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February 29, 2008

it’s Leap Day: ladies, make me an offer

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 11:30 am

froglegs It’s February 29, 2008. What does this “Leap Day” mean to you? For conservationists and amphibian-lovers, it’s the launch date for the Year of the Frog, a reminder that, since 1980, “at least 120 species of frogs, toads, salamanders and other amphibians have gone extinct; as many as half of the 6,000 remaining species may soon vanish unless immediate action is taken. ” (see “Leap Day: Doomesday Vault for Frogs“)

Leap Day —
the space where
a frog was

……………. by laryalee fraser
– borrowed, as amended, from this haiga

  • For loophole-loving lawyers over the centuries, it’s “not a real day and had no status in English law” (Sydney Morning Herald, Feb. 28, 2004) — fertile ground indeed for the creative defense lawyer or crafty draftsman.
  • For math and astronomy wonks, it’s an opportunity to explain again ad nauseum that “our solar year is 365.24219 days,” with all the resultant need for intercalary machinations and refinements.

frogpondF More to the point, for lonely ladies (or their impatient fathers) tired of waiting on that prince or other “fellas-ta-come-a-courtin,” and for their selective-but-traditionalist sisters impatient for Mr. Right to do the asking, “Leap Day is for (unconventional) lovers” — the one day when a woman could with society’s blessing propose to any man of her choosing. (see The Daily Green, Feb. 26, 2008) As the folks at Time & explain about February 29th:

Tradition, Folklore and Superstition

A tradition was introduced many centuries ago to allow women to propose to men during a leap year. This privilege of proposing was restricted to leap day in some areas. Leap day was sometimes known as “Bachelors’ Day”. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage offer from a woman.

The tradition’s origin stemmed from an old Irish tale referring to St Bridget striking a deal with St Patrick . . .

right past me —
ms. sadie hawkins

………. by dagosan

For more particulars, see Wikipedia‘s discussion of Leap Year traditions, and check out Denis Kitchen’s description of Sadie Hawkins’ Day, on which all unmarried women could chase down Dogpatch bachelors and hogtie them into marriage. Although Al Capp always held the Sadie Hawkins Race in early November, in his Li’l Abner comic strip, it is now celebrated on (or confused with) February 29th by many Americans. Al Capp is gone, but unmarried women needing a little incentive, might want to check our the article “Hotels offer Leap Day proposal specials“(The Indy Star, Feb. 10, 2008).

Be careful, Clara, that’s a fine Specimen.” (Leap Year postcard, 1908)

one gray moth
above the candle –
Leap Day ends

……. by dagosan

leap year day
she goes down
on one knee

………………. by roberta beary

froglegsFNaturally, the Leap Day tradition is also a boon or slight beacon of hope (and often a disappointment) for bashful bachelors, and those suffering chronically unrequited love (like this one, whose still in search of an Attractive Nuisance co-blogger). Of course, many such single guys have always been just too darn choosey, and I’m sure they’ve been lining up excuses just in case they need to say no to a Leap Day proposal. As noted above, any such rejection is subject to penalties. According to Wikipedia:

“Supposedly, a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland (then age five and living in Norway), required that fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man; compensation ranged from a kiss to £1 to a silk gown, in order to soften the blow.”

Let’s hope the fines will not be needed, and Leap Day brings happiness to members of both genders. Our ever-optimistic haikuEsq wrote rather late last night to a number of female haijin, pleading for them to submit a haiku or senryu to share here today in honor of Leap Day. You’ll find poems sprinkled throughout this post from a number of those fair ladies, along with a few plaintive ones by our sadsack dagosan. Many thanks to Alice, Roberta, and Laryalee.

As we receive (or conceive of) more Leap Day Ku, we’ll add them to this posting. Meanwhile, you single folk shouldn’t let Leap Day slip by without letting the (unmarried) object of your affections know your feelings.

together . . . frogpond
first light
of the extra day

…………. by alice frampton

the frog
and the lady –
eyeing that mosquito

………. by dagosan

leaping into
the sound of no —
frog prince

………………….. by laryalee fraser

froglegshe tells her
he’s already married
…leap year day

………………. by roberta beary

almost March 1st
the Leap Day Bachelor
re-checks his email

…………. by dagosan

afterglow (4 PM):

the short month
a leap day longer–
he says yes

lunch date
I dare him to mention
Sadie Hawkins’ Day

……………………. by peggy willis lyles

aftermath (March 1, 2008):

leap day
the peach tones
of her nakedness

………… by Ed Markowski

March 1st snow —
the old horny toad
wakes alone

…………….. by dagosan

much more than an afterthought (March 3, 2008):

Leap Day –
an old friend
takes off her glasses

……….. by Yu Chang – photo haiga orig. posted at Magnapoets JF (March 2, 2008)

update (March 3, 2008): Thanks to our friend David Fischer at Antitrust Review for including this posting in Blawg Review #149, which contains an extensive compilation of the best recent antitrust-&-competition-related materials, as well as everything else of merit, to be found in the blawgiverse. We are pleased that our open rivalry with Antitrust Review for top Google ratings relating to “antitrust humor and sexiness” did not prevent David from pointing to our Leap Day presentation. We’re a little concerned, though, that he placed this very serious piece of sociology and advocacy in the category “The Lighter Side”.


  1. David:

    I was tagged by Poet Hound and I am tagging you to participate in the “Six Word Memoir Challenge.”

    Please copy and paste the link below:

    Don Wentworth, Lilliput Review

    Comment by Don Wentworth — March 1, 2008 @ 6:59 am

  2. Good morning, Don. I guess this is a good place for you to “tag” me, since getting tagged is rather analogous to having Sadie Hawkins catch you on Leap Day. Because none of the objects of my affection (nor any other eligible female) proposed yesterday, I’m afraid that I woke up even grumpier than usual today. So, I will confess again (as long-time readers of this weblog know) that I find getting tagged (and having to tag others) to me a very annoying experience. See, e.g.,

    I also only write haiku and senryu, and can’t imagine trying to use either genre to create a memoir (even a six-word one). So, you’ve left me with a conundrum, since I hate to let down one of my most loyal readers and Commentors. For now, I shall remind my readers to check out your Six-Word Memoir (which is actually darn good, and might be a great epitaph or death poem), and the Six-Word-Memoir Challenge posting by Poet Hound.

    I can’t promise to participate any further in the Challenge. I hope you’ll understand.

    Comment by David Giacalone — March 1, 2008 @ 9:00 am

  3. David:

    Thanks very much for your kind thoughts on this. I felt the same way, as did M. Kei (who I also tagged), and both of us found ourselves simultaneously writing six word poems while actively resisting the idea. Go figure.

    Life is short; then you die.

    This cliche just popped into my head (Kerouac’s first thought, best thought?). I suppose it could pass for a six word “collective memoir.”

    Don @ Lilliput

    Comment by Don Wentworth — March 2, 2008 @ 5:13 pm

  4. Thanks for your understanding, Don. The whole tagging shtick suggests that misery does indeed love company (as does masochism).

    Comment by David Giacalone — March 2, 2008 @ 6:13 pm

  5. David Fischer from Antitrust Review emailed me to say that he couldn’t get my webserver to accept this Comment:

    If f/k/a really was the leading antitrust humor and sexiness blog, you would not need to make a Leap Day offer to the Ladies.(He wrote kiddingly).

    …s/ David Fischer

    I have no idea why David F. is again having trouble Commenting at this site, which is normally promiscuously permissive and needfully-unselective in accepting [non-spam] Comments. I must, however, point out (after more than a decade practicing in that area of law) that a good sense of humor has apparently never been enough to make an antitrust lawyer competitive in the battle of the sexes — and posting pictures of model plaintiffs in bathing suits is not likely to help much either.

    Comment by David Giacalone — March 3, 2008 @ 4:24 pm

  6. […] miss David Giacalone’s review of Leap Day at f/k/a or the question of penalties for unlawful cancellation of health insurance […]

    Comment by Patent Baristas » (Anti-)Trust Me, You’ll Love This Blawg Review — March 4, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

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