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Leap year means Ladies' Privilege

We already know that 2024 is a money year so what better time to collect cheques than this year?
Mon, Feb 26, 2024

According to Vogue, Rita Ora proposed to Taika Waititi in 2022 and he instantly said yes. Image: Getty/Samir Hussein

There exists a litany of myths that surround a leap year, one of the prominent ones being “the year to propose to your boyfriend”. Besides potentially featuring on Moja Love’s You Promised to Marry Me, there are also Scottish myths that children born on 29 February will face misfortune, and that marriages or engagements in a year could end up in turmoil, including divorce or the death of a spouse.

However, superstitions outside of the Western world are a little less patriarchal and radiate possibility. The Chinese believe that a leap year symbolises success and authority. Either way, this appears to be a year to stand on business. And for the woo-woo girlies, we already know that 2024 is a money year so what better time to collect cheques than this year?

On the topic of love and romance, the leap year has elicited some strange rules that are unsurprisingly rooted in patriarchy. Once every four years, women are allowed to subvert the hegemonic gender roles and ask their long-term boyfriends to commit! “Ladies’ Privilege” according to Irish folklore, emanated from a nun in the 5th century who successfully convinced Saint Patrick to allow women to propose to their suitors on leap day because contrary to the belief of insufferable manosphere troglodytes, men suffering from gwababa are not a millennial affliction.

If a man declined the proposal, the punishment awarded to him was to purchase 12 pairs of gloves to conceal the lack of a ring on the woman’s finger. Queen Margaret of Scotland took the punishment further when the tradition was adopted and issued citations that came with a monetary fine for turning down the proposal. Now, we all know the scam that is marriage has been peddled as an institution that determines a woman’s success in life. Luckily for some of us who have met Tambotsai from Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, we know that “lenyalo hase maemo” and that men are definitely not the prize.

tagged! required reading feminism by Zodwa Kumalo

The world we live in makes less sense than the spelling of Vanderbijlpark and perhaps this is the year to take a leap of faith and get down on bended knee to request your gentleman’s hand in marriage. The year is already unhinged because imagine having to choose a different day every year for three years to celebrate your birthday because the calendar gaslights you. Leaplings, we have squeezed you in for a rightful birthday celebration this year!

I can’t help but chuckle at the idea of “aunts” being at the gate to identify their future son-in-law who can also be a beautiful flower identified in the garden. And yes, he needs to come downstairs with the homies covered in blankets! I would love to see the aftermath of this unorthodox betrothal on “Lenyalo hase phaphadi” as Uncle Thuso jovially throws his legs in the air in a fit of giggles!

But really, my main worry is that my salary has to stretch through an extra day of financial wilderness.