Leap Year Proposal - The Lady’s Privilege
The Lady’s Privilege.
Not unlike Valentine’s Day the origin of the leap year proposal is obscure, with various historical figures from countries all over Europe taking the credit dating as far back as the 5th century.
The most popular story originates from Ireland.
After receiving numerous complaints from single women that their suitors were too shy to propose, this well-known story suggests St. Bridget of Kildare, an Irish nun, asks St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, to grant permission to women allowing them to pop the question. At first St. Patrick only grants permission for once every 7 years, but at the nun’s persistence he concedes to once every leap day. The story continues that Bridget immediately dropped to one knee and popped the question to Patrick. He refused the proposal, kissed her cheek and offered her a silk dress to soften the blow of rejection. This part of the story is the basis for the Irish tradition that should a man refuse a woman’s leap-day proposal he must give her a gift (traditionally a silk dress) in return.
Another story originates from Scotland.
In 1288, Queen Margaret of Scotland, passed a law allowing women to propose on a leap-year day. The working theory being that the leap day had no legal status, and therefore it was acceptable to break from the custom of a man popping the question. But there was one stipulation to the law when it was passed: The proposing woman had to wear a red petticoat to warn her intended suitor that she was planning to propose.
So whether you choose to believe that St. Patrick granted the leap-day proposal permission only to establish a national drinking holiday barely 17 days later; or that a 5 year old Queen Margaret dictated that only a red petticoat wearing woman was legally allowed to pop the question on an ‘illegal’ day the theme of all the stories remain the same. One woman taking the leap to create a happily ever after for generations of women to come.
It would be forgiven, if a person were to think a tradition; as old as 1500 years; would cultivate a gender-reversed proposal as a social norm free of judgment. It would also be forgiven, if a person were to think that in an age of stay-at-home dads and G.I. Janes; shared household responsibilities and dual income families; that a woman dropping to her knee to propose would not warrant a debate on its merits. Sadly gender equality does not extend to proposing to your man aka “The Lady’s Privilege”. We asked a couple of ladies for their take on “The Lady’s Privilege”, below are their responses:
“Absolutely, I can’t see why not. I asked him out initially so asking him to marry me would be fitting”
“I haven’t really thought of it, but I think if I knew we both wanted the same thing we would probably just mutually decide it was time to get married, proposals are a bit outdated aren’t they?”
“Does that mean he must take my surname?”
“No. It is his role to fulfill end of debate.”
“I grew up in a different time, so it would have been frowned upon if I had asked my husband to marry me. But I love the freedom ladies have today to be able to choose whether they want to pop the question first. I do not believe I would have had the courage as a young lady to do it myself, but certainly I would have loved the option to choose not to.”
“Although my husband’s proposal was not the most romantic, (he proposed to me while fixing the lawn mower), I wouldn’t change it for the world. Because just the fact that he chose me makes the whole proposal romantic.”
“How would you propose to a man, on one knee? Surely not! I always thought of myself as an independent woman, not sure if I am that independent though.”
“I actually did propose to my hubby. It was fun and nerve-wrecking, I felt like that song from the Eminem movie “Lose Yourself” you know ….his palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy”… but it was worth it. He never expected it, but loved it. I invited him over to my place for date night and cooked him his favourite meal. Granted I burnt the chicken slightly, but give me a break I was really nervous. After the dinner I suggested we play strip poker and that he should put as much clothes on as possible as I am really good with cards. I pretended to go to the bedroom to fetch him some extra stuff to wear only to reappear with the ring for him to add to his arsenal. I didn’t go on one knee but it was a real kick to see his face when he saw his ring.”
So will you be taking the leap this year?