So today is finally here, the 29th of February, where we’re reminded of that oh-so- rare opportunity for us girls to pop the question to that special person in our life.
So why is February 29th so significant as the one day, every four years, we’re ‘granted permission’ to propose? According to the history books (also known as google) here is how this tradition started and why:
The tradition dates back hundreds of years, to when the leap year was not recognised by English law; the day was simply “leapt over” and ignored. Since it had no legal status, formal traditions did not apply on this day and consequently, women who were not content to wait for a proposal took advantage of this anomaly and popped the question themselves. It was also thought that since leap year corrected the discrepancy between the calendar year (365 days) and the time it takes for the earth to complete one orbit of the sun (365 days and 6 hours), it was an opportunity for women to correct a tradition that was one-sided and unfair. Go ladies of yore!
Thankfully, rules of courtship are quite different these days and much less strict. When asked, most girls would prefer that the guys go down on a bended knee; mainly because of traditional values and the romanticism of the proposal itself, it would seem…and we wouldn’t want to be associated with ‘nagging him into it’ now, would we?
The proposal of marriage is a tradition that we’ve come to adore and whilst we’re all for equality, there are some traditions that still have their perfect place in modern society. Relationships come in many guises. Couples that have been together forever, have the house, the kids, the dog and the X-box – often the proposal doesn’t even get a look-in. More a conversation that just took place one evening, rather a matter-of-fact “Well, I suppose we could, couldn’t we?”
I know of a gentleman who’d been in a relationship with a lady for a few years and on 29th February, sent her a card in the post saying simply…”The answer is YES…if you’re asking!” They were married later that same year.
So ladies, we’re constantly surrounded by messages of empowerment, equality and if a man can do-it/have-it/want-it…then so can we! and the same can be said of the marriage proposal. In my job, one of the questions I ask brides-to-be at viewings is ‘when did you get engaged?’ (gotta love a love story!) closely followed by ‘was it a complete surprise?’ Quite often the response is an emphatic yes…with the addition of ‘well, we’ve been together for so long, I was kinda hoping it would happen soon’
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with – why wait for him to propose? and second to that, certainly don’t wait for this elusive date on the calendar once every four years! Time to turn the tables – how do you think you’d envisage the perfect proposal to your partner? Would it be a conversation that just evolved one day, or a spectacular display of your undying love?
Stopping to consider this for myself, I can only imagine the nerves and anxiety that our male counterparts go through during this highly charged life-changing moment. I’m not sure what my proposal would be like. I’d rather hope that it would be a quiet, gentle affair that allowed me the confidence to go for it, with enough re-assurance that the outcome would be a positive one. No fireworks. No aeroplanes drawing heart-shapes in the sky – just a simple ‘will you?’ Maybe that would be about all I could manage!
Ladies, I wish you the best of luck in all your endeavours…xx