It’s that time of the year when the spotlight is on relationships. Valentine’s Day has recently passed, while Leap Years always spark discussion around women proposing marriage.
The topic of love lost and found is amplified through the airwaves, television, and the internet.
Irish folklore says that one St Brigid of Kildare bitterly complained to St Patrick that women had to wait far too long for men to propose. St Patrick responded by making a decree that women could propose on this one day in February, every fourth year.
And it is said that in some upper class European societies, denial of a Leap Year proposal obligated the recipient to buy 12 pairs of gloves to hide her shame at not having a ring to wear.
Chortle we might at such quaint silliness but, even today, despite the radical changes in marriages over 50 years, such as the putative bride likely supporting herself and indeed often living with her partner, there is still a prevalent norm that women must wait to be asked.