It’s the 29 February, a date when, according to tradition, women can propose to their partners. Personally I couldn’t think of anything more embarrassing. Call me old fashioned and anti-feminist but this is definitely one of the roles in life assigned to men, unless you think your man is lacking in confidence to do it himself.
Leap years were introduced by Julius Caesar over 2000 years ago. According to an old Irish legend, St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men every four years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how leap years balances the calendar. Bridget is said to have been annoyed at the length of time women had to wait for a man to ask for their hand in marriage. Upon debating this with St Patrick, he told her that women could from then on propose on the leap year. The first documented instance of women proposing on February 29th is in 13th century Scotland, where a law was passed that decreed that any man refusing a proposal on the leap year must pay a fine, which could range from a kiss, right through to a silk dress or, most commonly, a pair of gloves.
There is though a strong case for women to use the tradition of February 29th to propose. We women can waste so much time thinking, “When is he going to propose to me?” and creating lots of expectations. If you want something done, you can go out there and do it yourself. But I’m not so sure. I like the idea of a man getting down on one knee and acting all romantic because I’m a hearts and flowers, slushy romantic type. Let’s face it, it just isn’t romantic unless it’s the man proposing. That’s just the way it is. So the unmarried woman in a long-term relationship is expected to remain in a state of uncertainty, panicking over whether or not she’ll be left on the shelf. It’s worth noting that she might not actually want to get off the shelf, but that fact is immaterial.
There is something profoundly sad about a woman proposing. If the man really wanted to marry her he’d do it himself. He knows it’s his job and he doesn’t expect the woman to do it. It smacks of desperation for women to steam ahead and propose. Bear in mind as well men are more cautious about marriage than us women. They have to be in the right ‘place’ to think about this next, scary stage in your relationship. They want to feel secure in their career and finances. If you’ve had the marriage discussion and he’s said he wants to wait you won’t change how he feels by taking the role away from him. Give him time. There’s a reason why he’s not proposed!
The woman proposing could also set a dangerous precedence for the future. He’ll expect you to take the lead on planning the wedding too and we all know how stressful weddings can be. With your newfound equality where will it stop? Next he’ll be expecting you to buy him roses on Valentine’s.
By proposing to him you might also spoil any plans he has to propose to you. Do men like the role? I wouldn’t know. I’ve had 7 proposals in all and none of these men have been asked to fill in the feedback questionnaire.
So ladies give your proposal a miss this Leap year. And if he hasn’t proposed by the next Leap year he never will, in truth and so you will have nothing to lose. But if you are anything like me, with my poor record of making relationships last you’ll be over in four years anyway, so worry not!
I’m the author of ‘The Catholic Woman’s Dying Wish.’ It’s the alternative to traditional romance! It was NUMBER 1 on Amazon yesterday in its category!