Unless you’re studiously avoiding looking at your diary, you’ll know that 2016 is a leap year. The 29th of February is traditionally the day that ladies are ‘allowed’ to propose to their boyfriends so we couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a little look at this tradition and mention a few things to think about if you’re planning to take matters into your own hands and pop the question yourself this leap year.
Just a few years ago, a survey* was published saying that almost half of British men would say yes if their partner proposed. It’s also estimated that around 10% of women in relationships consider proposing on 29th February and, in this age of ‘he for she’ gender equality, we’re all for that.
So, the good news is that men actually like the thought of being asked – 36% said they’d love not to have the pressure of the proposal on them and a quarter thought that the traditional role of men always asking for a woman’s hand in marriage is outdated.
But, where did the Leap Day proposal tradition come from? Well, it began in Ireland in the 12th Century where women were given permission to propose on 29th February as this was believed to balance out the power between men and women. If the woman’s proposal was rejected, the chap in question had to present her with new gloves so no one could see she wasn’t wearing a ring! This moved on a bit in Britain and by the 19th Century, men were actually fined for refusing a proposal.
Happily now, gloves and fines are unnecessary and instead, ladies can definitely show their romantic side by proposing on Leap Day without too much fear. But, what are the best ways to propose to your man and what do you need to think about before?
As with all proposals, only ask for the right reasons and if you’re in a state of loved-up bliss, you won’t have anything to worry about. Once you’ve made the decision to do the deed and you know your relationship is in a good place, it’s time to get planning.
Now we know that sometimes men can feel a little bit odd about really going for full-on romance for their proposal so when the roles are reversed, you might need to tone down those romantic flourishes if you want him to be comfortable. Showing someone what they mean to you is all about making them feel good, not just doing what you want. So, if they love gaming, sports, fine wines or adrenaline activities, you might need to bring these into your plans to make it memorable for them.
We know it’s a big moment but it also needs to be enjoyable for your both. Trying to make your proposal a huge and serious thing is just stressful for you both so go easy on the schmaltz. A walk in a favourite place or a table at a restaurant he’s always wanted to visit are good ideas or just put something great together at home. He’ll appreciate the effort and feel comfortable which is definitely what you want.
Lastly, remember that this will probably come as a big surprise to your man and he might not react quite how you expected or hoped he would. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to marry you or that he’s not deep-down thrilled with being asked, it just means you’ve done your job so well and surprised him to the extent that he had no idea he was about to be proposed to!
If you’re planning to pop the question this Leap Day – good luck!
*survey by PopCap