February 29: get ready, ladies


This business of women proposing marriage on February 29.  Does anyone, anyone at all, take it remotely seriously?

You’d think not.  I mean, obviously it’s just a bit of a laugh, some humorous tradition that – personally – I doubt was ever more than that.

But already, this morning, I’ve read things that make me suspect that some people are taking it a little bit more seriously than it was ever intended.

Someone has even done the maths and worked out a formula.  See what you make of this, in which the writer claims that “Leap Years show we are 1,460 times more sexist than we realise.”

Eh?  No – surely sexism is assuming that women are stupid enough to think that marriage is arrived at by either partner “popping the question”?  In my experience, very few proposals come out of the blue.

More measured is this article in the Telegraph which pours much-deserved scorn on the apparently booming “tradition” of huge, public marriage proposals. (I’m not sure how “sexist” they are, but I’d agree they’re almost always irredeemably naff, with an undertone of bullying.  A sort of “how dare you say ‘no’ now that you can see all the trouble I have gone to.”  So yes, perhaps sexist in that sense.)

I tried to explain the leap-year tradition to my 13 year-old daughter yesterday.  She laughed.  “That’s a joke, surely?  Women can propose any time they like, can’t they?”  I was relieved a) to be able to reassure her ,and b) that she immediately understood the inherent absurdity of the idea.

Yet lurking in the Telegraph article is a faintly disturbing stat.  A third of women, apparently, think it’s perfectly fine for a woman to propose.

So who – and where – are the remaining two thirds who think it’s not?



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