Note: the following joke is very funny in German, but doesn’t translate well into English.
Was sind die drei Lagen auf der Bratsche?
Erste Lage, Notlage, und Niederlage.
(What are the three positions of the viola?
First position, emergency, and defeat.)
What are the three rings in a (wo)man’s life?
The engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering.
(I couldn’t figure out whether “man” or “woman” was more correct, from either a political or humor standpoint. First, I think it’s important to establish that the joke means that suffering is caused by the wedding ring, or else, it’s just saying that suffering, wedding rings, and engagement rings are three critical and universal elements of the human condition, which I don’t think it is.
I think the old concept was that men felt trapped after marriage, but I mean, wouldn’t the woman feel just as trapped? Or what if the marriage was open? I did think about putting “person,” but that seemed weird. I think this sort of joke relies too heavily on gender stereotypes to de-specify.)