Look Before You Leap: Why Women Shouldn’t Propose on February 29th


February 29, 2020

Are you a woman thinking of popping the question this month? Take a leap of faith in the comedy writers at Speechy, who tell us why a leap day proposal is not the one.

Wait, what? Every four years thousands of women celebrate a patriarchal tradition that grants them a lame 24 hours to show some agency and ask their significant other for his hand in marriage? What kind of low-key aspirational feminism is this? Sorry, I’m done.

Here’s five reasons why women should absolutely propose, just not when we’re told to…

What’s the craic?

So the story goes, an Irish nun lobbied St Patrick – or Paddy as he was known then (probably) – till he agreed that women, bored waiting for their altar-phobic fellas, should be allowed to do the deed themselves. But only on one day. Every four years.

He even weaved in a caveat so men could refuse the proposal if they gave the woman asking a pair of gloves (to hide her embarrassment at not sporting an engagement ring). Still want to do what some bloke in a funny hat told you?

Trash Talk

Tommy Fury (of Love Island and boxing fame) recently told OK! Magazine ‘any man who lets a woman propose is not a man’. Sorry mate, you’re cute and everything, but any man who finds a woman taking charge of her own destiny emasculating needs to get in the bin.

There’s a long history of societal aversion to confident women. It doesn’t help that the narrative surrounding marriage is often centred on women trying to ‘trap’ men, who mostly recoil in horror.

Tommy also said, ‘if you weren’t meant to follow your gut, you wouldn’t have one’, which we can’t argue with to be fair. If your instincts are telling you you’re ready to propose, go for it. But do it your way, on a day you choose.


Hear the sound of retailers rubbing their hands together with glee? Yep, everyone from Premier Inn to Poundland is exploiting this quadrennial trend, with proposal packages and men’s ‘token’ engagement rings. Capitalism has never been friendly to women – tampon tax much? A leap day betrothal might sound like Hallmark Heaven but it’s nothing less than fuckery for feminists.

It’s about as original as a romantic snog in the rain

If a Hugh Grant film is the epitome of your relationship goals, you probably should get yourself down to Poundland for some bling. But there are cooler ways of proposing. Do something hyper-specific to the two of you. Board game pub regulars? Mime asking for his hand in marriage during a round of Articulate. If he’s in a band, get his mates to tie your proposal in with a bespoke performance of The Clash Should I Stay or Should I Go Now, complete with seething mosh pit.

‘I have to do it now cause like… in another four years I’ll be…’ gasps

What? More awesome? With better taste in table décor? At the peak of your career? Financially killing it? Time is not the issue here.

So if it’s not the 29th, when is a good time to propose?

It’s pretty simple. When you feel good as hell about your grown-up, robust relationship and reckon he’s in the same headspace, what do you have to lose? Take it from these badass women…

Pink didn’t let a measly 24-hour window control her future; she got engaged to Corey Hart by holding up ‘Will You Marry Me? Serious!’ on a pit board as he burned round the motocross track (apparently when he accepted, she told him to get his ass back on the track because ‘I don’t marry losers’).

Kristen Bell tweeted her proposal to Dax Shepard on the day same sex marriage became legal in the US – they didn’t want to get married until everyone could get married since half of their friends were gay. He tweeted his reply, ‘Fuck yes!!!!’.

Even Judge Judy put a ring on it, saying her beloved ‘finally capitulated’.

It’s not just the stars

Women showing a whopping bit of existential agency is catching on in non-celeb world too. Laura planned a romantic proposal overlooking the city of love. The Eiffel Tower loomed phallically overhead and… her boyfriend didn’t fancy going up. She ended up asking him back in the hotel room. He said yes. And she got to learn he was acrophobic before marrying him. No anniversary dinners at the Shard.

Grand gestures are nice but the words can bubble out of you in pretty ordinary locations too. Jana proposed while giving her toddler a bath and her partner was sitting on the toilet ‘looking like a cornered man’. She said, ‘we should probably get married’. He said, ‘sure’.

Sometimes the less flashy proposals are the healthiest, relationship-wise. I mean, as if you haven’t at least broached the subject together at least once already. Call us cynical but isn’t there something just a little narcissistic about those surprise proposals you see in the movies?

Amy Schumer puts it best: ‘the guy always gets down on one knee and the girl’s always shocked like, I didn’t even know you liked me! I’m still on Bumble’.

How to nail it

Clearly no rules, but think hard about what he likes – you might be wooed by a breathtaking view, but is that going to do it for him?

If he’s a fully functioning adult male who never calls on you to mother him, why not surprise him with a packed lunch just this once and scribble your proposal on a post it note? Or take him to see his team play and whisper it to him at half time.

The important thing isn’t creating that insta-moment, it’s the getting married to the love of your life bit. Lauren iced ‘Marry Me’ on a cake and had her boyfriend in tears…

Don’t be salty

Leap Day proposals are cancelled. But you still have an extra day to do something awesome. Whether that’s a road trip to Alton Towers or 24 hours cuddled under a duvet in front of Disney Plus depends on the kind of gorgeous, unique dream of a couple you are.

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If you know someone who’d love 15% off a bespoke wedding speech created by Bafta-winning comedy writers, visit Speechy and use the code RockBride. Discount available till 30 April 2020.