Women: Why Jilly Cooper says you should propose on February 29

Jilly Cooper at a garden party.
Jilly Cooper at a garden party.

Racy writer Jilly Cooper has urged modern women to propose to their shy boyfriends this leap year.

Jilly, 79, is famous for writing raunchy books full of alpha males bedding glamourous ladies.

But the author has urged females to take advantage of the leap year - and pop the question to ''terribly shy'' males.

She said: ''I'm sure women do propose now. My generation wasn't any good at chasing, we were used to being chased.

"Now it seems you become 'partners' when you buy a fridge together. And the question is more - will he move in with me?"

"It never used to be like that. We would look for the signs and wonder. And then nothing would come of it.

"We didn't do ask men out. You would hold a whole drinks party and invite everyone, just so you could invite the one man you wanted - and then he wouldn't turn up.

"It's a lovely opportunity and I'm sure a lot of men are terribly shy and don't have a clue that the woman loves them.

"There might be thousands of men out there just longing to be proposed to."

Jilly and hubbie Leo were married for 52 years and the couple have two children, Emily and Felix. Leo died in 2013 aged 79.