Why I’m Glad I Bought My Class Ring: a follow up to an earlier post

My signet ring. I never leave home without it.

Back in January, I ran a post about my grad school class ring. In an attempt to remedy the error I made in purchasing a college class ring that resembled a wedding band, I purchased  a super-sized man’s ring to mark the completion of my MA. I wanted a conversation starter. Little did I know how useful it would be…

I was sitting at the bar of the Brasserie, a restaurant in midtown Manhattan where I can say “I practically grew-up here!” It was happy-hour hour and I was enjoying a St. Germain spritzer with my mother who had just survived hours of unpleasant dental work. Her face was puffy. We both agreed champagne and elderflower liquor would be a more effective pain killer than the Vicodin in her purse. There was a group of young bank management trainees clustered at the end of the bar, awaiting an orientation cocktail party to begin.

The Brasserie -- the resturant I practically grew-up in.

I had yet to put in my drink order when one of the trainees slid onto the stool next to mine.

“Can I have an ice-water please?”

I could feel him looking at the side of my head — sometimes I think those crimson feature extensions I installed send the wrong message — and he crunched his ice in my ear.

“Nice signet ring. Where’s it from?”

After a several minute assessment,  he had decided my over-sized class ring was his best in.

His comrades stared at us like this was a middle school dance and he was the boy dared to ask the one female in the room if she wants a turn on the floor. My mother and my new best friend Karissa, the bartender, giggled like 12 year girls.

sometimes I think the feather extension I installed send the wrong impression.

The conversation was short. “Oh! Art History! Very, very in-te-ressss-ting. You must speak French and Italian.”

“French and German.”

I returned to my menu and minutes later, he got the  message and abandoned his efforts. My mother gave me her signature smack in the back of the head.

“It doesn’t matter that he was short. Or balding. Or creepy. He probably makes as much in a week as you do in a year. You could have at least been friendly.”

I shrugged. Luckily, I was given a second chance, of sorts, the next day.

Justin was the 6 foot something, Mediterranean-colored, plaid-wearing North Face salesman who sold me my snowshoe-ready anti-slip snow boots during a lunch-break trek to the shopping district.

“Nice signet ring. Where’s it from?”

Looking at his dark complexion and athletic build, I was sold. I happily explained my course of degree with self-deprecation.

“You sound just like me!” he replied, referring to my economics undergraduate turned art history grad student.

"Leave it to you," my mother cried, "to pick the starving artist."

I settled on the boots and we quickly swapped life stories. He was an economist turned ceramic artist turned pro golfer. Besides an affinity for this sporting life, green tea and Hudson Bay coats, we shared mutual friends in the local art world.

By the time I signed my receipt,  he had asked for my business card and promised to stop by the gallery to see our current exhibit.

In less than 24 hours, my class ring had won me the attention of two very different guys. I won’t pretend my mother wasn’t disappointed in my choice — “Leave it to you to choose the starving artist over the secure businessman!”

To make amends, I promised I’d do happy hour at the Brasserie more often… signet ring in tow, of course.

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