The Great Female Proposal Debate II

The most puzzling thing about a leap year is why we get an extra day in gloomy old February, rather than a bonus day of sunshine in July or August.

The second most puzzling thing is the ‘tradition’ that women can propose to men on 29 February.

The first documentation of this practice dates back to 1288, when Scotland supposedly passed a law that allowed women to propose marriage to the man of their choice in that year. And the chap had to
pay a fine to the woman in question if he said no ­ a kind of one off ‘testicle tax’ for presumably refusing the advances of a monstrous harridan.

Regardless, the whole idea that women can only propose to their beau once every 1,462 days seems somewhat outdated – even in Scotland.

To prove the point, a bit of old fashioned journalistic research was undertaken.

‘I see no reason why a woman can’t propose to a man,’ a (single) female friend writes. ‘That is of course if they want to be part of an anachronistic male tradition.’ Oh.

Less strident female friends are more ambivalent.  ‘I would quite happily propose. Although, it would be nice to be asked.’ Thanks for being so unequivocal.

Another independently minded party girl appears to be sitting on the same fence: ‘Of course women should propose if they want to. Though obviously, I would prefer to be asked.’

What about the boys?

‘I have no problem with whoever wants to propose,’ says a chap of some experience. ‘It’s kind of a bit silly that it only comes around once every four years, but I’m sure attitudes are changing somewhat, albeit slowly. It’s all down to getting the stones up to do it, whether you possess a pair or not.’

But then there is the small matter of the ring. Don’t most women want to get a huge rock as part of the whole ceremony?

‘Diamonds are over-rated,’ says a twice-divorced female friend, ‘Especially if you try to auction them second hand.’

Wow, is nothing sacred anymore?!

As someone who is not in any real danger of either popping the question or facing it (much to my mother’s perpetual disappointment), I wonder which situation I would like to face.

With the risk of sounding frightfully old-fashioned, I suspect that most chaps would still prefer to do the asking. We tend not to very good at being certain about anything much in life and plucking up the courage to pop the question must be a fairly good way of focusing the mind.

And surely it is easier to give an answer, than ask the question. Don’t women want the comfort of knowing that their chap has gone out on a limb to propose?

But then again, if a woman with whom I was crazy in love proposed to me, would I turn her down? I very much doubt it. So maybe it is simply male ego that demands we take control of the proposal situation.

But ladies, for every one of you that dreams of receiving the perfect marriage proposal, there is a chap out there to whom the moment of proposing means just as much.

So just be careful you are not depriving a boy of his dream moment by taking the initiative. He will of course forgive you for doing it ­ but then you knew that before you popped the question. Right?

Read Alice Dogruyol’s side of the story here.

Andrew Murray-Watson

Andrew is a former business journalist who jumped enthusiastically into PR about five years ago when he realised that the Independent canteen’s bacon rolls were not enough to keep him in newspapers. After ditching print media, he has spent two years working happily in Malaysia before returning to head up the Corporate division for Mission PR in Covent Garden. He now writes for fun, preferably using more than 140 characters at once.