Katy Guest: Rings signal messages, not all of them good

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The Independent Online

"Never trust a man who wears a pinkie ring," my best friend's mum used to tell us when we were at school. We didn't know many men who wore pinkie rings at our bog-standard comprehensive, but later, at Cambridge University, I got her gist: most often they seem to be worn by toffs to show that they come from a long line of toffs, and as such come across as rather arrogant. I don't believe, therefore, that David Cameron's refusal to wear a wedding ring, watch or any other sort of jewellery is a symbol of his poshness, as some people have been saying. But I don't appreciate a married man who refuses to wear a wedding ring any more than one with a giant gold signet ring on his little finger.

It's not necessarily because we think they are potential cheats that women want men to be visibly married. Jools Oliver may check Jamie's emails and phone for evidence that he might be playing away Ω as she revealed last week Ω but most women avoid that dilemma by just marrying men whom they believe not to be cheating slappers.

Nor do I endorse the "anti-cheating ring", which went on sale last month. Raised, backwards letters on the inside of the ring brand the finger with the word "married". Really, if a man's going to cheat, he'll delete all his messages and take his ring off hours in advance. You're better off just marrying someone you trust.

Women of the Jools Oliver school sometimes insist that they do trust their husband, but they don't trust the manipulative women who will somehow trick him into having an affair. Leaving aside the question of the intelligence of a man who can be tricked into bed, these women, if they exist, will not be deterred by knowing that he is married. (Ryan Giggs was possibly the most famous married man in Britain, but the poor dear still managed to fall into the traps of several devious, man-eating women.) It will, however, deter the honourable women who don't mess with married men but do meet your husband and think he is lovely. A wedding ring is a neat way of telling them not to get their hopes up. Single women appreciate it.

Some men use a specious argument that wearing a ring is constricting and uncomfortable, and would constantly annoy them as they lead their busy lives. Fair enough, but if this is true then it also must be the case with clothes and underwear, and therefore they can only get away with it if they go about naked from now on.

Obviously, nobody should insist that his wife wear a wedding ring while not wearing one himself; the idea that women should be marked as chattels while men remain free is ridiculous in the modern world Ω much like the use of "Miss", "Mrs" and "Ms". The thing is that it's nice to wear one. Many symbols of marriage are outdated and, if we really examine them, slightly offensive, but a ring is just a sign that you are thinking of someone, wherever you are, and that somebody, somewhere, is thinking of you. There is something quite lovely about that little reminder.

Unlike a pinkie ring, which is just weird.