Quotes about Bachelors Day

Welcome to my page of quotations about Bachelors Day, February 29th, when traditionally ladies are “allowed” to invite men to dance or to propose marriage, rather than waiting to be asked. It is said that the custom dates back to 13th century Scotland, or even back to St Patrick. There is debate over where the apostrophe should be placed, so I’m going ultra-modern and omitting it.  SEE ALSO:  LEAP DAY & LEAP YEAR  —ღ Terri

This is Leap Year, and ancient proverbs say,
If lads don’t leap this year, the lasses may.
~“Observations upon the four Quarters of the Year,” Poor Sir Robin’s Almanac, 1792

I draw my chair beside the gr8
And dreamily I medit8
Upon my present single st8
I wonder if relentless F8
Ordains for me a living m8—
Such dreams have haunted me of l8.
This year, which I would celebr8,
Is leap year; but its precious fr8
Of lawful days to fascin8
Decreases at a rapid r8…
~“8TEEN 8T 8” (An Ancient Maiden’s Twilight Reverie), in America, 1889 September 5th, contributed by “Pan”

      A girl looked calmly at a caller one evening and remarked: “George, as it is leap year—” The caller turned pale. “As it is leap year,” she continued, “and you’ve been calling regularly now four nights a week for a long, long time, George, I propose—”
      “I’m not in a position to marry on my salary, Grace,” George interrupted hurriedly.
      “I know that, George,” the girl pursued, “and so, as it is leap year, I thought I’d propose that you lay off and give some of the more eligible fellows a chance.” ~L. F. Clarke, “Leap Year,” in Toaster’s Handbook: Jokes, Stories and Quotations, compiled by Peggy Edmund & Harold Workman Williams, 1916

Well, it has happened again. The Earth has circled four times around the sun, astronomers have designated this a leap year and anxious bachelors won’t answer their telephones until midnight. ~David O’Reilly, 1984

We’ve waited, oh, these many years,
For you to woo us, pretty dears;
      But leap-years come and leap-years go,
      And still we’re waiting, so, so, so—
So, gently woo us, pretty dears.
~William Mill Butler (b. 1857), “The Sea Serpent”

Leap-year is, according to traditionary lore, invested with sundry privileges and immunities to the fair. ~Frederick Saunders, “The Cycle of the Seasons,” Salad for the Solitary and the Social, 1871

She gently took his passive hand,
      And tenderly she placed
      Her arm, without a reprimand,
      About his willing waist.
She drew him close; a reverent kiss
      Upon his brow she pressed,
      He yielded, and a new-found bliss
      Set all her fears at rest.
Then in a wild, impassioned way,
      Her love for him she told,
      And begged of him that he would say
      She’d not been over bold.
Without him all her life, she said,
      Would be a desert drear;
      If he said “No,” she’d never wed—
      At least till next Leap Year.
Blushing, he heard her bravely through,
      And then he cooed: “Oh, la!
      This is so awful sudden, Sue!
      You’ll have to ask my ma!”
~“Her Proposal,” c. late 1800s

      It is a common idea, held more in jest, however, than in earnest, that in leap-year it is woman’s privilege to “pop the question” to man, in lieu of waiting to be asked. An extension of this notion is found in the leap-year parties not uncommon among the fun-loving young people of America, in which all the usual conditions are reversed, the ladies calling for the gentlemen, choosing their own partners for the dance, and waiting on the moustachioed belles of the occasion.
      An early reference to the custom occurs in the year 1606: “Albeit it is now become a part of the common lawe in regarde to social relations of life that as often as every bissextile year doth return the ladyes have the sole privilege during the time it continueth of making love unto the men, which they doe either by wordes or by lookes, as to them it seemeth proper; and moreover, no man will be entitled to the benefit of the clergy who dothe in any wise treate her proposal with slight or contumely.” ~William S. Walsh, “Leap-year and marriage,” Handy-book of Literary Curiosities, 1892  [a little altered —tg]

Listen a moment, and I’ll chant you a rhyme,
      A lay of the leap-year—a glad, merry time;
      For now is the season for choosing your mate,
      In eighteen hundred and eighty-eight.
Leap-year is the time when the girls all propose;
      Leap-year is the time for dispelling your woes;
      So ladies advance and don’t be too late,
      In eighteen hundred and eighty-eight.
This is the time for all ye who’d be merry,
      For now is the season for “popping the query;”…
Now do not be backward—this is a good chance,
      All ye who’ve been stabbed with Cupid’s sharp lance;
      Don’t stay four more years—for this is the date,
      In eighteen hundred and eighty-eight…
~Charles F. Forshaw, “A Leap-Year’s Lay,” 1888

Dolly:  Why is it leap-year?
Molly:  ’Tis said, old maids all leap for joy
      As they go nosing
      Around, proposing…
~William Mill Butler (b. 1857), “The Sea Serpent”

February, and the groundhog
      shied earlier:
      a blizzard hit
      after milder weather.
But now it’s Leap Day
      —or Sadie Hawkins Day
      when Dogpatch erupts
      with pillow-busted
Daisy Maes hotly
      pursuing Abners.
      At any rate, it’s spring;
      or nearly. March’s wind
swims in grit and leaves
      the house smelling fresh
      even with windows closed…
~Crystal Bacon, “Leap Year,” Elegy with a Glass of Whiskey, 2004

Sigh no more, lasses
      When Dan Cupid passes…
For now ’tis his duty
      To bow low to beauty.
      ’Tis leap year, you know…
For leap year tradition
      Accords her permission
      To drop all reserve;
      To pick out a lover…
Then sigh no more, lasses.
      When Dan Cupid passes
      ’Tis all off with him.
      You’ve stolen his thunder.
      He must knuckle under
      To womankind’s whim.
~Arthur Gordon Burgoyne (1860–1914), “Leap Year”

The maiden stood there blushing,
And thinking, “Love is blind,
Or he could see, no other
Was ever in my mind.
He is so chicken-hearted,
He never will propose.
Thank goodness! This is leap-year,
Well, if I must, here goes.”
~Ernest Davis, “A Leap-Year Dream,” Dreaming on a Trolley Car, 1914

’Tis merry leap year, so girls lend an ear…
We went for a stroll, just over the knoll,
      There, among blushing wild roses,
      I whispered to Joe, ’tis leap year, you know,
      The year when the lady proposes.
      Then, down on my knees, his hand I did squeeze…
So girls have a try if your lover be shy,
      Get off if you can in the leap year.
      Just practice my plan in the leap year.
~E. Darbyshire, “Leap Year,” c. 1885

Bachelors Day Quotations
Original post date: 2016 Feb 1
1st major revision: 2016 Feb 28