Remona Aly
Wednesday 20 January 2016 The Guardian

Do women really feel they can only propose in a leap year?

Female empowerment! Women of the world! Feminism! I believe in all these things, but I’m not gutsy enough to ask a guy out for coffee, let alone propose marriage. It’s less a question of equality and more my inner ego-crusher assuring me: “He’s just not that into you.”

My problems with proposing are manifold. I suffer from what many men have been accused of, namely: a) fear of rejection, b) fear of commitment, and c) fear of putting myself out there (which I’ve acronymised as Fopmo – almost as acute as my Fomo syndrome).

A male friend recently said to me (in jest, I’m sure) that he expects a proposal on leap year. In the wise words of Rizzle Kicks, na na na na never gonna happen.

I would be terrible at proposing. But I know from experience that guys aren’t always great at it either. One Muslim suitor was magnanimous, saying marriage is the cradle of civilisation and a moral duty upon me. He quoted a prophetic saying that goes: “Marriage completes half of your faith.” I told him another saying, which states patience is also half of faith, so I’ll hold out for now.

If I were to ask a guy to marry me, it might be behind the e-safety net of something like WhatsApp, where an emoji can easily transform an awkward moment into a “just messin’” situation.

I admire any woman who has and will propose this leap year – or any other day, for that matter. You are a better and braver woman than I.

Women proposing? Of course I’m all for it, but this leap year my feminism has a day off.

This article originally appeared in The Guardian on 29 February 2016. To view it click here