Kelly Pegg: Would you take off your wedding ring on a night out?

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A friend of mine is planning a girls’ night out. She hasn’t had one in a very long time. As a mother of three she is mostly run off her feet so it will be the first time in a while that she’s got glammed up.

Sounds perfectly normal right? Everyone deserves a night out now again, especially when you’re a parent.

This particular friend however is considering taking off her wedding ring during the night out. The reasoning behind this is that she feels it would be nice to get some attention in a bid to boost her confidence.

When she came to me to ask for advice I was a bit taken aback by it all. “I feel like having a ring on my finger is like saying I’m owned by someone,” is what she told me.

There is a big part of me that does understand how she feels. It isn’t hard to lose your identity when you have been with the same person for a long time.

In every relationship – even the good ones – we neglect one another sometimes. The thrill of the chase and excitement that one does have at the start of a new relationship eventually dies once a long-term partnership is in full swing.

I don’t think anyone would deny that it isn’t a nice confidence booster to know someone other than your own partner finds you attractive.

My friend insists that this isn’t about cheating or instigating an affair but naturally is worried how her husband would feel if he found out. So I asked her how she would feel if the situation were reversed. “I don’t know, I don’t think he needs other women to fancy him. It’s not important to him anymore” was her answer.

Is it more important to women to feel desired by more than one person? For mums sometimes having children can really knock your body confidence. It did for me and from that I found the gym and training to be the only way to get it back. It makes me feel sexy if I’m strong and fit but there’s not always a simple answer for many mums out there.

I discussed this on my Saturday breakfast show and I was inundated with texts and calls from listeners. For a start it was lots of married men texting in saying how disgraceful my friend’s behaviour is. Some said if they caught their wife taking her ring off on a night out they would end the marriage. Others said she needed to find other ways to boost her confidence whilst some cheeky ones advised that men aren’t put off by wedding rings, if they fancy you they will let you know regardless of your marital status. I spoke to a recently divorced guy who likened my friend’s behaviour to being promiscuous.

Slowly though the reaction to this story started to change and there were some women brave enough to come on the phones and say they understood where my friend is coming from.

One lady talked about how having children destroyed her body confidence whilst another felt that perhaps it was the husbands fault for not making her feel better about herself physically. There have been times in my marriage where I have wanted to feel that other men fancy me. It is a nice confidence booster to have a handsome stranger stare at you in “that way” from time to time. It doesn’t mean I don’t love my husband but I’m only human and in reality I think the majority of people will agree that long-term relationships/marriages are hard. Finding someone else attractive or people other than your partner finding you attractive isn’t a form of cheating.

When you marry you make vows and you dedicate your life to someone else. Marriage and having children is the biggest commitment a person could make but like everything in life there will be wobbles along the way. Nothing is perfect or easy but I like to think real love is worth fighting for.

I support my friend’s decision, I believe in life we have to try and see where people are coming from before we jump in and judge them.

I wouldn’t take my ring off on a girls’ night out, but I’m not going to lie and say I’m perfect or my marriage is perfect.

Applause for Madonna

At the age of 58 Madonna is the queen of reinvention but she openly admits her journey hasn’t been easy.

She recently hit back at ageist and sexiest insults about her career stating she is sick of people asking her when she plans to retire. She quite rightly points out “Does someone ask Steven Spielberg why he’s still making movies? Hasn’t he had enough success?” It doesn’t matter what anyone says the fact is it is still harder for a woman to be accepted as successful. I speak from first hand experience here when I say Radio is still a sexist industry where there is a general consensus it’s male presenters who are the clever, talented ones and women are there to laugh at their jokes.

Ones like myself who defy this notion and have strong personalities are often seen as difficult and emotional.

Madonna looks amazing; she still has an incredible career yet when do you ever read a positive story about her in the media? Do you remember when the press kept publishing pictures of her arms? She workouts intensively to look like she does so instead of applauding her the press slam her.

Standing up to the online trolls

Being on the radio means sometimes you have to face the critics. Reading hurtful messages about yourself can be part of the job but I don’t think I will ever get used to it.

My skin continues to grow thicker but slowly, however I always take it to heart especially when some of the messages I read are hateful towards me. Last Thursday it was one of those occasions where the trolls came out to play and I was the subject of their hate. Reading on Facebook how one women ‘hated me because apparently I think I’m better than everyone else’ then turned into another woman writing how she also hated me and couldn’t stand it when I talked about my daughter or husband on the radio.

When I write or talk on the radio I’m an honest and open person who isn’t afraid to say what I think. I welcome discussion and debate and it’s absolutely healthy for people not to always agree with me. I respect other people’s opinions and values even if they’re not the same as my own. What I do not respect is people being spiteful. Hiding behind a computer screen and typing hateful things about a person they have never met is just vile. The word ‘hate’ is very powerful, it’s a horrible word and one that possesses nothing but negative connotations. How can anyone hate someone they have never met? It would be a far better use of time to learn to love and accept everyone.

Temple Mill, Marshall Street, Holbeck, Leeds.

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