February 29th came and went uneventfully. The Man had no qualms about spending the evening with me, having dinner together alone in the house. I offered him several get-out clauses - a work colleague had invited him on an overnight fishing trip for example, so they could both keep out of harm's way. But he quite cheerfully said he was coming to see me.
So did I miss a trick here, or does he just know me well enough to be sure that I wouldn't do anything as daring / rash / modern feminist as getting down on one knee myself? Was he not quite sure and just testing me? Or would he not actually have minded if I'd proposed?
It was tempting. Veeeery tempting!! I've never been as content and happy, as various people have observed in me, nor felt as supported and valued. And loved, in an understated yet sure way. But in the end I'm an old fashioned girl and I want the man to propose to me. There were dozens of column inches devoted to the 'should you shouldn't you' argument in the paper on the day, and one of the most interesting comments was about the power play. It said something along the lines that if men are not the ones to propose they will always feel that they are not steering the relationship and therefore they will become resentful. Another article said: 'Research shows that it is crucial that a man makes a “positive decision” to marry rather than be dragooned into matrimony for the relationship to be a success.'
My first instinct was - yep, I can see that. My second was Hang on! as my feminist conditioning kicked in. Are men really going to conform to stereotypes and become grumpy if they consider themselves not the dominant partner? Will they convince themselves they're henpecked if they were not the ones to do the proposing?
I have to say I squashed the internal bra-less feminist. She really needs to get off her soap-box and take a more balanced and realistic view sometimes. (And I like having doors opened for me.) But some more interesting arguments arose from this: Is having a dominant partner in a marriage usual, good or bad? Or how do couples mould the marriage, formed at the request of the man, into a partnership of equals? (And therefore why are men bothered who asks?) Why are men still usually the ones to pop the question? I'm going to answer that one: women are still old fashioned traditionalists at heart. Wear it, droopy boobs.
All this 'Oh, the manly man should do it' does not preclude us girlies putting his knackers in a vice until he asks though, now does it ladies?