In which I express extreme gratitude, on behalf of all the ladies, at being permitted to act on our own will once every four years.

Something has been bugging me this week. It’s not the fact that it’s February and the weather went all weird and beer-gardeny last weekend. It’s not the fact that lovely budget-conscious husband took this as a sign that it was spring and turned off the central heating, meaning that I’m typing this with my dressing gown on over my clothes because it all went winteresque again. It’s not even the revelation that wine is not my friend, which I noticed for the absolute first time this morning after going out last night and have never had any sort of prior experience of at all at all at all.

No. The thing that is bugging me is that every time I’ve turned on the tv, looked at a paper (or at least a news website, because, y’know, newspapers are so 2005), or fired up the interweb, people are talking about proposing. Well, not actually every time, obviously. That was an exaggeration for polemic effect. It has, however, happened at least twice, and that’s one more time than is needed to cause mild irritation.

The focus for the proposing frenzy was 29th February, the date on which women are allowed to propose to their partners, or indeed to any random male (or female – we’re pro-equality here) that passes their way. Much discussion has ensued in those corners of the media world where the understanding of what classes as news has been warped by too much time spent staring at shiny items and talking about slimming aids. I’ve heard actual grown-up people opine that a woman proposing doesn’t seem quite right, that it’s a bit desperate, that it’s really the Man’s Role.  All this discussion can be met with only one rational response…

What do you mean women are “allowed” to propose on 29th February? We’re allowed to propose anytime we like. We’re also allowed to go out to work, own property, open our own bank accounts, vote, wear trousers in public, paint our toe nails, not paint our toe nails, write great literature, read great literature, get an education, get a career, change our minds about said career and go back and get some different education, stand for Parliament, compete in the Olympics, take up country dancing, become naturists, become baristas, become barristers (which is different), become naturist barristers, drive cars, drive HGVs (like long-distance Clara), read the news, make the news, buy a trawler, buy a fashion magazine, get drunk, win a Grammy, win six Grammys, get angry, get happy, and, if we want to and we’ve found someone else who wants to too, get wed.

We’ve come a long way baby…