February 26, 2004
Taking a Leap
No one asked me to my senior prom. Jon asked Liz, Steve asked Jen, Brian asked me how to ask Kim, but my dance card remained empty. I sulked, I cried, I listened to Monster Ballads.
I swore my life was over. Then I found inspiration in an article on famous women who never went to their prom -- I was inspired to keep my name from ever appearing on a list of powerful chicks who missed their big dance. This Cinderella was going to the ball. I picked up the phone, called Dave Rosenberg, and invited him to Prom '92.
This weekend, you can do the same. Well, not exactly the same. I mean you shouldn't ask out an 18-year-old football player or call Dave Rosenberg. But dial a guy and ask him out. Or ask him to marry you.
Don't drop your jaw at me. Popular tradition says Feb. 29 is one day it's appropriate for a woman to propose to a man. Women can get down on one knee and pop the question on leap year day. It sounds risky, but let's be honest, guys never say "no" to a girl on her knees. So in this Sunday's performance of "Love Life," the role of "pushing things forward" will be played by a woman.
Leap year fixes a flaw in the calendar and a glitch in our culture. We women constantly complain about our position on the dating food chain. We have to wait for men to ask us out, make the first move and call the next day. Well now we can stop waiting and start dating. This leap year weekend, don't wait for him to give you a ring, don't wait for the phone to ring, don't wait for anything or anyone involving any sort of ring. Throw out the outdated dating rules, find your inner chutzpah and go for the gold. Or platinum. Or princess cut.
We've all heard that aggressive women can scare men off. But maybe it's women who are really scared. We feel safe in our dating role; we're comfortable waiting. But at times in relationships, you can't just wait. There's some assembly required.
I know, I know, what about tradition? If the girl asks the guy, does she call his parents for permission? Who pays for the ring? Who throws the bouquet? Who gets the sheep and the 200 zuzim? And what about the dream proposal you've always imagined? Not that I've fantasized about my engagement; I'm not the type of girl who daydreams. I almost never picture my name on the Jumbotron, him saying he loves me as I choke on the diamond ring he hid in my Bud Light. OK, maybe I've thought about it a few (100) times and hopefully, it will happen -- minus the choking. Hopefully, I'll meet a man who likes the Sprite in me, falls in love with me and proposes to me. But what if that doesn't happen? What if I'm not asked? Most of my friends have already walked the aisle, but I'm far from buying a big white dress.
When it comes to everything else in my life -- my career, my education, my writing -- I go after my goals with every ounce of intelligence, determination and spunk I possess. I don't wait for success to come my way -- I make it happen. I'm a take-charge, woman-on-top kind of gal. But with something as important as marriage, I'm supposed to wait for someone else to decide when and if it's going to happen? I don't even like waiting for my car at the valet.
Now asking a man to get married is a whole different groove than asking him to prom -- sure they both involve tuxedos, slow dancing and an alleged "first time," but one lasts a nighttime, the other a lifetime. And since I don't have a groom-worthy boyfriend, or any boyfriend for that matter, I'm not going to propose to anyone just yet. But in the leap year spirit, I will kick-start my love life. On Sunday, I'll call my crush, won't hang up when he answers and ask him out for next week. Hey, it's a start. One small step for Carin, one giant leap for womankind.
Carin Davis is a freelance writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.