From the moment a woman agrees to marry a man she wears a diamond ring he places on her ring finger, which then becomes a highly priced public hoarding.
"I'm taken!" the ring broadcasts loud and clear. "Don't even think about it."
Meanwhile the man has a clear fist of things, no ring for him, nothing signals that he is off the market except a hole in his wallet where the monetary equivalent of a diamond happily lived.
And when the wedding day arrives the woman's ring finger willingly submits to a second ring, the wedding band and the husband may choose to wear one, or not.
Prince William has opted not to, David Cameron doesn't and many men didn't until World War II when some decided that wearing a ring was a nice way to remember their loved ones from the battlefields.
As a supportive wife I technically should be wearing the whole nine yards of wedding band, diamond ring, eternity ring, pearls strung around my neck, earrings dangling from my ears.
I should present myself thus decked out for cocktails at 6pm with my hair done up in a sophisticated chignon, a cocktail dress complete with stockings and high heels. Later I should place a fetching apron over the whole ensemble when it comes time to present dinner.
But I'm having none of that.
For many years it has been a source of irritation to my husband that I steadfastly refuse to wear the wedding band he gave me on our wedding day. After a few months I just stopped wearing it.
Fay Weldon once stopped wearing her wedding ring in the 70s to support any woman over 30 who was made to feel inferior because she didn't have one. So I could loosely claim my naked ring finger as a feminist triumph.
I also believe feminism gave me the right to maintain property rights over my body parts. I don't need a wedding ring to tell a man not to chat me up, I can happily use my fingers to give him the two-fingered salute and be done with it.
My husband sulked for a while and then one day I noticed he was wearing my wedding band as well as his own.
As I stumble through my self-imposed challenge of supporting my husband by thinking more about his needs this year I had a moment when I thought maybe I should make his day by wearing more of the beautiful jewellery he has bought me over the years. The black pearls, the cream pearls, the amethysts and the wedding ring. I would create an interactive art installation which demonstrates a connection between love and adornment.
But then I realised I had lost all of my jewellery. I packed it up and hid it before we went on holiday last year and when I got back I couldn't remember where I had put it.
I've consulted a psychic who told me to look amongst old wrapping paper. I consulted a numerologist who told me to ask a colleague about it. Then I asked the 10,432 people who subscribe to my weekly email newsletter to help me out.
I was told to pray to St Anthony, the patron saint of lost things (really?).
And for a week I was like a remote-controlled robot every time I opened my email. I would read another clue then obediently pop up and look. I have looked in the potatoes, among the flour (or flowers my reader said, she was just hearing a floury sound). I've taken every drawer out of every chest, emptied closets and boxes, looked in the garden shed, roof cavity, fridge, toilet cistern, linen cupboard, even among the tampons.
Then my daughter and I remembered a discussion taking place before the holiday about where I should hide the jewellery. My suggestion was the freezer. "Any burglar worth his salt knows to look in the freezer," said my husband. "In a book, behind a book is the place. Burglars don't steal books."
We both clearly remember him saying confidently: "Leave it to me."
He has no recollection of the conversation, conveniently, and has refused to remove one of approximately 2500 books we own to look.
So I am free to be a supportive wife without losing my property rights for as long as each one of those books remains untouched.