Scottish Men Would Rather Run a Whole Mile Than Marry Their Girlfriends

What Women Really Think
Feb. 28 2012 3:07 PM

Scottish Men Would Rather Run a Whole Mile Than Marry Their Girlfriends

William and Kate

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Before I started doing research for this article about leap-year proposals and its accompanying postcard slide show, I had never heard of the tradition of women proposing to men on leap day. But I was ignorant only by virtue of my nationality—as I mention in the article, the tradition still enjoys some popularity in the U.K.

L.V. Anderson L.V. Anderson

L.V. Anderson is a Slate assistant editor. She edits Slate's food and drink sections and writes Brow Beat's recipe column, You're Doing It Wrong. 

However, I had no idea that the tradition is truly thriving across the pond until this morning, when I received a press release from a London publicist who’d commissioned “a tongue-in-cheek survey” on behalf of Chevrolet U.K. about leap-year proposals. Much like leap-year postcards from 100 years ago, the press release was a grab bag of unfortunate gender stereotypes that basically boil down to the idea that romantic relationships are a constant battle between marriage-crazed women and freedom-loving men.


Among the helpful data points I learned from Chevrolet U.K. (all, no doubt, scientifically rigorous and peer-reviewed) was the following:

When asked why they will be proposing, astonishingly, more than half (51%) of women aged between 25 and 44 said it’s because their man will never get round to doing it, himself. While more than one in ten (12%) say they’d do it because their friends are married and they don’t want to be left on the shelf.

Anything but being left on the shelf! Actually, if we’re going to continue to compare single women to commodities, can we at least update our lingo a little bit to keep pace with our changing shopping habits? How about “their friends are married and they don’t want to be left out of the Amazon shopping cart”?

But the fact that a woman’s life apparently has no meaning until a man deigns to marry her was less interesting than one of the regional trends I learned about Brits:

To land the hand of a man in Scotland, you may need to wear trainers …. One-in-five Scotsmen (21 percent) would rather run a mile than say 'yes' if their girlfriend proposed on February 29.

Just imagine—a whole mile! Sounds like those rakish Scottish bachelors would do anything to avoid settling down. Although I wonder how the designers of this survey settled on this false dichotomy over the millions of other arbitrary options they could have given. (Would you rather marry your girlfriend or do a somersault? Marry your girlfriend or brush your teeth? Cake or death?)

Chevrolet also asked men where they would most prefer to be proposed to by their girlfriends. One respondent suggested “in the bedroom” and added (just in case the connotations of that room are too subtle) “pre- or post-coitus.” This suggestion is exceedingly romantic compared to a couple of alternatives: One man’s recommended proposal location was “on a sky diving trip with only one parachute,” while another said his girlfriend should propose “on the edge of a cliff so I could push her over it.”

So it would appear that we’ve gone from suggesting that a man would say yes to a proposing women only under threat of death to suggesting that any woman who proposes to her boyfriend deserves to be murdered. I guess this is what passes for progress.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.