I’m planning to propose to my boyfriend this leap year. I’m proposing that he earns another £10,000 and loses a stone. But marriage? Hell, no.
I don’t know why, in the age of equality, society still endorses women going down on bended knee on one solitary day every four years. The internet blames it on St Bridget, who in the 5th century allegedly complained that some men took too damn long to propose. It was St Patrick, though, who came up with the wheeze of granting us special dispensation to propose every 29 February.
But to propose on this day is hideously outdated. It is tacky. It is tabloid. It is a love cliché. It’s like getting married on Valentine’s Day, or like showering your amore with pink heart-shaped helium balloons and packets of Milk Tray. Like anything romantic done in a manner dictated by convention, it is the opposite of passion — it is pre-planned japes. It also smacks of exhibitionism. It is akin to getting down on one knee at the top of the Eiffel Tower or popping the question via flashmob. It has all the nauseating showmance of a Richard Curtis film. Gestures barely acceptable in Hollywood movies are absolutely never OK in real life. My own nightmare is of some chap proposing to me on the London Eye, me saying ‘no’, and then being trapped in a Perspex pod of awkwardness for an hour.
The very notion that women must wait patiently for four years to pass and 29 February to arrive depends upon the assumption that we’re not allowed to propose whenever the hell we want. The leap year proposal is a myth perpetuated to keep women in their place. Women do not need one ‘special day’. If we want to get married we should just ask.