S01E37 Leap Year (2)

Episode 37: Leap Year & Government Bureaucracy (A Love Story)

Pirate operettas, misogynistic courtship rituals of uncertain origin, and varying levels of government incompetence? It can only mean one things, folks: We’re talking about Leap Year! Join us as we explore what the Pope has to do with standardized calendars, why the calendar has always been controlled by business interest, and that one time Roman bureaucrats randomly started scheduling leap years every 3 years instead of every 4 — and it took them 50+ years to notice.

(You had one job, guys. ONE JOB)

We also explore the twisted myths and extreme courtship traditions surrounding Feb 29th, and the leap year-y goodness of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance.

BONUS! Emily recounts the strange things men had to buy a woman if he rejected her marriage proposal in a leap year. Here’s a wee preview:

Woman: Marry me, darling! Let’s marry our fortunes together.

Man: Thanks, but I’ll pass.

Society: That’s cool. BUT NOW YOU MUST BUY HER TWELVE PAIRS OF GLOVES TO HIDE HER SHAMEFULLY BARE RING FINGER.

Links and Additional Resource:

Actual postcards from 1907 and 1908, featuring satirical (… we hope) depictions of women plotting to exploit these traditions.

PostcardLeapYearMaidensAre1908

PostcardTheMaidensVowIn1908

PostcardLeapYearBeCarefulClara1908

The Leap Day Paradox, from The Pirates of Penzance: