Don’t Ask, Don’t Get: Leap Year Thoughts

I’m going to tell you a story about my mum and dad. The seventies were coming to an end, and they’d been together for a while. Marriage was on the cards but my dad was dragging his feet.

1980 was a leap year. My mum, being a strong willed, independent woman told my father that if he hadn’t popped the question by the 28th of February that she would on the 29th, when tradition allows women to propose.

My dad, being an old fashioned kinda man, couldn’t stand this idea and so he asked first. They got married in ’81 and thirty five years later are still happily married.

My dad and I are similar in a few ways (crap at DIY, fond of bad jokes and Clint Eastwood movies) but this is one way we differ, as I would have either (a) called her bluff or (b) waited until the 28th and then asked.

Personally I think that as it’s 2016 we should ditch the idea that women have to wait four years for a window of opportunity to ask, and should be able to propose anytime they want.

I suppose some women do propose now, thanks to marriage equality. Or do lesbians hold that tradition as well and both wait four years to propose?

What struck me as odd is that there’s still an issue around it and that women proposing is still viewed in a weird way?

Sure, we’ve come a long way from when Leap Day was seen as when women would “trap” men into marriage, as though no man could have said no.

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The idea of the man proposing seems to be tied in with all these other traditions and ideas which are a bit sexist.

Firstly, I think nowadays some would view it as a bit desperate. The stereotype being that women are all chasing a diamond ring and don’t want to ask lest they appear too eager and scare off the man.

I think, generally speaking, women think about weddings more, but I think that’s because the wedding industry is geared to them.

As a groom-to-be I’ve noticed that people are surprised I take an interest and should just sit back and let MWF sort stuff until I have to put on the suit, tidy my hair and say “I do”. The idea that I have a say and am involved seems to genuinely surprise people and some have even said that I shouldn’t “butt in” as it’s MWF’s wedding.

The second reason I think people have a problem with it is because of warped ideas of masculinity, that somehow the woman asking is her taking control and “wearing the trousers”, which sees both halves of the couple mocked.

I always find this idea that one partner bosses things a bit weird, as surely it’s a team thing and you alternate calling the shots? In our relationship the metaphorical trousers are like my t-shirts and hoodies, in that both of us wear them (seriously, being in a relationship is like living with a clothes thief). And if the woman is calling the shots is that a bad thing?

I’d take the mockery over being proposed to, as it means I get to forego asking. Even though marriage had been discussed and I was fairly sure of the answer, I was still nervous last August when I popped the question.

What if switching it from a hypothetical to a real question changed MWF’s view? What if actually, seriously thinking about being Mrs Page freaked her out? You can never be 100% sure.

And it’s not just the answer, it’s working out how to phrase it, or if the ring is okay. Proposing is not without stress.

Maybe that’s why so many women want to keep the tradition? They don’t have to put themselves out there and risk rejection? The tradition leaves them free of stress and nobody expects them to drop a month’s wage on a ring (seriously, a whole month’s?!)

The ring is another guy thing. He gets it for the girl who wears it while he goes around with bare fingers, it seems a bit like showing the woman is “taken” and its taken on far too much significance and there are some daft perspectives on the whole ring thing, but that’s a whole other blog.

When a woman proposes does she get a male engagement ring? Or just bring one for herself to put on if she’s successful?

I wouldn’t mind if I’d been proposed to. I could have heard a short speech about how much I was loved. I wouldn’t have felt bad or less manly because doing so would seem a bit stupid.

Ladies, if you want to propose to your fella, go ahead. Ask him to be your husband, guys are wimps and have to psyche themselves up to do it. If you’re tired of waiting, take the bull by the horns.

If he gets uptight about it that’s his problem, and he needs to get over his issues about masculinity and get busy wedding planning. And anyone gives you grief can go hang. What have you done? Taken control of your life? How dare you?!

Thanks for reading and congratulations to anyone who got engaged today or in the last few weeks.

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Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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2 Comments on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Get: Leap Year Thoughts”

  1. First- did not know about this tradition AT ALL. Second- so refreshing to read about this topic from a man’s point of view. bravo.


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