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Does it really matter if Prince William doesn't wear a ring?

In this Tuesday, March 8, 2011 photo, Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton prepare to flip pancake at a display by the charity Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children outside the City Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Prince William might seem like someone who has it all: royal status, a charming fiancee, good health, and an easy touch with his future subjects. But there is something he lacks: A full head of hair. Casual observers who have not paid much attention to the future king during the years before his engagement to Kate Middleton have been surprised by the extent of his hair loss, particularly since younger brother Prince Harry still sports a luxuriant supply of tousled red hair.

Peter Morrison/Peter Morrison/AP

He may be getting married on April 29, but Prince William is opting not to wear a wedding band after he's tied the knot. One day he'll likely wear the crown, but it just so happens he's not a big fan of jewellery.

"It was something the couple discussed, but Prince William isn't one for jewellery," a St. James Palace aide told The Daily Mail. "It really is just down to personal preference."

Following royal tradition, Kate Middleton will wear a wedding band made from Welsh gold.

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The explanation of why Prince William won't be wearing a wedding band - that he just "isn't one for jewellery" - seems perfectly reasonable, doesn't it?

And yet few other wedding-related topics of conversation have traditionally been so fraught with suspicion, wild accusations and near-outright hysteria.

Some people simply can't accept the fact that some guys just don't want to wear a wedding band, because, like Prince William, they don't like wearing jewellery. Oh, no.

Consider, for example, an article published in New York Magazine in 2005, entitled "The Meaning of a Naked Finger: When married men don't wear a wedding ring, what message are they sending?" The author quotes a friend of hers who "has had affairs with a lot of married men," (a classy dame indeed) who said this in response to the I-just-don't-like-jewellery argument: "All those married women out there whose husbands aren't wearing rings should be worried. It's never an innocent choice."

Really? Never? What nefarious motivations might William have, one wonders? It's not like the next time he's down at the pub chatting up some bird he can say, 'Oh, me? Nope, still single. Let's head back to your flat.' The entire world is going to watch him get married.

And can we please stop with this sort of self-righteous aggrievement? This from a blog called For Ladies By Ladies: "As far as I know, when you're married you wear a ring to show your commitment to your partner. I have been noticing more and more men who don't wear wedding rings. Why not? I personally find it disrespectful to their wives. When I get married my husband better wear his wedding ring!"

Then again, maybe wedding rings have magic powers that stop people from cheating and keeps every couple who wears one happy. Maybe they even make cookies that taste better and you can rub them for good luck.

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The point is, shouldn't men be free to decide for themselves - after consulting with their wives, of course - whether or not they'll wear a wedding ring, without that decision prompting others to implicitly accuse them of not respecting his wife or revealing a desire to stray? Can't a guy just not like rings?

Please weigh in on this. The whole ring thing completely boggles my mind, so I'd really like to know what other people think.

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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