Sadie Hawkins was a fictional character from Al Capp’s comic strip Li’l Abner. She was the daughter of Hekzebiah Hawkins, and was often referred to as the “homeliest girl in all of them hills” in Dogpatch. As the story would have it, Sadie reached the age of 35 still a spinster. If she grew frantic of waiting for a suitor to come her way, her father was even more frustrated.
In desperation he called together all the unmarried men of Dogpatch and declared it Sadie Hawkins Day. On that day, a foot race would be held with Sadie in hot pursuit of the town’s eligible bachelors, and whoever she “caught”, she would marry.
Some challenges should not be accepted.
It’s not very clear who fell victim to this catch-a-husband marathon, or whether Sadie did eventually get married. In my opinion, it is no different from what Chris Ojigbani does with his prayer ministries. The only difference is that, he saves single women from running, making it possible for potential Slimpossible contestants to find a husband.
Perhaps Sadie did get a a husband after all. As the story goes, the town spinsters (left with little choice) decided that all this running was a good idea. So they made Sadie Hawkins Day a mandatory yearly event, much to the chagrin of Dogpatch bachelors (nye nye bubu!!). The rules were simple: If a woman caught a bachelor and dragged him, kicking and screaming, across the finish line before sundown – by law he HAD TO marry her! Puts a twist to courtship, doesn’t it?
Capp’s 1937 creation captured the mind of young people in colleges and campuses in the States. Today, Sadie Hawkins Day is celebrated in the West. It was initially celebrated in November but is now commemorated every leap year on February 29th.
The practical basis of Sadie Hawkins is one of simple gender role-reversal where women take the bold initiative to ask a man out on a date. In the 21st century though, I doubt women need a specific day to do that and they wouldn’t wait a leap year too.
It’s funny though that after such “bold initiatives,” women are still not allowed to go down on one knee and propose to a man. I don’t get it. After you’ve done all the chasing and running, why not just finish what you started?