By Tamera Adams

In Egypt, just like in the United States, there's a shortage of men who have the financial means to marry and an abundance of women searching for Mr. Right. But, for Egyptian men, the phrase "financial means" refers to one's ability to purchase the wedding jewelry. American men, who are expected to provide that and then some, are thinking "if only I could be so lucky."

According to a article, unemployment rates, inflation and low wages in Egypt have led to a change in the ritualistic practice of giving "shabka," a gift of gold jewelry that serves as a form of financial insurance. Poor couples in love are now renting shabka, which has left goldsmiths in dire straits, gold demand low and Egypt's image as the "home of gold lovers" slightly tarnished.

In the United States, jewelry is rented to pay homage to fashion rather than to the bride's value. American brides lease their own diamond necklaces, earrings and bracelets from select jewelers and bridal boutiques. Sorry guys, you're still expected to actually purchase both the engagement and wedding rings with diamonds included.

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