Another tall tale (there's no reason to believe it's anything but) dates the origin of ladies' privilege to the 5th century, around the time (speaking of tall tales) St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. As the story goes, St. Patrick was approached by St. Brigid, who had come to protest on behalf of all women the unfairness of always have to wait for men to propose marriage. After due consideration, St. Patrick offered St. Brigid and her gender the special privilege of being able to pop the question one year out of every seven. Some haggling ensued, and the frequency ultimately settled upon was one year out of four — leap years, specifically — an outcome which satisfied both parties. Then, unexpectedly, it being a leap year and St. Brigid being single, she got down on one knee and proposed to St. Patrick on the spot. He refused, of course, bestowing on her a kiss and a beautiful silk gown in consolation.
Really, this should be an apology for not posting more, but I don't think anyone reads this anymore, so to whom would I apologise? Sorry, google's crawler bots! :) If someone does read this, leave a note and I'll post next week about the exciting world of pedagogical theory, in which I am currently mired.