by Jeanne Hambleton © 2008 – International Advocate – NFA Leader Against Pain

I have missed Valentines Day – sorry about that  – put it down to fibro fog and nobody sends me those cards any more so I do not get excited about February 14. However I am in time for February 29 2008 – the golden opportunity for you ladies to grab your man, as this chance is officially only available on day 1461 of a four-year cycle.  Next time will be on February 29 2012.


Of course with the empowerment of the fairer sex women can propose to men at any time but there is a special significance about this day and you could be flaunting a new wardrobe   if you play your cards right.


Folk law has it that this tradition goes does back centuries. In fact it has something to do with the Irish and started as far back as the 4th century. “The Ladies’ Privilege” that originated in Ireland arose through some agreement between St. Bridget and St Patrick and being more persuasive  young Bridget won the day…literally.


It is said any man who is propositioned must accept. His refusal for breaking the dear lady’s heart meant he would pay a “substantial forfeiture” for turning her down.  Over time this has varied from a forfeit of pound and a pair of silk gloves to a silk gown valued at £100 (that was in days gone by)  – with inflation that must have gone up quite a bit – and the meter is running.




So ladies what are your plans? A hot air balloon ride so he cannot escape until he says ‘Yes’. A long train ride with the threat of pulling the communication cord and shouting rape, if he says ‘No’.  Maybe a divine dinner with a romantic bended knee proposal mid restaurant and will he dare turn you down in front of all those folk?  Don’t forget the red rose between your teeth. Do it right girls – even if you are a fibromite – practice getting down on one knee ready for the big occasion!


You could drive him wild and into the country for a very personal sexy picnic in some isolated lovely spot, reduce him to his underwear “on a promise” and run off with his top clothes with the threat of cutting them to shreds if he says ‘No’.


You could always take the silk dress, matching shoes, expensive little handbag, diamonds for fingers and your neck, fur wrap,  the make-over and all the trimmings, not forgetting the sexy lingerie and day clothes for a change. But the object of the operation is for him to say ‘Yes’, and buy you all those things anyway. 


I found it interesting that the famous movie star and model, Zsa Zsa Gabor, proposed to all of her nine husbands? She must have been addicted to marriage! Of course she was not saddled with housework and three children and maybe considered men as her accessory? I wonder if she chose younger men? Perhaps the trend started there.


The Snopes oldwives website quotes Zsa Zsa as saying a woman must make up a man’s mind for him. Let’s face  it – they don’t stand a chance if we play our cards right?




So maybe a bit of French kissing, like they do in the movies, will help things get started. As with all things the Internet offers a wealth of information and wikiHow is no exception in telling you how to kiss your man passionately. After all there is a lot at stake here.


Have you thought about what you are getting into?  Forget the sex and lust and think practical. You must consider that half of his credit card bills could become your responsibility, together with your share of the car repairs (‘you ride in the car’ he will say) half of the mortgage, council tax, electricity, gas and food and beer bills and on and on.  Still want that little white gold diamond studded wedding band?


But back to the romancing, apparently the French kiss is often done in dark corner and is a ‘timeless passionate kiss’ between folk who are usually more than good friends, or people who share a dishonorable intent. For actual tuition you can see it in the movies, (maybe practice in the back row of the Roxy).  But wherever you live, Canada, USA, China, Australia, French kissing is the thing to do if you are serious.  Let us not get into oral hygiene at this point


The wikiHow website tells you how to angle your head, moisten your lips and get to it. I should mention a hard tongue is really off putting. Do not forget to close your eyes and do start with a closed mouth kiss. Nothing is more discouraging than a number of gnashers heading down your throat.


As you would expect there is much more to consider – tongues, going Dutch on the decision to French, which says, “You need to have permission to French kiss someone”.


Can you hear yourself saying, “Hey excuse me, I love your body, you turn me on but can I stick my tongue down your throat?” All this in a moment of wanton passion. I don’t think so!


I cannot imagine they were this politically correct in the 17th, 18th 19th and 20th century or even before. You got what you were given – what they thought you deserved. A good seeing to is the phrase that comes to mind. 


I apologise if my tongue is stuck in my cheek (not down someone’s throat)  but this romance stuff seems to have disappeared off the radar? Is it a man thing?  Does romance inhibit their masculinity?




What did happened to romance and this is a Leap Year? Where are all those Knights in shining armour? Of course the white steed (horse) might be a black Merc coupe, or a rusty 4×4, or even an old battered van which will accommodate most requirements – h’m h’m – he has wheels  – but who cares about the colour and the make if he is Mr. Right and he is romantic!


I must just be old fashioned – what became of true love, Cupid, romance? Even the “All because lady loves Milk Tray”  TV ad does not get her chocs these days!  Doesn’t anyone read Mills and Boon any more? Has true love and romance been replaced by the ‘get it away culture’  or the ‘binge and twinge’ which seems more appropriate? This has got to be a syndrome – after a night of ‘binge and twinge’ – I will leave you to imagine where the twinge  bit comes into it –  you will have so many unwanted symptoms…. possibly one of them lasting nine months. 


But apart from all that, as far as French kissing is concerned the websites say practice makes perfect. You should freshen your breath and clean your teeth given the opportunity. A quick swig of red wine is not the answer.  Also you should develop your style. Where would you practice that?  Maybe in a short glass tumbler? What will your mother or your daughter think?


One health warning, kissing someone with braces can be hazardous (braces on his teeth not his trousers, you fool). If you both have braces I guess you should shake hands regardless of the unhygienic risks – and then wash your hands in antibacterial hand wash before getting down to the ‘business’. What was I saying about romance? I am not sure mood lighting and sweet music would even help in these circumstances. Maybe some red wine?


I had a little smile to myself while looking at this wikiHow website about passionate embraces. As you would expect ‘Ads by Google’ appears down the side of the webpage and mentions speaking French (this would set the tone of the evening) and how to be a great kisser…yes…good thinking. But the big let down among the ads was “10 Rules to Cut Belly Fat”…. at a time like this – who needs to read these ads? Safe sex and solution ads would be more in keeping. 


Please do not dismiss this comment about safe sex as sexually transmitted diseases are definitely on the increase with all ages and it might be even worse this Leap Year. You need sexual diseases like a hole in the head. The pill is no protection again these intrusive invaders, which ruin your social life not to mention your health, and can be a problem to get rid of.  Forget how old you are – this is irrelevant. Only safe sex will protect you.


I was staggered to read how many gay divorcees and widows were facing these problems by thinking they could not get pregnant at their time of life. This was their main concern – catching a sexual disease never entered their head. It is not just the person you know and maybe trust who may be a carrier, but his previous affairs or partners and their sleeping partners and people even before that. If you have faced infidelity with your partner who knows what the future holds. If you are weak and forgive him his indiscretion please keep in ‘off limits’ until he is checked. Why share his stupidity?


Oh dear, I am sounding like an agony aunt and that was not the intention… my concern is for my lady readers who just  might fall into this dangerous trap without thinking.




So my dears you have a lot to consider before we reach February 29 2008. Will you opt for the new wardrobe or a lifetime chained to the kitchen sink, ironing shirts, washing smelly socks and underwear, and fetching and carrying for someone who has neither the will nor ambition to get off his butt? Serious stuff this is, girls. You could be partners and still entitled to half of what he has got but with the freedom to say, “I am off  – do this or I am gone!”  What will it be? It is big decision time. Will you live your life with your cat or dog, adopt a child from abroad and become a singe Mum, or take the leap and make the best of what you get? You tell me!




Talking about kissing I read recently that it is safer and more hygienic to give someone an air kiss – mwah, mwah – on one or both cheeks – than it is to shake hands. Scientists are saying hands are critical in the chain of infection according to News Medical Net. Apparently new research on hand hygiene has been carried out by Professor Sally Bloomfield and her team from the London School of Hygiene with details published in the American Journal of Infection Control.


It would appear you never know exactly where hands might have been and these hands might be spreading germs wholesale. My mind is boggling… and I am hoping this has nothing to do with romance but I am sure it has something to with men scratching their butts or other vulnerable parts.


By replacing your handshake with air kissing this can help you avoid colds, flu and even the norovirus. It seems at one point 3 million Britons were off sick in one week with these winter viruses. I wonder if they all shook hands with each other in the same week? By shaking hands with someone who has given himself only a quick rinse under the tap, you can collect a handful of germs – enough to put you in bed on your back.


Have you noticed HRH our Queen always wears gloves when on official duties and shaking hands She obviously got the message long before we did and maybe she knows what folk get up to with their hands.  With great respect, if HRH had shared that information with us, those 3 million people might have worked the week they were off sick and helped the national economy.  Silly I know but I always thought the gloves were old fashioned – but obviously not. In fact I believe they might even be back in fashion. Must be all this hand shaking and germ spreading.


If you consider just what you do with your hands in a day, it is amazing… not just on February 29 but any day. Sorry I have strayed off the point a bit…. How many handles did you touch today?  How often did you grab a cloth to wipe up a spill? When did you change the hand towel or tea towel?  Have you touched your eyes or your nose today? Did you sneeze into your hands, as you were not quick enough to grab your handkerchief? Maybe this is why colds drag on and on – because we re-infect ourselves! It is quite frightening.


It is my understanding that hands carry germs from surfaces (toilets) to people and then on to more people – so air kissing from now on has to be the right option. It is not just colds and flu’ germs you may be avoiding but something much more sinister. I hate to worry you but the deadly bugs MRSA and C.difficile attach themselves to hands without your knowledge. Excuse me – I must just wash my hands (in antibacterial stuff)!


Consider this – why is there all this rumpus about cleaning hands with antibacterial lotions in hospitals – to stop these bugs and infections spreading.


Carriers of these bugs are door handles, taps, toilet seats and handles that flush the toilet, surfaces and cleaning clothes.


You need to wash your hands rigorously and frequently, ideally drying with paper throwaway towels.  The scientists suggest you could maybe carry and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you cannot wash your hands or just keep your hands in your pocket ALL day – no cheating. Why not wear white gloves like a certain Royal personage? I wonder if gloves carry germs. I guess if cleaning cloths gather germs, so do gloves. So would you need at least seven pairs?


Personally I think I will gloves and go  for the air kissing, which, they say, is very hygienic and as a plus you do not need permission. You can hug too. This is not like pushing your tongue down someone’s throat and saying, “Sorry I forgot to ask. Do you mind? By the way how are you and your wife?”


It must be like the dentist with five fingers in your mouth. He asks you a question and expects to you answer with a mouthful of fingers and finger nails weighing heavily on your tongue.





Remember when someone offers their hand to shake, you may feel cannot be rude and ignore it and you do not wish to share their germs. You could say, “Sorry I can’t!” But you may feel rude and offensive.


Why not just grab them by the shoulders and launch yourself to their right cheek and air kiss away. Go for it – I know you do not want another cold or flu. If you like them add a hug for good measure.  Just sigh, “It’s all very continental you know!”


 It was always considered continental to air kiss folk on both cheeks and now it does seem to be catching on in the UK. Maybe that is for the best, given the germ-ridden society we are living in.


On the BBC News magazine website Judi James, a Body Language expert, told writer Tom Geoghegan that in the public relations world people usually offer two kisses but their nationality dictates the final number.  In Paris they favour four kisses, while in Argentina and Spain  it is two but the Americans just do not kiss.


She added that in the UK there is no definitive number although two is usual. She says there is a danger if you do not remember how many kisses you give a particular person.  They may feel the relationship has been downgraded if you suddenly offer one instead of the former two. You should also remember the greetings you offer says a lot about your personality.  The first warm greeting is often what new people may remember.


Judi James warns against the sounds effects – “maw, maw”  – which she feels smacks of insincerity. I thought it was fun but what do I know? She recommends air kissing after three meetings, right cheek first and two kisses.


Oddly enough I even feel the need to do it myself to those who lurch forward into my face as if to head butt me. I now know all they is just being polite. I was almost in kissing collision at the weekend as I sat in a low armchair with my left cheek exposure and he zoomed towards me. My instinct was to turn my right cheek and somehow we survived without a collision.


On the best authority giving an air kiss, where you brush cheeks and kiss the air near their cheek, is a good display of social decorum according to  ‘aikido’. So if you mix on formal social occasions and greet friendly, well-mannered acquaintances, the air kiss is the answer.


Aikido tells us that when you are not friendly enough to give someone a real big hug or a real smacker on the cheeks or even the lips, then you should go for this kind of  air kissing greeting.


To avoid a head on collision you should aim for their right cheek unless there is some cultural reason not to this. Apparently most people would lean forward and offer their right cheek. This is instinctive and this has something to do with the brain making that decision. If this person is less emotional about the greeting they would automatically offer their left cheek Brush their cheek with yours and literally kiss the air whichever cheek they offer you.


Well I hope that has given you something to think about – February 29 – a leap into marriage – hand hygiene – French kissing in dark corner – air kissing – avoiding sexually transmitted diseases in your moment of passion – and the Royal personage who always wears gloves! Is there a moral somewhere there? Take care. Be safe. Tell me what you think?  And I have only mentioned fibromyalgia once! Talk soon. Jeanne




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