding ring on. I do it all the time. But perhaps I'm wrong and I'm the one married woman in the world who missed her post-betrothal briefing at Bletchley Park.