Wacky Tradition of Leap Day Allows Women to Ask Men OutS

Today is February 29th, a day added to the calendar every four years to confuse people who still use checks and blow elementary schoolchildrens' minds. It's also Sadie Hawkins Day, a nutty, topsy-turvy holiday when women can do crazy things like — wait for it — request that men accompany them on social calls. It's like being on LSD... at a circus... during Mardi Gras.

According to tradition, Leap Day (or Sadie Hawkins Day) is the one day every four years when ladies are allowed to play the pursuer in romantic relationships by asking men out on dates.

Sadie Hawkins Day is named after a socially forward character in the Lil' Abner comic strip, according to the Washington Post, but some variation of the gender switcheroo has been celebrated since the 1700's. It wasn't always celebrated on February 29th, either; in some cases, the holiday occurred in November, accompanied by hilarious postcards featuring young women looking lascivious and chomping at the bit to date the shit out of all the men.

Like many occasions when ladies acted improperly, Ladies Be Aggressive Day has inspired some truly hilarious old fashioned poetry, including these lines, "this is leape year/women wear breeches" and this gem, from a 1907 postcard,

Maidens are eagerly waiting
Their traps enticingly baiting
For the year nineteen naught eight
By the old laws of Leap Year
They can propose without fear
And pick their own choice for a mate.

In the 1970's, an op-ed in the Post claimed that Sadie Hawkins Day wasn't a kind of sexist way to reinforce gendered rules of dating, but rather a symbol of the "giant leap" the women's lib movement had given America's ladies.

Today, since women regularly ignore the "don't ask men out" rule to their own great and terrible social peril, Sadie Hawkins Day is an opportunity for marriage-crazed broads to propose to their commit phobic boyfriends.

So get out there and celebrate this nutty extra day with some gold, old fashioned emotional blackmail and a big diamond solitaire ring for your boyfriend's size 10 ring finger.

Leap Day: when women are 'allowed' to propose [WaPo]