TRADITION DICTATES THAT WOMEN CAN ASK MEN TO MARRY THEM ON FEBRUARY 29 IN A LEAP YEAR. A TRIUMPH FOR EQUALITY – OR A RECIPE FOR DISASTER? TWO WRITERS THRASH IT OUT
Catherine says: YES
When I was a little girl, I read Snow White and dreamed that one day I too would be kissed by a handsome prince and awake to a proposal of marriage and happily-ever-after.
Then I grew up and got real. What if the prince had commitment problems or was saving up to buy a property? As a passive woman who left her destiny up to fate, poor Snow White would have suffocated in her glass coffin or had to shack up permanently with the seven dwarves.
I don’t think there is anything desperate or emasculating about women proposing to men. I feel that if I ever meet Mr Right and want to pop the question, I’ll be able to hand him a ring box without him handing me his testicles. Then again, I’ve never been a girl who’s had the wedding dress picked out before the first-date appetisers arrive.
Call me crazy, but I think that if I’m lucky enough to find someone I want to spend the rest of my life with, the wedding process will be secondary.
I talk from experience as I’ve had a few marriage proposals. One boyfriend flew me to Paris, where he presented me with a huge diamond ring on a bed strewn with rose petals. Unfortunately, he was also insane. The setting was picture-perfect but the marriage would have been a total disaster.
There are probably men who would label a girl who takes a chance and pops the question as desperate. But I wouldn’t want to marry a small-minded man like that anyway.
I’m not sure that I would actually propose marriage myself, because I love surprises. But I’m not ruling anything out. If my crazy, roller-coaster love life has taught me anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. Hopefully the man of my dreams will have a similar life philosophy.
I’ve come a long way since I was the starry-eyed little girl eagerly devouring fairy tales. When I meet Mr Right I hope the idea of spending our lives together will evolve through discussion before either of us goes down on one knee. Especially if I’m wearing stilettos!”
Vest, says NO
Even though February 29 is just one day out of 1,461, it’s a dangerous precedent to set. If you’re considering asking your man to marry you on Friday, let me give you a word of advice: DON’T.
To start with, there is very little left that is solely ‘man’s work’.
There are women builders, women priests, women generals… before long I expect that science will make it possible for women to become sperm donors too, smashing down the last door that stands between men and obsolescence.
So as a courtesy, I ask you to leave us one last tradition: the act of question-popping.
And there’s a more pressing reason why you should not ask. After a certain period of time, men in long-term relationships simply stop listening to their girlfriends’ questions.
In the interest of a bit of peace and quiet, men learn to say ‘yes dear’, regardless of what is being asked. For example:
Her: Have you taken out the rubbish?Him: Yes dear.Her: Will you clean my car this weekend?Him: Yes dear.Her: Do you think Freud was right when he said that conscience is the internal perception of the rejection of a particular wish operating within us?Him: Yes dear.
These men have no idea what they’re agreeing to. They just want to watch the football/go to the pub/finish reading the newspaper. In peace. Add ‘will you marry me?’ to women’s repertoire of questions and you risk relationship carnage.
Men will find themselves facing a lifetime of commitment with no way out and no idea how they got there. They will feel trapped, resentful and confused, and that’s no way to start a life together.
If your boyfriend hasn’t asked you to marry him, it’s not because he’s lost the power of speech or he’s waiting for the price of diamonds to drop or because you’re so beautiful he gets tongue-tied whenever he looks at you.
It’s because he’s simply not sure he wants to marry you. I’m not saying he doesn’t want to marry you ever. I’m not saying it hasn’t crossed his mind. I’m just saying that, at the moment, he’s not sure.
So save yourself the embarrassment and fight the urge to propose to your boyfriend this week.”