It’s the first Saturday in November and you’re a single girl at home watching television. Well, don’t just sit there, go out and find a man! It’s Sadie Hawkins Day!
According to American folk tradition, Sadie Hawkins’ Day affords women the opportunity to ask out a man. Although not an uncommon practice today, when this method of dating was suggested in the latter part of the 1930s, it caused quite a stir. This event made its debut in Al Capp’s “Little Abner” comic strip on November 13, 1937.
One of Capp’s most memorable characters, a homely gal named Sadie Hawkins, got tired of waiting for men to come a’courtin. Her father, Hekzebiah Hawkins–a wealthy and powerful man, was even more concerned that Sadie would never leave home and would become an old maid. As Mayor of Dogpatch, he decreed “Sadie Hawkins Day” and held a footrace in which the unmarried girls pursued the town’s most eligible bachelors. The prize for the women who caught their man was, of course, matrimony. Sadie, of course, with her big, fast-movin’ feet, got hers.
This comical event soon jumped off the cartoon page and into the real world. The first Sadie Hawkins Day dance took place on November 9, 1938. By 1939, over 200 Sadie Hawkins’ Day dances had been documented.