One night this past week, I took off my wedding ring as I was helping make dinner. Who wants the juices from raw meat coating your symbol of a lifetime of love and devotion? I didn't think to put the ring back on after dinner was finished, so when I went to bed it got dumped with my change instead of assuming its regular pride of place beside my bed. The next morning my ring wasn't where it was supposed to be. In the dim light and the short time of the morning before work, I left the house with a naked ring finger on my left hand. I'm too old and too married to worry too much about the rings worn by women I meet during my days. I'll notice a change on someone I see often, especially a showy change that makes me recall my great-grandmother's chiding "the bigger the diamond, the littler the love," but I'm not trolling town for prospective life-partners. Without my ring on, though, I noticed a little bit more about who did and didn't wear a ring of their own.

The day in question wasn't a day I spent bunkered at the office. I had need to be about town and interacting with people I don't normally see, people I do not already know--people I am apt not to see again. In stores and in meetings there were plenty of people with and without rings on their fingers, people of all ages.

Were the ringless women of about my own middle age maybe a little more friendly than I am used to? Was their eye contact more meaningful? Did their conversations last a bit longer, did their laughter come a little easier? It seemed like it did to me.

People usually like me well enough, and that includes the female people I interact with, so I can't really say that there was a change when I went out with the left hand of a bachelor. Maybe my bare finger marked me as a prospect and women looking for a prospect treated me a bit different than usual. Maybe I keenly felt the absence of my wedding ring and saw what I expected, or maybe I saw what I hoped would be the case.

Maybe a few women were flirtatious, or maybe it was me.