Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What's a Broken Heart Worth?

This is Janet Tronstad and I’m here to ask what a broken heart is worth?

My question begins in 1288 when Scotland is said to have passed a law that a women could ask any man to marry her on every February 29. If the man refused, he had to pay her a fine that often was nothing more than a pair of gloves.

It does not seem like much in the way of payment for a broken heart. It was about this time, during the 13th century, that gloves began to be worn by ladies as a fashion ornament though. They were made of linen and silk, and sometimes reached to the elbow.

I can’t help but wonder if the rise in the ornateness of ladies gloves was as a result of those fines. If a man had to give a woman a pair gloves for refusing to marry her, I’m sure that she wanted the gloves to be as fancy as possible.

I cannot even imagine how frustrating life was for women in those days. Getting married was likely the only respectable job to be had and they could not directly ask to be considered for the position, except on the day of February 29.

What are your thoughts of living back then? Would you have taken advantage of February 29 to ask some man to marry you? I’m not sure what I would have done. Although I could probably use some new gloves.

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