Let’s for three minutes discuss the ring finger. Specifically, I am speaking about the ring finger on your left hand – the one your wedding band is placed on. Why is it on the left hand? I mean, I am sure there is some reason from back in the day, but it’s just not practical. For me, personally, it all comes down to dating.

I hate dating. But, I love dating. Do you know what I mean? I love going on dates, but I hate dating. Does that make more sense? Why can't God just say, "Here Becca, I got you a soul mate. He will love you, cherish you, be loyal and want you and only you for the rest of your life." That would just be too easy.

In reality, we find ourselves checking out the guy working at the car repair shop and hoping there is not a ring on his finger. All (well -- many) women do that too. We all meet a man and almost immediately check out his left hand. We need to know who we are talking to. Is it someone who may be asking me out? Someone who I may be kissing goodnight by the end of the week? Someone who may be coming back to my place after a really wonderful evening? Someone who I may be making breakfast for the next morning? Someone who may fall in love with me? Someone who may ask me to marry him?

E2 users pull Becca out of her fantasy world.

Anyway, this is why either one of two things needs to happen.

1. -- We change the hand we shake when we greet people to our left hand.

2. – We start wearing our wedding bands on our right hand.

This way you can be friendly and find out if he or she is married right there. No causal glances at the person’s hand... no trying to be subtle as you look for a wedding band. All you would have to do is shake hands and POOF! You would immediately know the marital status of the person.

Someone was really not on the ball with that one.

"Why is it on the left hand? I mean, I am sure there is some reason from back in the day, but it's just not practical."

there are quite a few different reasons from various bits of lore. the three most common parts are this:

left hand/third finger:
in very ancient tradition, it was believed that there were major veins that ran directly from the left third finger to the heart. with the heart's association with love, it was an easy step to wearing the ring as close to the heart as possible.

third finger:
in medieval times, in christian ceremonies, the groom would set the ring on the first finger, then the second, then the third. this was a representation of father, son and holy spirit.

left hand:
in many varied traditions, only one ring was worn, as opposed to today's seperate engagement rings and wedding bands. one ring was given to the woman. before the wedding, she wore it on her right ring finger. during the ceremony, however, her betrothed moved the band from her right hand to her left.

Traditionally, the left side was associated with love an commitment through the ages as that is the side in which the heart resides. This is followed with other ritualistic items as well, including fans and flowers. I am not well acquainted with the language of fans, but I do know that traditionally, a maiden who was available would wear a flower behind the right ear, while a matron or child too young would wear a flower behind the left, denoting their status as unavailable.

In light of the preceding nodes, some European countries actually have their residents wear their wedding rings on their right hand. I have no idea where this tradition came from or why the United States, for example, didn't inherit this practice; perhaps some European noders could be of assistance here.

For completeness, it is worth mentioning that there is a tradition of etiquette that a widow may continue to wear the wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand, but should move it to the third finger of the right hand if she remarries. My guess is that this would also hold true for a widower.

In this way, one can still proclaim love for the lost mate as well as the new one.

I am European (well, British), and know this to be broadly correct in Europe and the US, but can throw no light on TrojanJedi's query.

I am also European (Maltese) and have never experienced Wedding rings (bands in US) worn on the right hand as standard practice. This might be yet another rumour being spread about those alien beings who do not live in the US.

Being rather utilitarian and considering function, rather than form to take precedence, I imagine that the left hand is chosen to wear a ring on for practical reasons. Since the majority are right-handed, this hand is left free from foreign objects that would in some way impair every-day activities performed with the dominant hand.

Hark back to the days where wearing a sword was standard practice. The said sword was worn with its hilt above the left hip for maximal sword-drawing efficiency. Anything worn on or around the fingers on the right hand could only hamper this at best and cause injury at worst.

Another, slightly less mundane, reason could be the ease with which one can keep his or her left hand hidden inside a pocket for the entire duration of a conversation with an attractive person while in the absence of one's spouse.
When she is nervous, she reaches left thumb to ring finger absentmindedly. It is an unconscious movement to be sure. She fiddles with the band, rocking it back and forth rhythmically as if reassuring herself that it is still there and that she is not dreaming. She has done this since he first slipped it onto her finger.

Subconscious slams into conscious as the reality hurtles her into the wall. Her gut wrenches a moment, still. The warm hard gold is gone, spirited away to the bottom of a jar relegated to chipped costume jewelry. Her eyes are wrenched to the place of once upon a time.

The white line has disappeared from months of holding her hand out the car window to the sun. But, the indent of 16 years still remains. It feels a permanent marker of lives intertwined and then suddenly, not. She does not need to pinch herself. She is not dreaming. This is real. He has branded her with his mark before moving on.

When she is nervous, she reaches left thumb to ring finger. Only now, she fidgets with the impression on the underside of her knuckle. This scar too will fade away eventually. It is only a matter of time.

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