The traditions of the past haven't been totally usurped by gender equality, and that's a big reason I would like to have an expensive piece of jewelry before my boyfriend moves in. We're Southerners and my mom is nearly 70. It's not avoidable unless we want to make a stink and be "alternative."

Inevitably this means having a very weird talk about him getting me a present that costs thousands of dollars. He thought he could get the family heirloom ring from his mom and give it right to me, which is adorable. I told him he needed to "go behind my back" and talk to my sister about whether it's appropriate or needs to be reset. Poor guy was under the impression he only had to ask my mom and then present the ring with no spending or prep. Oh, how wrong he is.

My sister is a high powered career woman who married in her late 30s and wears a ring that could be traded for a Mercedes. Despite my beliefs and my independence I totally get it. Not for me, because I'm a slob who loses jewelry, but I expect BF to go through some stress and money as a hurdle before we make a commitment. That's what it has come to symbolize - a guy giving up part of his video game budget and being uncomfortable in front of your family without you as a shield.

Is that too old world, or too much to ask? I don't think so. This is the man I want living in my house and helping me through as my mother approaches old age. He's my best friend, and we've known each other for over 2 years now. Isn't it a reasonable thing to ask?