Today is a rather unsettling day. Not only is it a day that only comes around once every four years, but it's a day that women up and down the country will be proposing marriage to their boyfriends. The tradition, which originated in Ireland in the 12th century, is seen as the one day that a woman can propose to her boyfriend (and he isn't allowed to say no).
According to a recent study, almost half of unmarried women would take advantage of a leap year and propose to their partner – although two thirds would still expect their partner to buy them a ring. The same study found that three quarters of men nationwide would have ‘no problem’ with being proposed to by their girlfriends. Around 10% of women are said to be planning to pop the question this year, and, unsurprisingly, the trend is increasing amid a fall in the values of tradition.
As much as I'm compelled to feel empowered by this, I really can’t empathise with these women. My leap day doubts were further strengthened as, this morning, the first article I read on the subject told the story of a woman proposing to her boyfriend by writing it across a Shepherd’s Pie. Do I need to further argue my point?
This isn't an equality thing - I don't have some deeply ingrained belief that women don’t deserve to dictate where a relationship is going and only men do. It just seems a bit odd.
No matter how little attention you paid in biology lessons, it will come as no surprise to you that men have more testosterone than women and are biologically and physically different. They're manly. Men are physically larger than women, their brains are wired differently and this can account for the balance in every relationship. These differences will always remain, despite improvements in equality. The increasing success and prominence of women in business and other jobs that were once deemed ‘masculine’, is irrelevant. Women are still innately feminine, and, in my opinion, should be proposed to.
I'm a little surprised at how quiet the media seems to be on this viewpoint – the usually opinionated Guardian just has a cutesy, tedious article detailing one woman’s proposal story . I know for a fact that many women will have been cringing along with me today, and vow never to be the one who proposes.
There is some irony in the fact that many women who stand up proudly and say that they took the matter in their own hands and bravely ignored ‘the rules’ will probably be ‘given away’ on their wedding day by their fathers.
I know that this sort of view is bordering on blasphemous coming from a female. But, to paraphrase Monica in Friends, 'there's a reason girls don't do this’.The only marriage I hope to make today is that between any woman planning on proposing and common sense. Most women dream of prince charming sweeping them off their feet and having the perfect wedding - so how is it that more and more women are being the romantic ones proposing? Call me old fashioned, but some things should be left to sex.