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Leap Year 2020 – Pause. Reflect. Reset.

by Meg Mullery

Leap Year 2020 – Pause. Reflect. Reset.

An Irish legend identifies St. Brigid as an early feminist by her successful negotiation of a deal with St. Patrick allowing women to propose to men every four years.

St. Brigid, weary of dudes making the life-altering decisions and then mansplaining them, attempted to introduce a balance to the traditional male-female roles. The best she could be was every four years. Whatever.

St. Patrick, equally weary of St. Brigid’s incessant eye-rolling, acquiesced. He also was dealing with a pesky snake problem that perhaps weakened his resolve.

Julius Caesar introduced Leap Year more than 2000 years ago. The Julian (now Gregorian) calendar added an extra day every four years to the common 365 day calendar to synchronize it with the solar year. The extra day keeps our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolution around the sun.

Ever since the introduction of Leap Year, Leap Day on February 29 has been a day of traditions, folklore and superstitions. A google search of these reflects the pathetic status of women and marriage throughout the centuries. To be clear, men looked forward to the dreaded Leap Day much like Mitch McConnell would look forward to slow-dancing with Nancy Pelosi to the music of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful.”

In 1288, Scotland passed a law that allowed women to propose to the man of their choice. Any man who declined a leap year proposal had to pay a fine ranging from payment for a silk dress to a pair of gloves.

Gloves were a popular form of payment for rebuffing a proposal. In European countries, tradition dictated that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal had to buy her 12 pairs of gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. It’s unclear why 12 pairs were necessary. Perhaps leaving your gloves on the bar at the local tavern is not a new phenomenon.

It’s time for women to repurpose Leap Day in a manner that captures the celestial reason to realign and rebalance. Here are some suggestions:

  • Begin a campaign for a restart movement and nominate Meghan Markle Honorary Chairperson.
  • If you believe the Washington, D.C. political establishment needs a reset, vote. If you believe the Washington D.C political establishment does not need a reset, vote.
  • Rather than the Book Club discussing The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, watch the movie Cats and scring (not a typo; mash-up of scream and sing) along when Jennifer Hudson laments, “Touch me. It’s so easy to leave me.” Adult beverages recommended for this activity.
  • Balancing on one leg for 20 seconds is a critical indicator of the functional ability of the brain. Staying in the plank position for one minute (Cher does it daily for five) has proven highly effective for strengthening core. If you can do only one or neither, inform your family you will need to plan several spa weekends for your mental and physical health.
  • Buy yourself an engagement ring. Because you’re awesome.

Leap Day Cocktail

Pioneering bartender Harry Craddock at London’s Savoy Hotel invented the Leap Day Cocktail in 1928. A cousin of the martini, it’s said to have been responsible for more proposals than any other cocktail ever mixed. Here’s the recipe.

1 dash lemon juice

2/3 gin

1/6 Grand Manier

1/6 sweet vermouth

Shake, serve, garnish with a lemon peel and enjoy the flood of bittersweet flavors.

(Ladies, don’t forget your gloves.)

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