Jen: Ladies, gather your (red) petticoats and get ready to Leap!

In case you hadn’t noticed, 2012 is a leap year or, to be fancy about it, an intercalary or bissextile year. And gentlemen, you know what that means, don’t you? It means that scattered across the world today there are women who are eagerly taking matters of a matrimonial nature into their own feminine hands.

So, mister, how about it?

In fact, to put a figure on it, recent research by PopCap has discovered that traditional values are gradually being thrown out of the window and as proof, 10% of women in the UK are planning to take the plunge and pop the question on Leap Day – that’s today – this year.

And it seems that the men aren’t complaining. According to the research, nearly 36% admitted they would like to be asked as it takes the proposal pressure off them. In fact, over a quarter of men said the traditional route up the aisle is outdated – though us women seem less convinced with only 13% in agreement.

Hold on, I’m confused.
For those in need of a little lesson in folklore, traditionally, Leap Day (29th February) is the one day that comes along every four years when a woman can turn the tables and ask for her partner’s hand in marriage.

The folks in the know reckon the tradition started in Ireland in the 12th century where it was seen as a way of balancing the traditional roles of men and women.

According to this tradition, if a woman’s proposal was rejected, the man had to buy her 12 pairs of gloves to hide her hand from the embarrassment of not wearing an engagement ring. Supposedly, a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland – at the grand old age of just five at the time – required that fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man; compensation ranged from a kiss to £1 to a silk gown, in order to soften the blow.

Of course we don’t all buy into it. In Greece marriage in a leap year is considered to be particularly unlucky and let’s face it, they haven’t exactly had much in the way of good luck lately so my guess is that any sniff of a possible proposal today may is likely to keep Greek men firmly out of sight today.

So what does all this mean for the Beau Dacious ladies? Well, just for the craic (it is an Irish tradition after all) the thought did cross our minds to approach devilishly handsome strangers in inappropriate – or at least unexpected – locations today and say “How about it?”. As a Beau Dacious friend did point out, we’ve caught enough frogs the traditional route in the past so who’s to say standing on Waterloo Bridge accosting strangers might not yield better results? What do you reckon? Should we do it? Send us your comments.

Now, where can we find scarlet petticoats? Wouldn’t want to flaunt the early 18th century tradition that proclaimed a woman priming herself to deliver a proposal should wear just such an item – fair warning, if you will.

This post was written by Jen. Meet all the Beau Dacious ladies on our Beau Hunters page.


One thought on “Jen: Ladies, gather your (red) petticoats and get ready to Leap!

  1. I’m too late to vote but i hope you DID IT! So to add my tuppence for what it’s worth i proposed to my fiancee (i know, really lame) via a cupcake (we’d already chosen our rings) and a letter that i folded in such a way that he read a little message with each turn of the paper. It opened out into a large poster saying ‘will you marry me’. After watching him mess up the turning of the paper (he did it all the wrong way which involved me shouting ‘noooo that’s not the next message!) i threw myself on one knee and he said yes then ate the cupcake i had in my hands. My other friend properly proposed to her boyfriend of two years and he said YES. She bought coasters with letters on them which spelt the question (they enjoy scrabble). Cute.

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