So I had a dream where two people from very different cultures have to get married to prevent a war, and in it, one culture used rings to signify marriage while the other used (pierced) earrings.
This got me thinking about what traditions exist to visually show that someone is married. So a bit of research later, some examples are:
Wearing a ring (left or right hand, depending on culture) on the “ring” finger (third finger), sometimes getting a tattoo on the appropriate finger (especially if the person’s job makes wearing an actual ring dangerous and/or impractical)
(For men) having a beard, or wearing a prayer shawl
(For women) wearing a special necklace, or special bangles, or special hair style/covering, or a sindoor
So that’s pretty cool, but I think there are lots of other ways people could show that they’re married. (And maybe there are cultures that do–they just weren’t among the ones I found in my 30 minutes of googling). Maybe things like:
Specific colour of nail polish and/or tattoo on hands/fingers
Hair length (either unwed individuals must keep hair short, or unwed individuals are not allowed to cut their hair until after marriage)
Special type of clothing (a sash, shawl, belt, or scarf)
Specific colour of clothing (for example, maybe only married people can wear blue)
Less visual, but what if only married people could use certain scents (like lavender) for their soaps and/or fragrances?
There are lots of possibilities! So why not use something other than “exchanging rings” in your fantasy story? Just make sure you think about what that means for the culture. (For example, puzzle rings [which are super cool–I love the ‘woven’ look] were originally developed to catch wives who cheated on their husbands, because they fall apart when taken off. Which shows that women weren’t trusted, and that they weren’t expected to be very clever [otherwise they could put the ring back together])
Permanent markings (like tattoos and piercings) are likely used in a culture where divorces are either not common, or not allowed. Might make for an interesting exploration to look at how such a culture might handle widows/widowers, or those rare instances of divorce. (Do they have a different way to show widowhood vs divorce? How easy/hard is it for a divorcee to make it look like their widowed instead?)
For specific colours/items only available to married individuals, think about how easy it is for the poorest people in the society to access. Do they have to use alternatives to achieve the same visual representation of their marriage? (For example, if a sparkling teal nail polish is what denotes a married person, but it’s expensive, do poor use a fruit/flower that stains their fingertips instead? Maybe the polish is accessible to everyone, but then the rich are going to want some way to denote their wealth as well [comparable to massive engagement rings], so maybe they use a flat teal and then add the sparkle by placing tiny slivers of diamonds on the wet polish?)
And then you must think about the difference in how men and women (and other genders, if it’s a multi-gendered society) present their symbol of marriage. Even with a symbol like a ring that both men and women use, the rings are often very different in appearance. Men’s rings tend to be thicker and simpler, while women’s rings tend to be thinner and more “elegant” (swoops, swirls, curls, multiple gems, etc.). So in a society that uses nail polish or piercings to show marriage, how might it be worn by different genders?
But that station name 市中北 was kinda nonsensical. Pisses me off a bit because I wanted to know which area this story was based in so I thought I finally had a clue, and they go and put in a station like “North City Middle”…
oh my god ohhhh my god so im lying on the floor doing my exercises and stretches right and my hand touches something round and sorta hard sorta squishy and im like wtf is this did the cat poop under my bed and i look and its a GIANT ASS TICK and i FREAK like what the fuck are you doing in here so i flush it and check myself and i had to clean everything to make sure there were no more stripped my bed cleaned the floor put away laundry i mean all this had to be done anyway but ive had no spoons for it leave it to anxiety to get me going bc i could think of NOTHING ELSE until this was done
I still feel like i need a shower and go vacuum but its too late for that i dont feel like waking my mom (or our neighbors) but what the fuck all ticks need to immediately disappear from the world and go to hell where they belong