The E2 RA and I spent all of my freshman year researching what they hell this is (we had heard rumors, but no one seemed to want to divulged what it was to outsiders). We also researched the slightly related question of whether or not GR had a public school system. So now I can let the rest of the world onto this curious and strange custom.

What they are: A ring with a pearl on it. Similar to a promise ring. It basically allows you, in the words of my friend Eddie, to call “Dibs” on someone. It is also used by young students, to which circumstances/parental expectations do not allow them to become engaged. Also given if the party giving the ring is scared of commitment but wants to reassure his partner that someday he’ll want to commit. Remember: Oyster spit is absolutely binding.

Who participates in this quaint custom: Within the past two years I have observed that this custom seems to be on the decline, but nevertheless it is particularly limited to those who attended Grand Rapids Christian High and others who think it is neat. Horror stories are known of girls who would get majorely pissed if they had not received a promise ring by their four-month anniversary.

Relevance/Usefulness: Current Christian teen culture is all about rings; such as purity rings, true love waits, and silver ring thing (all mostly worn by females, as this trend has not led to a relaxing of the practice of stigmatizing males who wear pretty jewelery). Another sort of ring in this context, since it is rather related to the others, makes perfect sense.

It also leads to the reduction of stress which the unmarried at Calvin feel about finding an mate before leaving college. Hey, you may not have a diamond but you have a promise that you’ll be getting one soon

Usually more plain (and cheaper!) ones are found on the fingers of Calvin dutch girls

Usually more plain (and cheaper!) ones are found on the fingers of Calvin dutch girls



2 responses to “Pearling

  1. Hehe – saw that the post was about the mysterious pearl phenom and thought maybe you were about to announce you’d received a pearl in the wilds of Minnesota! 😉

  2. kaydonthedinosaur

    Others thought that too, but i am rather biased against pearling, as the idea of walking around with oyster spit on my finger is gross. But I do have one of those do-it-yourself pearl necklaces (where you get a package, get to dig out the pearl yourself and put it in a locket-looking thing) given to me by my best friend’s mom and people thought that maybe I had been pearled…then I got awkward looks when I explained that no one else in the known world pearls.

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