Wednesday 29th February
And what a lovely notion that was; I wonder how many women actually took the opportunity, and whether it worked. Was it legally binding, were there ever any court cases where the shy retiring man claimed his bachelor rights had been usurped by a domineering and demanding woman? Oh happy day if that should have ever happened. But it is probably just another old wives tale, a bit of folklore which in a funny way did actually represent the very limited women’s rights for so many years. Especially in polite society where quiet tete-a-tetes were not always possible; how many years would a woman be kept waiting while her husband-to-be dithered and dallied and tried to decide if he should propose at all, or maybe the diffident and nervous young man was so scared of rejection that he couldn’t bring himself to say the words required. How could the woman help him, she was supposed to be demure and not have sexual desires at all; in Victorian novels the sexuality of the woman is completely denied, they are passive creatures in the main, who may love their hero deeply but are never allowed to express their desire for conjugal relations. Marriage was a desired state mainly for the status it gave the woman, for relieving her father of the burden of keeping her, for the continuance of the male line, to maybe add respectability and gentility to a son of a wealthy but unconnected businessman, but we never hear of the woman’s desire to just have a partner. Maybe this was the greatest taboo of all; that women actually enjoyed and wanted sex, well unmarried and young women anyway. Thank goodness we have come a long way from those miserable times, and a woman can let a man know that she fancies him, or even that she would like to live with or marry him without having to wait four years for that accidental date in the calendar, when in probability even then, she would lack the requisite courage.