Welcome to West London Psycho, our new weekly column showing you what really goes on inside the minds of West London’s finest. This week, WSP educates us on how to wear a signet ring, that traditional symbol of West London wealth, privilege and weak jawlines.
Get the name right
Don’t, for example, call it a sovereign ring (too Ray Winstone), a pinky ring (too American) or, I don’t know, a family seal (we’ve already got one of those in the zoo, actually – his name’s Arthur and the vet suspects him of gout). It’s a signet ring.
Acceptable nicknames include: Siggie (particularly pleasing if deployed whilst smoking), Nugget, Wearable Nepotism, and The Door Opener.
Octagonal shapes are unacceptable
Ok, yes, an octagonal-topped signet ring is still technically a signet ring, but only in the way that Imperial Wharf is technically in Chelsea and I’m still technically welcome at my sister-in-law’s house after that whole business with the panna cotta . Oval, circles or cushions: nothing else will do.
Don’t put your initials on it
If I’d wanted to know your name I would have been listening when you shook my hand just now, instead of wondering if it’s ok to take another smoked duck canapé. Crests only please.
Never take it off
This one comes from personal experience. I once decided to go a day without mine in order to impress a girl and silence some goading school children. It was disastrous. My left arm, used to a heftier ballast, kept rising up of its own accord. I looked like I had rigor mortis, or at the very least a lot of polite questions. Within 5 minutes I’d accidentally hailed down a cab and, too embarrassed to say anything, found myself on course for Lewisham.
The worst thing was, I wasn’t really fooling anyone. Any keen observer would have sniffed me out via the distinctive oval tanline left upon my little finger (Ibiza, Mexico and an impromptu long weekend in Sri Lanka). Yes, the mark will be upon me until the day I die, or at the very least until I stop going on so many bloody holidays.
No double stacking with a wedding ring
You can wear a wedding ring or a signet ring: not both. Just one of those rules I’m afraid, mate, and by the way when’s the wedding and does she have any pretty friends?
Wear it on your left hand
This stops it scraping against the slate whilst you’re writing on a blackboard (if you’re a particularly affected teacher or something) and prevents it getting tangled in the toweling grip of your Babolat. And remember: when Bodo’s finally burns down, they’ll identify the boys in the rubble not by their dental records but by the crest of the ring on their left hand.
Most importantly, take pride in it
Some chaps take their signet rings off when walking in alien postcodes. Others put a plaster over theirs just before a Tinder date. A friend of mine even turned his inward during a recent job interview for fear of rejection: a doubly pointless act when you consider that his uncle owns the company. Fools, all. Have no shame in your signet ring. Take pride in this quirk of antiquity.
I say: ‘shake what your mama gave ya.’ And my mama gave me a signet ring. And a particularly weak jaw line. But for Christ sake, don’t shake that.