Tomorrow Is Leap Day; Are You Ready for Some Role-Reversal Proposals?

In the 2010 romantic comedy Leap Year, talented real estate "stager" Anna Brady, played by Amy Adams, is forced to take extreme measures after her cardiologist boyfriend fails to produce an engagement ring after four years together.


Invoking the Irish tradition that empowers women to pop the question on Leap Day, she travels to Dublin to track down her fiancé at a business conference in time to deliver a marriage proposal on February 29.

Yes, tomorrow is Leap Day, a romantic 24 hours dedicated to women who feel that have waited far too long for their men to pop the question.

In a recent survey of more than 10,000 respondents, the UK-based men's lifestyle and event-planning website asked women if they were willing to propose to their partners. Exactly 57% declared they would be willing to do it, and interestingly 76% of men agreed that they should.

When asked about the best day to propose, 52% of the women chose Leap Day, compared to 25% who picked Valentine's Day.

The concept of women proposing to men on Leap Day is rooted in 5th century Ireland where St. Brigid of Kildare hammered out an arrangement with St. Patrick to permit women to propose to men on a single day every four years.

Irish monks brought this tradition to Scotland, and legend states that in 1288, the Scotts passed a law that allowed women to propose on Leap Day. If the man refused the proposal, he would have to pay a fine, ranging from a kiss, to a silk dress or a pair of gloves. In upper-class circles, the fine for a proposal denial was 12 pairs of gloves. Presumably, the gloves would hide the shame of not wearing an engagement ring.

Leap Day proposals eventually found their way to England, where the date of February 29 uniquely held no legal status. The English reasoned that traditional customs held no status on that day either. Thus, women were free to reverse the unfair custom that permitted only men to propose marriage.

Leap Day proposals are now celebrated in North America and around the world. So, gentlemen, if you've been dragging your feet regarding a proper proposal, you may be in for a February 29th that will truly change your life.

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