Is It The Size That Counts?

June 2, 2008

Around Christmas time, Paige, a twenty-something friend of mine, got engaged. One of the last of her friends to be engaged, pressure was definitely felt everytime one of them would ask her ‘So when are you getting married?’, a question that was asked at every social engagement they would attend.

When he finally asked the question he proposed to her with a ring that was larger and more unique than all the rest of her friends’. Everyone congratulated them, but after a few weeks the gossip ensued as it always does it tight little backstabbing circles of friends.

‘Did you see her ring? Who does she think she is? I heard only the middle rock is real…’

Anyway, her ring is real, a beautiful square stone, with baguettes on either side, which differs from her friends solitaire engagement rings. But that’s not the point is it? It’s the underlying jealousy of girlfriends. It’s the jealousy that comes with buying rings, houses, cars, even patio sets as we get older. It also usually happens in the suburbs, where this little story comes from.

Some people enjoy buying larger houses, more expensive cars, and more extravagant rings – simply for the guilty pleasure of having people gossip about them. I suppose it makes them feel more important to be talked about.

Take for instance when Paige and her fiance bought a huge four bedroom house, larger than all their friends, and even their parents were asking them why they were buying such a big house when there were no plans for children for many, many years. They loved the attention they were getting from their community of “friends” who continued to gossip about this house for many weeks.

Imagine how upset Paige and her fiance were when Paige’s cousin Vanessa and her fiance bought a house that was 210 square feet larger than theirs. Imagine the upset on her face when she was telling me, snidely, that she didn’t know why they needed a house that big!

Her face barely moved when I reminded her that it was only 200 square feet than hers – but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that it was LARGER.

I often compare my suburbian friends to my city friends – the differences are astonishing.

In the city all my friends seem more interested in being unique, not necessarily with size, but whatever is less attainable. If there’s a bottle of wine that comes from one certain region in Australia, my one friend will have it because they don’t sell it here, and if they do it costs an astronomical amount of money.

Another city friend of mine will constantly exclaim how she finds the cutest clothes in the most unique shops that nobody goes to – and she does have a great wardrobe – but the point is she must tell me that she found it in some little shop above a bakery on Queen St, and she definitely won’t tell me where and what the store is.

In the suburbs it’s more important that you buy the most expensive patio set at Home Depot.

So does it really matter what size her ring is? Is it more important that it’s just different?

The rivalry betweens friends is astonishing, how can we call each other friends if all we’re interested in is who’s rock is bigger?

When it comes to friendship, is it really the size that counts? Or is it the gossip?

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