Single women: it’s okay to look before you leap

Can’t believe I almost let Leap Day go by without making some mention of the only holiday that actively encourages women to proposition men. Oh wait, that’s propose to men. Gosh, I need to get those two straight one of these days. ; )

I actually wrote a column about this venerable holiday back in 2008 when I was doing the Single Shot column for the dearly-departed Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  The holiday (and the column) both came out on the heels of an infamous story in The Atlantic by Lori Gottlieb, entitled “Marry Him! The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.” Here’s how it starts:

Happy Leap Day, everyone, especially all you single women.

Whether you know it or not, Feb. 29 is your special holiday, the one day every four years when you’re “allowed” to propose to a man.

And, no, I’m not kidding.

The whole thing actually started as a joke, back in the fifth century. As legend has it, St. Bridget asked St. Patrick if there could be one day out of the year when women could legitimately propose to men and he chose Leap Day. From then on, it has become what you might call a backhanded holiday, proffering a bit of independence for women but mainly poking fun at their predilection for wedlock.

Leap Day postcards from the early 20th century are rife with images of nervous bachelors being pursued by wart-nosed old maids and portly matrons, each with a hungry bridal gleam in her eye. “Help, they’re after me!” shouts a man being chased by a desperate female with one grossly oversized hand. “Rope him now or never!” reads another featuring a lasso-wielding bride on horseback.

Although they’re pretty horrible, these musty old stereotypes are also kind of a hoot. Except when you stumble across one in a current publication, such as The Atlantic, which is where I read Lori Gottlieb’s retrolicious “Marry Him! The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.”

As you can imagine, reading Gottlieb’s arguments for marrying the overlooked “alcoholic who doesn’t always go to his meeting” just so you can have somebody in your bed (and bank account) every day and night didn’t sit too well with this happy singleton.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the matter if you’d care to share. If not, simply feel free to peruse this oldie but goodie (and yes, I’m talking about the column, not me) as you enjoy your extra day of fun and freedom. Take care and have a great Leap Day, people!

 

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What’s the story?

Meet Diane Mapes, your friendly neighborhood freelance writer. My beats include health (with an emphasis on cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship) and lifestyle and singles issues, but I also love writing about history, natural history, pop culture and TV/film. On this site, you'll find links to stories, praise for my writing (*blush*) and the odd bit of social commentary about the single life. Also here, a few shameless plugs for my books (hint: see links below). Have fun, glad you're here and hope to hear from you soon.

Oh! And if you're looking for my breast cancer blog, go to Double_Whammied

Check out my books!

How to Date in a Post-Dating World A dating manual for the modern, mangled single.

Single State of the Union
Single women speak out on life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

Follow me on Twitter!

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