WTF Wednesday: I’m a-Huntin’ MEN

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Back in the fall I came across this strange Leap Year postcard in a scrapbook I purchased at an estate sale. It is from 1908, and not only did it seem like a really ODD situation to feature on a card, I also honestly didn’t ‘get’ it at all:

Vintage 1908 Leap Year Postcard "The End of the Chase"

Vintage 1908 Leap Year Postcard "The End of the Chase"

So I decided to do some research – what the heck were Ma, Pa and their daughter chasing in “The end of the Chase?” Why were they going after some poor little half-sized man with guns, a knife and an ax?

As it turns out, in Britain and Ireland, it was a tradition that women may propose marriage only on leap years. And get this: tradition also 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. In some places the tradition restricted female proposals to the modern leap year day, February 29 – probably to lighten the load on the men’s pocketbooks. I can just imagine the wealthy single men in a town getting bombarded with marriage proposals… and the guys having to shell out hundreds of dollars to all the girls they turned down.

Turns out this vintage postcard is part of a series of Leap Year postcards that had a common theme of women chasing, catching or hunting men on the one day out of 1,461 days that they were finally able to assert their independence. Good lord – I may love the Victorian era, but it sure SUCKED to be a woman in 1908!


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