Two Hundred Ninety-Nope

By Sarah Aterrado - January 18, 2024

It was in the early 2000s when I learned how to craft byte-sized narratives (a.k.a. blog) and I have been suffering from word vomit ever since. To those who know me, it's not a surprise that when I have something to say, I don't hold back. 

And when I say I have something to say, it doesn't involve the mouth. I write. My thoughts are delivered better when written than spoken, even if they do not make any sense at all.

Although, ever since I gave birth to Chris in 2020, I have been awfully quiet. Facebook has been devoid of my opinions about politics. social issues, or any relatable real-life dramas that spark off heated arguments because I was too exhausted to care... 

Until this engagement ring hullabaloo.

Was I triggered? Not really. I honestly could not relate because I do not have an engagement ring myself. 😂 But I decided to take a stab at this issue because I do have a solid point and I have time to waste. And probably I just missed being proven wrong, especially when I spew out opinions that are less popular than Juan Tawiwit. 

Just to set things straight, I do not engage in a squammy online bardagulan. I do not respond to people who use ad hominems, throw in sordid comments, and are damn lazy to spell properly. I mean, I do not expect you to be a literary genius, but I do expect you to at least spell better than a third-grader. I love a good, civil, and intelligent debate nonetheless. Gawd, I miss the online forums so much.

So, anyway...

I did not expect my post to blow up. Well, kind of.

And honestly, I enjoyed reading the comments even though at times, I get those eyebrow-furrowing, eye-squinting, mouth-slightly-opening, and head-tilting-to-the-side moments because some people need to work on their reading comprehension before aggressively taking out their abhorrence on the keyboard in hopes that whatever applesauce they type will savagely strike whoever is on the other side of the screen. But for the most part, I love how most people lay down their opposing viewpoints well.

I was also able to mull over some thoughts after reading the divided opinions of the people who shared my post. Since the issue has died down and I do not want to raise another ruckus or draw any kind of attention anymore, I will just share here whatever nonsense is living rent-free in my mind. 

I can't help it. Word vomit.

Plus verbal diarrhea.

So yeah. No one asked, but I will say it anyway: I still stand my ground about not wanting a P299 engagement ring. 

But if this were in the early 2000s, I know I would be okay with that. I used to have this mas mabuti na ito kaysa sa wala (this is better than nothing) mindset. And having that mindset also meant I was okay getting half-assed affection, half-assed service, half-assed everything.

Saw this brutally honest post and I kind of agree with her.

Back then, I did not know that I was in a bare minimum relationship. All I know is that what we had wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. And being so young and inexperienced at such, that became my standard.

I know I was also at fault because I did not communicate how I really felt. I never asked for more and never complained because I was afraid my feelings would be downplayed and I would be called dramatic again, or I might come off as demanding and ungrateful. But I did double my efforts in hopes they would be reciprocated, but nada! The boy could not take a hint.

In a relationship, "bare minimum" is just a step above nothing. When your partner is just doing the bare minimum, you don't actually see anything wrong. There is, however, nothing to speak highly of either. That is why, in that decade-long relationship, you have never seen me flex or write those appreciation posts because there was nothing to post anyway. So yes, not everyone who is quiet about their relationship is actually happy.

Partners who give only the bare minimum are not generally bad people. They do not abuse you or cheat on you. But they also do not go out of their way or make you a priority. They only make a little effort to keep you around. And you are okay with that because they do not do anything that warrants a breakup. But deep inside, you also find yourself wishing your partner would do a little bit more to make you feel special (and I know that a lot of women get gaslighted because their obsession with Kdramas is said to have created "high and unrealistic" expectations of men).

But things are different with Jan. He never makes me feel I was too much. He figured out my love language and he loves me the way I wanted to be loved. It is not a love story of epic proportions, as seen on KDramas. But then, the only Korean series I have ever watched were Vincenzo and Uncanny Counter, so how should know? But I do know he set the bar high for me.

If things didn't work out between us, I would still be glad and proud to say that at least someone showed me what it's like to be treated like a queen and given more than what I deserve. Believe me, once you've been exposed to the best, it's damn near impossible to still want a second-rate. My mindset went from 'this is better than nothing' to 'I'm never settling for anything less'. 

So again, if you ask me if I am okay with a 299 engagement ring? I don't wear a ring (except my wedding ring albeit I also have to stop wearing that because my fingers turned into sausages) and I don't even know sh*t about jewelry, but I would feel the same way as ate girl because I could get myself one or much better if ikain ko na lang ng isaw yang 299, may sukli pa

Before you throw your two cents at my face because a woman's value should not measured by the ring she was given, you have to understand that this not about the price anymore. It is about the effort that was exerted that matters. I can't stress this enough.

We may have different love languages, but the bottomline is, your partner's efforts will show how much he values you by the way he planned and worked hard for something that will make you happy. If a man settles for a "pwede na" even if he is very much capable of giving more or if he cannot put on an effort to save up for something that is supposedly sentimental, of course, there is no way I can unlove him instantly but I would be very disappointed in him. And that disappointment can go on for ages. Haha.

Seriously though, if a man cannot match or put an effort to match my value morally, spiritually, and yes, financially, then I'd rather stay single.

We've got to admit, it feels good to see your partner go out of their way to make you feel like a queen even once in a while. 

To me, it would be Jan waiting for me alone and out in the cold at dawn even if he himself lacked sleep just so he can spend a little more time with me. Or that time he surprised me with a ukulele because even without telling him (not even a parinig), he knew what I wanted because he pays attention to me. Or the time he gave me a mechanical keyboard instead of a regular keyboard because he knows I'll go gaga over it. Or the time he went looking for his first ever hiking shoes for his first major hike because he wanted to try doing the things that I love even if it is pang buwis-buhay levels for an asthmatic like him. 😅 I could go on and on.

To some, especially those whose love language is receiving gifts, it could be their engagement ring. 

And a 299 ring that is worth less than your boyfriend's shirt and one that tarnishes in a month just doesn't cut it. 

So ladies, never lower your standards for men who can’t afford you or will never put an effort to afford you, because if you settle, you'll be receiving the bare minimum for the rest of your life.

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