I never wore a wedding ring when married, even though I'd romantically chosen St Valentine's Day for the ceremony. But I felt I needed a wedding ring when I embarked on active transition in 2008.
I'd read in a book for natal girls about personal safety and survival that wearing one often put off men intent on pestering unattached females. I thought it might do the same for me, as I became sufficiently feminised, and men began to perceive me as an ordinary woman rather than as some strange hybrid creature. It would also be another little 'female identifier' that everyone would notice. I hoped it would say 'This woman should be given especial respect and courtesy'. It was in essence a security device.
I didn't feel it was a fraud. I had, after all, really been married, and felt entitled to wear a wedding ring if I chose. It certainly did its job. See my post 'I've acquired a husband!' on 8 October 2010.
But by the beginning of 2011, I felt that ring had fully served its purpose and that I was now confident enough socially to manage without it. So before surgery took place, my wedding-ring finger became bare again.
It crossed my mind that taking it off could mean trouble. How would I now be seen? Not as someone's wife. I might instead be taken for a spinster with a personality so awkward or career-fixated that I'd never got myself a man. Or as a devoted daughter who had given her life to her parents' care, was now free, but might be shy and inexperienced and an easy target for a man on the make. Or as a divorcee who had shed the giveaway signs of a previous marriage, now called herself 'Miss', and was open to a good time with anyone who might ask. None of these images were how I wanted to be, but the ring was a chunky thing, not completely comfortable to wear, and I decided to put it away and see what happened.
Half a year later I'm thinking that I'd prefer to wear a wedding ring again.
It's hard to pinpoint the precise reason. Perhaps I just don't want to seem too obviously 'single and unattached', especiallly now that the Cottage is going. My life will be surprisingly changed, there will be fallout, and I'm not going to want pressure from romantics with reason to guess from appearances that I am totally free.
So I'm now looking around for another, nicer ring for that finger.
What will it be like? I'm not a 'gold' person. I prefer silver. But I know I want something beautiful and distinctive. I suppose I hanker for something old and gorgeous, with a large oval stone set in it, quite unlike the modern wedding ring. Back in 1992 there was a two- or three-part TV drama called 'Portrait of a Marriage', which dealt with the tempestuous lesbian love affair that Vita Sackville-West had with Violet Keppel. In one scene, Vita was asked by a man - it might have been Denys Trefusis, who was trying to woo Violet and perplexed by the emotional wall that the girls had erected against him - what the large and very old ring on her finger was. And she replied 'It was once worn by a Venetian doge'. I'd love to be able to say that about my new ring!
Of course, with old rings come old associations - some happy, some sad - and a little of the personality of each past owner. I might end up with ghosts looking over my shoulder. So I think I need to proceed carefully!