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This year is special. It’s the year of Brexit, and even in a modern world, where we see strong messages of equality everywhere, male chivalry still goes down well. But this year is made extra special because it’s a leap year, and we have a 29th day in February.

Coming from a 5th century deal allegedly made between St Bridget and St Patrick and originally known as Bachelor's Day, this Irish tradition allowed ladies to take the initiative in matters of dancing and marriage requests, once every four years. Refusal, no matter how polite, left the man in question under obligation to buy the lady a silk dress, or by mid 20th century, a fur coat, as recompense.

Is it merely a license now or something more sinister? Certainly the tradition continues in some countries (Finland, for instance). However, it seems strange that it is still observed, given growing equality and empowerment for women.

Whilst no modern woman needs the permission the...

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