Ladies, do you know what today is? November 6, 2010 is Sadie Hawkins Day! Don’t know what that means? Well, let me tell you about this day. Traditionally, it’s the day when girls ask boys out for a date. Sadie Hawkins Day all started with the American cartoon strip, “Li’l Abner.”
The creator of “Li’l Abner” was cartoonist Al Capp, born Alfred Gerald Caplin (1909 – 1979) in New Haven, CT. He began drawing cartoons at a young age after losing his left leg in a trolley accident. By the age of 19, he became the youngest syndicated cartoonist in America.
In 1934, “Li’l Abner” was born. It was a cartoon strip about the backwards hillbilly town of Dogpatch, Kentucky. The crazy antics of the residents of Dogpatch delighted Depression-era America. One of those residents was Sadie Hawkins, “the homeliest gal in the hills.” At 35, she was still unmarried with no prospect of a husband. Her father, Hekzebiah Hawkins, came up with a scheme to get her married and out of his house. As the earliest settler of Dogpatch, Hekzebiah was known as the unofficial mayor of the town. Using his authority, he decreed the first Sadie Hawkins Day.
The main event of the day was a foot race – with all of the eligible bachelors of Dogpatch and Sadie. The gun was sounded and the bachelors took off running. When Hekzebiah fired the second shot, Sadie started running after the bachelors. If she caught a man before sundown, he had to marry her by law. Well, she caught a guy, which delighted all of the other unmarried gals in Dogpatch. They insisted that an annual Sadie Hawkins Day race be held.
Those unmarried Dogpatch gals must have been very happy. The Sadie Hawkins Day race was held in the “Li’l Abner” cartoon strip for four decades. Every November, Al Capp created new Sadie Hawkins Day cartoons. Americans loved it! In 1939, it was reported by Life magazine that over 200 colleges were holding Sadie Hawkins Day events.
When I was in high school, the Sadie Hawkins Day dance was one of the most popular dances. I can still remember how scary it was to ask a special guy out to the dance. Most guys still asked the girls out, not vice versa, in my small farming town during the 1960’s. Getting the nerve to ask the guy out was the first step. Then, the girls had to pick up the guys, pay for their dinners, and the dance. The role reversal was fun and we always had a great time. In today’s world, girls asks guys out every day. It has become a common practice. But, today, on Sadie Hawkins Day, put yourself back a few decades and have some fun by asking out your favorite guy!