A friend of mine got proposed to this weekend - the whole works - complete with churches, poetry, rings, knee guards, movie extras standing by to hear what she would say, etc. (she accepted, of course; congratulations, S! this one's for you).
She was blissfully happy about it  all weekend, didn't have a second of doubt. Then she got to work this morning and was set upon by the cooing aunty brigade, who surrounded her with the glee of sacrificial priests contemplating their next victim, and proceeded to drown her in a sea of inanities and giggles. Twelve hours of doing the yes, it was beautiful, yes, he's a wonderful man, no, it's not a big deal, no, it doesn't mean anything, yes, we have told my parents, no, haven't set a date, no, no, he's not my fiance, he's my boyfriend, I mean, yes, he is my fiance, but no, he's not, etc. and she was beginning to wonder what she'd gotten herself into.
While I sympathise with her plight, I think the trouble is that she's going at this all wrong. If you plan to be engaged and go around wearing a ring but don't want people to make a big deal out of it or spend hours coyly teasing you about it, you've got to be more CREATIVE than simply telling them the truth (whoever said honesty is the best policy could only have been an insurance salesman; in my experience the truth is usually the least effective solution to anything, a clumsy tool to be used only when everything else fails).
So here are the 10 Best Ways to Make People Stop Badgering You about Your Engagement:
1. Tell people it's not really an engagement ring, you just use it to keep your afternoon dose of cocaine in. (Tell them you could arrange some for them if they're interested).
2. Find the grand-aunty of them all - you know - the one who acts all maternal and caring but is actually the worst gossip and take her aside and break down into tears and 'confess' how there's no fiance and you just bought the ring yourself because you couldn't stand being the only person who has no one. Make her promise not to tell anyone. Next day, watch as people make an effort NOT to notice the ring on your finger.
3. When people ask about the ring, tell them it was his grandmother's. Describe in gushing detail how he chopped the old cow's hand off, took the ring off it, knelt down, put the ring on your finger and quoted Shakespeare to you, while all the while the old woman lay twitching in a pool of her own blood. Emphasise how romantic it was. Don't forget to mention the moonlight.
4. Say "I know, isn't it wonderful. And he bought me this just for kissing him. Just think about what I could get out of him after we have sex."
5. Say "Ya, you know, he has this thing for rings. Personally, I would have preferred handcuffs. So much more useful. So much more apt. But you can't expect a man to think of these things, can you?"
6. Spend long hours in the ladies room talking to your ring, always referring to it as 'my precious'. If anyone tries looking at it, snarl at them.
7. Say "Oh, so that's what it is! I was wondering what the man was mumbling about. It's so hard to hear him when he goes down on his knees like that."
8. Use the Sarah Silverman approach. Tell people how the stone is a very rare gem that's found only at the base of the spine of Ethiopian 6 month olds. Like diamonds, only with that wonderful baby smell.
9. Say, "You like it? Here, take it, it's yours. No, really, I want you to have it. I've got plenty back at home."
10. Use it as a ventroliquist ring. Have long conversations with it where you tell it how much you love it, and it tells you how crazy it is about you.
 Aren't people in love simply intolerable?!