Question of the Week: August 18th, 2015

Do you wear an ace ring and has anyone ever commented on it? If not, do you want one? 

I bought my ace ring years ago after reading excited conversations on AVEN about ace rings and where to buy them. I rarely wear jewelry and my ace ring now often sits at home out of habit.

One time when I was wearing my ring a gay friend mentioned he liked it. I thought that he might relate to my yearning for community and I explained that it was a symbol for asexuality. He was shocked and said something like, “why would you want to wear that?”

A friend of mine saw one of their peers wearing a black ring on the right hand. They struck up a conversation and asked if she was asexual. She said no and seemed confused and uncomfortable.

About Talia

Talia is an asexual, nonbinary trans, vegan-feminist that drinks a lot of coffee and stays up very late playing World of Warcraft and writing fiction. They are working on a PhD in Environmental Studies where they think a lot about oppression as intersectional and impacting identities differentially. Talia has a particular fondness for asexuality, fandom, and Critical Animal Studies. Their personal blog is petuniaparty.tumblr.com
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31 Responses to Question of the Week: August 18th, 2015

  1. Cobra! says:

    I don’t have one, but I want one! I don’t know where I can find one, though…

    • Talia says:

      I’ve heard some people recommend Etsy. I bought mine at a spiritual artsy store downtown in the town I live in. I spent a few weeks going into any store I thought might have rings and found mine, made of onyx, for like $5 🙂

  2. luvtheheaven says:

    I don’t have one either but I too would kind of like one. I do wear jewelry but never rings though — just bracelets, earrings, and on some occasions necklaces — so I don’t know how often I’d really wear my ring. Probably when my asexuality felt relevant. 😉

  3. DL says:

    I don’t have one, but if I did end up getting one I’m not sure what would be a greater deciding factor in making my purchase a) because it’ll represent asexuality or b) I liked the idea of wearing a simple black tungsten ring long before I even knew about asexuality… if that makes any sense 😄

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t have one, but I kind of want to get one. The main problem is, I don’t know my ring size on that hand, or where they would sell such a thing locally. If I knew the size I’d just order one online, but I don’t have much of a reason to go to jewelry stores, so I probably won’t find out any time soon.

    • Sennkestra says:

      I can’t remember, are you in the US? You can order Ring Sizing guides for free from class ring companies like Jostens: https://www.jostens.com/apps/jcom/contact/index.mvc

      • You can also go into most department store that sell jewelry (e.g., the jewelry counter at Sears) and ask to borrow their their ring-sizer for a minute. That’s what it’s there for. And it’s a pretty low pressure context, unlike a dedicated jewelry story.

        • Elizabeth says:

          I’m not going anywhere like that for at least the next month, given what’s going on in my personal life, lol. I’m a lot more likely to eventually do that than bother with Josten’s (seems like a lot of hassle and spam), but yeah, not really a high priority right now.

          Honestly, I’m much more likely to bother with rings if I end up mentoring a young ace person at some point in the future, which it looks like might actually happen?? 😮

  5. I have one, but I don’t usually wear it as I have another ring with personal meaning that I prefer to wear instead. I also choose to wear it on my right ring finger (where I wear my other ring) rather than in the “standard” location. So it’s really only that when I look at it, I know what it means, but no one else days.

    Elizabeth, you may be able to find ring sizing guides or charts online to help you determine the right size.

  6. queenieofaces says:

    I’ve been wearing one for, uh *counts* about five years now? Only one person has ever asked me what it meant, and that was because he noticed both me and my then-partner were wearing them. Otherwise, people have assumed that it’s an engagement ring or a promise ring, which is…awkward…

    • Sennkestra says:

      Out of curiosity, what style of ring do you wear? I’ve never gotten that assumption with my current ring (a very thing black stone band), but I’ve been thinking of eventually investing in a more “elegant” type ring that will look less out of place when I have to dress nicely for work (maybe something like onyx or jet stones in a silver or gold band?). I’m just worried that might make it look more like an engagement type ring, which…yeah. Awkward.

      • queenieofaces says:

        Mine’s just a plain hematite ring! I got it for like $2.50 at a jewelry shop. So I have noooo idea where people are getting the idea that it’s an engagement/promise ring from. (I should note that people have stopped assuming that now that I’m dating a woman; I was only asked those sorts of questions when I was in what appeared to be a heterosexual relationship.)

    • Sciatrix says:

      Hilariously, I have a black ring for my wedding ring and I have had multiple people assume it was just fashion jewelry.

  7. Sennkestra says:

    I’ve been wearing one for about 5 years now also, although for me it’s more of a personal confidence thing than a recognition thing.

    I actually started wearing one when I was first tentatively identifying as asexual, but wasn’t ready to start coming out to anyone yet. It was a way to sort of confirm that decision to myself even when I was at a point where I didn’t yet want to express it verbally, in a way that was subtle enough that no one else would think anything of it (This was at a point when asexual symbols were even more obscure than they are now).

    As far as having it recognized, I’ve never had anyone mention it in day-to-day life, but I have had encounters because of it at a couple different LGBT+ conferences, mostly in or near asexual workshops – it’s usually played out something like this:

    *waiting in line for an ace specific workshop, ace/bi/trans inclusion panel, etc.*
    *Person walks up next to me, glances down at my hand”
    “Hey, is that…” *raises hand to show off their own black ring*
    “Yes it is! Hello fellow ace :)”

    I think it’s too common a fashion trend to be an unambiguous marker of asexuality in day to day life, but it can be fun for passing subtle hints and getting confirmation with someone you already think might be ace for other reasons, like if they’re attending an asexuality themed event.

  8. butterflo says:

    (ace male here) I have one, but I’ve never met anyone recognize it. Few times I was asked about what it meant – mostly women – and other times people made guesses and assumptions and *goes on*..

    Nevertheless I find the ring quite ‘useful’. It helps to find out whether someone would make assumptions about me or not:)

  9. Siggy says:

    I fantasize about having an outward symbol of some sort, but I’m just too anti-fashion to ever be happy actually doing it. Forget symbols, I have insecurities about wearing shorts.

  10. Grey Wanders says:

    I’ve worn my ring for about a year now (every day, because I either don’t wear jewelry or I assimilate it into my person and wear it always). I met one ace in a way similar to Sennkestra’s – they were complaining about some allonormativity in the play we’d just seen, I saw their ring and we excitedly waved hands at each other. Another time a questioning ace who I’d never talked to about being ace approached me for advice. I’m not sure whether that was the ring or if I’m just really obvious.

  11. kehovde says:

    I really dislike wearing rings, but I did recently make myself a bracelet in the colors of the ace flag. I just started wearing it, so I don’t think anyone has noticed it yet, but it makes me happy to see it on my wrist, even if no one knows what it means.

  12. Sciatrix says:

    I wore one for about three years, but I lost mine six months ago and haven’t gotten around to replacing it yet. Whoops. I’ve only had people cue in on it when I was at queer events or something, and then more as a fellow gesture of recognition-as-fellow-aces than anything else.

  13. Rynwin says:

    I was thinking about getting one, but then I found out what a ring avulsion was… (Do not google that. Ever.)

    • Rynwin says:

      Though I might still get one, or at least something along those lines; I was eyeing a black ring with a heart and amethyst before I made the unfortunate Google search. I’m just going to have to cut the band in order to wear it with peace of mind. I’d like to minimize the odds of losing a finger.

  14. Carmilla DeWinter says:

    I wear mine – a by now pretty scratched up steel thing – on my left hand’s middle finger, reason being I have a lot of other rings that fit on my right hand, but are too loose on the left. And I like that bling too much not to wear it.
    No one’s ever asked about the black ring who wasn’t on an ace event. Also, promise rings and the like aren’t all that in fashion or even known hereabouts, so people really have no reason to assume any ring besides obvious relationship signifiers carry meaning.

  15. Coyote says:

    Have I already told the story of when I was at a party and someone referenced the fact that I’m ace — and these were not people I had already come out to — and I was like “wait, how do *you* know I’m ace?!” and they told me “because you wear the ring, duh” …..?

    Probably have, but here it is again. Turns out those people were ace too.

  16. I have one that I wear once in a while, when I particular want to be visibly out (Coming Out Day, Ace Week, and other random days where I just need to wear it). I wear a bracelet every day, though, and have for a few years now. (It used to be a beaded bracelet in the ace colors, now it’s a “Plasma Purple” paracord bracelet, but I’ve been thinking about making one that’s more explicitly ace colorwise)

    After the conference, I bought a ton of ace rings in various sizes. The next event I go to, I’m planning on bringing the lot to give away. (Unless I come up with something really awesome to do with a bunch of slightly magnetic rings first…)

  17. I wear one very often, when I’m up for wearing rings (which is never at home but often when I’m out and about or going to some kind of gathering or event). I’ve been through a number of rings since 2008. First hematite because I couldn’t find a black one, then a black plastic one but the black colour eventually came off. I eventually got a carbonite steel one which I wear on my right hand middle finger. And a number of years ago I started wearing a rainbow one on my left hand index finger too so I wear both. Ebay is a very good place to buy inexpensive black rings when you know your ring size.

    A couple times other aces have found me from my ring– people I didn’t even know. One time I was talking to someone I’d just met in a space for some other reason and he noticed my ring– it turned out that we’d actually already been in contact online but just hadn’t met in person yet. So that was kind of neat. And sometimes but not often non-aces ask me about it and it’s a chance to do ace 101 to the extent that I feel like it that day.

    I’ve recently seen a suggestion in the “not specifically ace arospec” community of wearing a white ring on the left hand middle finger to represent aromanticism– explicitly like the “opposite” of the black ace ring. (I don’t know how common that is or if it’s going to catch on.) I really dislike that because it feels like it’s appropriating the ace black ring symbology in a way that’s really hostile to a lot of aroaces especially. (There might be some aroaces who are into it but I’m definitely not one of them.)

    That white ring thing in context of the black ace ring is like saying that the aromanticism of aroaces isn’t real or that “ace” doesn’t already include aroaces, as though the black ace ring is a zedromantic ace thing (and that “ace” means zedromantic unless otherwise specified). For crying out loud, white is the colour of non-aces in the ace symbology, so it’s not even like aroaces could combine the two symbols. I mean, it might make sense to have the left-hand white ring represent specifically aromantic zedsexuals…. maybe? But why would that be desirable? And besides, tthe only reason it’s a ring and not a bracelet or necklace is that it’s pulling from the ace ring symbology. (I’m not looking to wear a 3rd ring, but I really don’t appreciate when people do things that function to take my aromanticism out of my asexuality, because my aroaceness just as legitimately ace as any other kind of ace.)

    • Ugh, glad I had missed that idea going around. I honestly think I like wearing a ring (including sometimes an ace ring) on my right ring finger as a kind of aromantic symbolism. It may not mean that for anybody else but it seems to have taken on that meaning for me!

    • Sennkestra says:

      Huh, I hadn’t seen that going around. I think, depending on where it’s coming from, I’d have mixed feelings about that….I’m not sure how it is now, but when I first started encountering attempts at starting non-ace aromantic discussion communities a couple years ago, there were some issues with reactionary backlash against asexuals or any discussion of asexuality. There was an understandable reason (frustration at the conflation of asexuality and aromanticism) but it sometimes got taken too far and generally did not make it a welcoming space for aro aces, at least not in my experience (and there was also outright hostility towards romantic aces sometimes). So if it’s coming from aro aces as a more specific symbol, then whatever, it’s not my thing but I don’t really care much either way. But if it’s coming from non-ace aros, then I’m maybe not so comfortable with it.

      Of course, lots of symbol suggestions come and go and never really catch on, so it may not even matter in the long run.

    • queenieofaces says:

      Actually, that white ring symbology has been around for quite a while–I remember seeing someone suggest it on AVEN (for aro aces) when I first started lurking in ace communities circa 2010. Unfortunately, as a couple of early adopters noted…it winds up looking like a promise ring. WHOOPS. Then there was the attempt to have aro aces wear the ace ring on their left hand instead of their right (with the assumption that no aro aces would ever be married and also apparently in “ring code” right hand refers to a temporary state whereas left hand refers to a permanent state and middle finger means “single”? Which is kind of weird and icky if you believe that all non-aro aces are temporarily single. I’ve seen people reference this “code” multiple times but no source for it, so I don’t know if people are just making it up or if there really was a preexisting code). Anyway, yeah, I’ve seen a ton of variations suggested over the years, but I’ve never seen any of them aside from the original one stick.

    • Sennkestra says:

      The other problem with white rings is it seems like it’s be hell to keep one clean. And like, as hard as it is finding black rings, I don’t know that I’ve ever even seen a white ring….

      • Elizabeth says:

        I used to have some cheap plastic ring that was white, and had a rose painted (well, sort of painted but then with the plastic molded on top of it, if that makes sense) in the middle. Other than that, I can’t say I’ve seen a whole lot of white rings either.

  18. dcbilliot says:

    I’ve been wearing a ring for about 6 years, but no ace has ever commented on it. It’s mostly just friends asking what it means. When meeting other Aces, we’ve both held up our right hands like “OOOOOH!” before. So that’s a thing that has happened to me twice, but not until we’ve both said we were asexual.

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