My first Sadie Hawkins dance invitation (at 45)

Come with me on a short journey. It begins with my daughter asking for a ride. I drove her to a friend’s house (the accomplice). We then proceeded to Dominos to pick up a large cheese pizza. A note was attached to the pizza (“Will you go to Sadie’s with me, or is this too cheesy?”). Finally, we drove to the boy’s house. We’ll call him B.

The accomplice and my daughter walked up to B in his driveway – he was shooting baskets (I considered this a bonus). I watched, but did not hear the invitation. He gracefully accepted and the accomplice captured the event with a photo (by my observation, EVERY event is now captured with multiple photos – personally I’m ready to abandon my cell phone all together, but I digress).

It was a strange event for a dad. This was my daughter’s first dance invitation. She’ll be 15 next month. I was proud of her for being willing to ask (she was nervous), but I know what to expect in the next 10 years or so.

Given the extraordinary circumstance of driving my daughter to this momentous event (my wife told me she would rather have walked than have her dad drive her, and she was crazy about her dad), I decided to learn more about this Sadie Hawkins dance phenomenon.sadie_hawkins

Did you know it originated with a comic strip? In 1937! According to Wikipedia:

In Li’l Abner, Sadie Hawkins was the daughter of one of Dogpatch‘s earliest settlers, Hekzebiah Hawkins. The “homeliest gal in all them hills”, she grew frantic waiting for suitors to come a-courtin’. When she reached the age of 35, still a spinster, her father was even more frantic—about Sadie living at home for the rest of her life. In desperation, he called together all the unmarried men of Dogpatch and declared it “Sadie Hawkins Day”. A foot race was decreed, with Sadie in hot pursuit of the town’s eligible bachelors…  With matrimony as the consequence of losing the foot race, the men of the town were running for their freedom… It seems likely that the concept’s origins lie in an inversion of the myth of Atalanta, who, reluctant to marry, agreed to wed whoever could outrun her in a footrace.

I was a little disappointed. I expected Sadie to a champion of women’s suffrage or other rights. Maybe a leader of the women’s liberation movement. Go figure.

Anyway, it was a special day. I got to participate in a special event for my little girl. My first Sadie Hawkins dance invitation!

About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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