I’m on the PATH train this morning going into Manhattan (for those of you living outside of this area, it’s a subway linking New Jersey and New York) when I see an advertisement poster next to me with the following message:

Make your single friends LIVE vicariously through you.

A diamond is forever.

(This goes with a large photo of diamond earrings.)

Now, granted, those are beautiful earrings. It’s a no-brainer. But what of this marketing ploy? It reminds me of the weight loss brand that has a commercial where the nice svelte woman imagines healthy food like fish and vegetables and in the next frame imagines all the handsome men admiring her and in the next frame sees all these women frowning and shooting her daggers. I don’t know what’s more disturbing, that advertising companies perpetuate this competitive women stereotype or that it might actually work.

Think about it. Why is it that dogs are man’s best friend but diamonds are a girl’s best friend? From what I’ve seen and heard, there are plenty of women who fit the stereotype perfectly. I know women who will only date men in a certain salary range, who have unwavering “checklist” standards and who are constantly trying to keep up with the Joneses in their swanky suburban neighborhoods. It makes me shudder.

Am I an anomaly? The people I’d want to live through vicariously are not necessarily married nor are they necessarily sporting diamond earrings. I respect and admire a number of people in that category, but it’s because of other qualities they have. It has nothing to do with high wattage coming from their ears or the ring finger on their left hand.

Were I to embrace the concept of living vicariously through someone, he or she would have to be living true to their passions and have a certain peace about them on a daily basis. When I think of how to live, I don’t think of square feet or credit cards or jewels. Those are wonderful bonuses, to be sure, but what good are they without peace? Have you ever seen those stories of people whose lives have been ruined by winning the lottery? This isn’t rocket science. True contentment comes from inside, not outside, the self.

Maybe this is a lot to read into an advertisement. Maybe this means the poster actually worked because here I am railing on about it and isn’t the idea of advertising to make the product or service stick in our minds?

Perhaps. But it felt good anyway.