Wednesday, January 21, 2009


March 12, 1932
excerpted from the article by Alice L. Tildesley

Leap Year Gives Them the Right to Choose Their Mates

But Film Stars Agree They Prefer to Land Them in Their Own Way


“In this day of woman’s independence, men rather admire the girl with nerve enough to ‘pop the question.’ Why shouldn’t she, if she wants to marry the guy?”

“How little it matters who does the proposing, just as long as the two persons who love each other get married.”

“The kind of a man a woman gets when she proposes isn’t worth the words she might use to persuade him to give her his heart and hand!”

“God bless them, is all I can say. When you speak of women who propose, you speak of all women. We men may think we have something to say about it, and it’s well for our vanity that we do. I believe that, given a fair on circumstances and propinquity, any woman can make any man propose, and if she accepts him the chances are ninety-seven to three that he’s lucky.”

“Women in their subtle way do most of the proposing, and if they didn’t, most of us men wouldn’t marry, worse luck. Men as a whole are too selfish to marry, and if some sensible and determined girl didn’t take matters into her own hands and in her clever way make the choice of her heart propose to her, the man would never have a chance to find out whether two can live as cheaply as one.”

“I must confess that I never found out what men think of girls who propose, because I couldn’t wait until leap year. I proposed myself and now I know what girls think of men who propose!”

“I don’t like this leap year thing. It’s O.K. for sheiks like Bob Montgomery and Clark Gable, but its tough on hard-looking mugs like myself. In the odd years we can put on a lot of pressure and talk a girl into saying ‘yes’ before she gets to comparing bargains. But in leap year she’s out shopping and we have no hope of fooling her. No, I’m against the institution.”

“It wasn’t leap year when I became engaged, but if it had been I think it would have worked out the same anyhow. If two persons like each other tremendously, a little thing like a legendary convention isn’t going to stand in their way.”

“The woman in marriage has the hardest job, that of bearing children. A man has only to make the money for his family. The responsibility of making a good impression should be upon him, not upon the woman. She is conferring the favor and he should realize the fact.”

“The legend takes away from a man one of his choicest possessions. The right of proposal has always meant that a man stakes his whole future life, his earning power, his happiness, on the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ of a woman. It is the most delightful gamble life offers and one every man cherishes.”

RICHARD DIX:“A number of my friends have told me that they never proposed, and neither did their wives; the fact that they were mutually attracted and had been going about with each other for a long time made them both take matrimony for granted, and only such matters as when, where and how were ever discussed.”

“Oh come now, let us keep a few little souvenirs of the good old days! Let us grant men the charming custom of proposing marriage and the women the gracious one of saying ‘yes’.”

“I don’t think modern women propose. If they do, they never let the man in the case know it. It’s a male prerogative and every man feels cheated if he can’t exercise it.

“Marriage is one of the most important things in a woman’s life, much more important to her than to her husband. I believe she should propose, if necessary. There are many men who would go along for years quite happily in a state of platonic friendship, eating up a nice girl’s life, and all it takes to make these blind creatures think of domestic bliss is a proposal from the girl.”

“Theoretically, I approve of women proposing in leap year, or any other year that suits them. But in practice I shudder to think of the spot it puts the man on! How could a fellow say ‘no’ to a beautiful woman? And yet he might not care for her ‘that way.' Oh no, we haven’t had enough practice!”

“I am against leap-year proposals! Such proposals inflate the naturally large ego of the man. He cannot stand so much sincere flattery. When the man accepts, the woman forever after must hear her egotist say, when she protests at some treatment of her or at some thoughtless or cruel action: ‘Aha, madame, remember – you propsed to me! You would have me. You cannot complain!’”

“I’m for leap-year proposals. A woman who makes one is admirable just for doing it. She has courage to overcome the conventional timidity of her sex, and I applaud her. Why should it be considered improper for a woman to obtain what she wants in an underhanded fashion rather than a straightforward way?”

“I’ll tell you what men think of girls who propose. They think that kind of girl gets her man. Who ever heard of a fellow fleeing from such a proposal? He’s flattered and he sticks around willingly until the wedding bells ring.”

“I’ll do my own proposing, leap year or any other year. Women are into everything. Let them leave one thing sacred to men.”

“Leap year proposals make things pretty soft for the men. They can get proposals and receive them, too, in 1932. The unaccustomed compliment of being proposed to should be very flattering. But no, I’ve never had the experience. Sorry.”

“I should think it would all depend on the man and the girl. If the advantages were all on the girl’s side, I should think she might be doing a very gracious thing in suggesting marriage to a man who was clearly desperately in love with her but who didn’t have the nerve to propose because of her wealth or fame or whatever it was. If the man had equal or better things to offer a girl, I believe she would do well to wait for him to mention marriage. That is, unless he was so shy she saw he’d never screw up the courage. Then, perhaps, he’d appreciate assistance.”

“If you press any wife on the subject she’ll never admit that she was the one who proposed. She likes to have you understand that she didn’t have to suggest marriage to anybody. Why, mister, the front steps of her house were just lousy with guys every night, each one thinking up ways to ask her to be his bride the minute he got the chance! Funny part of it is that men like to think the women they marry were won after a terrible struggle against virtually every gent in the neighborhood. If women did the proposing, wouldn’t that wipe the gilt off the gingerbread?”

You tell me, but it’s leap year, 1932, and the girls can at least send out Valentines.


diane said...

I can't believe I am reading this
avidly - wanting to know these
stars opinions of "girls who pop
the question". Such was the power
of fan magazines in 1932!!!

KarenEngelhardt said...

I enjoy how eloquent these gentlemen were. All of them. It is most refreshing. Whatever happened to this manner of speaking?? What's wrong with people nowadays??