questionmarkAny advice on how to buy an engagement ring? I have no idea how to not get hosed, even after reading a bunch of information online. As soon as I walk in I’ve got sweaty palms.

— Jack

random adviceOne advantage to marrying a dude is that there are no engagement rings. So I can’t offer any first-hand experience.

But opinions? Sure, I got plenty of those.

The tradition of sending a man into a jewelry store to buy an engagement ring is ridiculous. I think women should pick their own rings. It’s something they are going to wear for the rest of their lives, after all.

If you want a ring to propose with, use a vintage ring. Use something with sentimental value. That way, when she shows it to her friends, everyone will have something to coo over — yet there will be a clear understanding that this ring might get replaced.

Diamonds flummox me. Yes, they’re pretty, but I can’t tell a $10,000 diamond from cubic zirconium. I don’t understand why newly-engaged couples will start their lives at a deficit for a bauble. And I hope you know the two-month salary guideline was invented by DeBeers.

If your girlfriend wants the traditional experience, then I’d enlist her sister or best friend in the process. Be upfront about how much you can pay, and why.

If your girlfriend is more progressive, propose on a Friday and get the ring together that weekend.

Or if she’s that kind of woman, get tattoos. That makes just as much sense to me.