“It’s really quite an interesting psychological phenomenon.” — Andrew Steyn, The Gods Must Be Crazy
I can’t wear my wedding ring until I either gain more weight or get some sort of spacer for it. (For the record, I’m planning for the second option.) I’ve recently shed a few pounds, and the darn thing just slides off my finger now.
A few years ago, I lost quite a lot of weight and had the same problem. Then I gained most of it back and could wear the ring again, so yay?
Having been through this cycle of ring-wearing feasibility gave me an opportunity to perform a field study on the assumptions of wait staff.
There’s a sports bar conveniently located a block away from work. Wendi and I eat there often enough that the staff remember our typical drink orders. We’ll sit down, and a waitperson will point at us and identify our beverages. We confirm, and everybody leaves the encounter feeling pretty good.
When I stopped wearing my wedding ring the first time, I began to notice something odd. These same servers began to give us separate checks. I pointed this out to Wendi, who found it amusing, but neither of us clearly recalled how the bills had previously been handled. My perception could be biased by own acute awareness of my empty finger, but we suspected otherwise.
Now and then a server would ask whether it would be one check or two, but the emphasis was always on their assumption that it would be two. “Will this be separate?”, “Two checks?”, or the like. Again, we couldn’t remember how the question had been phrased before.
Fortunately (?) I beefed up again, and my ring finger once more sported proof of my official pairing. (Sorry, ladies and gents. This marbled steak is taken!)
The change was immediate.
The very same servers who had been assuming we would pay separately now thought differently.
“Will this be together?”
Same wait staff. Same couple. Same drinks. The only difference was whether I had my ring on.
Recent weight loss has again made my wedding ring fit too loosely. No sooner had I started to leave the ring at home then we were right back to separate checks. It seemed our suspicions were confirmed.
Now, how do I get grant money for a proper study?