The nation’s unmarried men have all left for work early this morning, and won’t be back till after midnight in an attempt to avoid leap day marriage proposals.
February 29th has seen a record number of men in the office before sunrise, all with plans to “maybe have a quick one after work” until well into March 1st.
“I nearly got caught out in 2008”, said Martin Upson from Sheffield. “I was at home in the evening and my girlfriend got down on one knee and said she had something to ask me.
“I thought she was just doing up her laces. It was only when she took out this little box that I twigged and locked myself in the bathroom pretending to have diarrhoea for five hours.”
“This year I’m taking no chances. I went up into the loft last night saying I needed to fix the water tank and won’t be down till tomorrow.
“She hates ladders so I should be safe.”
Dave Griggs from Surrey was also planning to “go out jogging” first thing, then fly to Timbuktu for 24 hours. “My girlfriend will never think of looking for me there.
“I’ve also booked myself in for double shifts on February 29th 2016, 2020, 2024, 2028, 2032, 2036, 2040, 2044 and 2048 just to be sure.
“She’ll probably have got the message by then.”
Mobile phone operators were initially mystified as to why all calls to unmarried men’s numbers were going straight to voicemail from midnight yesterday.
“At first we thought there had been a nationwide terrorist nerve gas attack until we checked the calendar”, said a spokesman for Vodafone.
“Oh heck, that’s my girlfriend calling. She said something about giving me a ring later. I’ll just busy her to be on the safe side.”