Coming up soon is a rare date when girls can break the tradition and propose to their other half. Occurring only in leap years, every 4 years, there is one in 2020 on February 29th.
A leap day was added into the Julian Calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in around 46BC, taking into account that the earth takes 365 ¼ days to orbit the sun, and it was formalised in the 16thCentury with the addition of a rule that takes away leap years when the year is divisible by 100 but not 400 (eg 1800, 1900) to even out some discrepancies. However, there is a particular mythology that has arisen around leap days.
Yep, it’s become a tradition that women are allowed to propose to their man on leap day. This tradition apparently began in Ireland, where 29th February is known as Bachelor’s Day. This supposedly originated in a deal that St Brigid struck with St Patrick, to allow women to propose on one day in every four years, rather than the other way round. It’s still a long time to wait though!
Queen Victoria apparently proposed to Prince Albert, which is quite understandable really. You’ve got to consider Albert’s internal monologue: “I like this girl, but she’s Queen, and I don’t want to seem presumptuous by proposing, which is effectively asking myself to be king”.
Also Zsa Zsa Gabor claimed to have proposed to all nine of her husbands. (You can have a moment here to think about having nine husbands!)
However, this seems rather antiquated, in this day and age.
Why shouldn’t women propose?
And there will be some women who wish to propose to other women – so we say, go with whatever feels right to you!
So, here is a woman’s guide to proposing.
First, think about rings. Do you want to present your other half with a ring for them to wear, or will you be proposing with a ring you have chosen for yourself to wear?
If you’re presenting a man with a ring that he will wear himself, be very sure that it’s something he’s comfortable with. Men are increasingly wearing engagement rings, again breaking with tradition, but it’s not quite mainstream yet.
Choosing a ring for yourself is a great way to ensure that you get the exact ring that you want. The media is peppered with stories of women who dislike the ring their fiancé has chosen for them, for reasons of style, size, cost, origins and every other conceivable reason why you might not embrace an engagement ring.
The other small issue that you might need to bear in mind is that your other half may also be planning a proposal. Consider what you would do if you propose and he gets pouty because he was also planning to propose soon. (You may be proposing because he’s not proposed for such a long time and you’ve got fed up with waiting, but he may well be getting round to it!)
Secondly, think about how to propose. The guidance for guys holds true here as well – make sure it’s a proposal that is tailored to appeal to the proposee, not to you.
Simply asking your man to marry you without a ring holds fewer potential pitfalls than proposing with a ring. How many stories of lost rings, dropped rings, eaten-by-the-dog rings have you seen in the media? If you’re going with a ring, make sure it’s safe, and you know where it is at all times.
Thirdly, don’t over-plan it. Consider this a small-scale practice for planning your wedding, where the details of what, when, how and who can so-easily overwhelm the WHY. You are proposing to the person you love most in the whole world and the little details mustn’t get in the way of that. Yes, by all means get a camera or a friend lined up to record your moment, but if the light’s not perfect, do it anyway.
You’ve done the hard part – you’ve found the perfect person to share the rest of your life with, you just need to marry them.
We wish you the very best of luck ladies!