Sadie Hawkins Dance


Every February, schools in America and Canada host Sadie’s, where it is a Girl’s Ask Dance. This year, Benicia High School is hosting a Sadie’s masquerade ball for everyone to enjoy.

Being a freshman, I had only known of Homecoming and Prom, but I later learned about it through some upperclassmen friends. But, what exactly is a Sadie Hawkins and who is she?

Sadie Hawkins is a comic character released from the Li’l Abner comic strip done by Al Capp on November 5th, 1937. Apparently, Sadie Hawkins Day falls on a random date in November, not February 18th, like ours is. The comic was supposed to rally up women to stop letting men chase the girls, and instead chase after what they want instead. Schools in the U.S. and Canada decided to host their own girls ask dance to celebrate the comic, and on November 9th, 1938, the first Sadie’s dance was held. The tradition grew rapidly, and by 1952, there was about 40,000 known venues that had the yearly dance. It was seen as a woman-empowering rite and some-sort of a ritual in some American aspects. 

Although we call it Sadie’s, there are many names that the dance is called across the country and Canada:

In San Antonio, Texas, it is called a “Ladies Choice Dance”, in the western areas of the US, they call it “MORPs”, or prom spelled backwards. In Dearborn, Michigan, they call it “Sponge Dance” for some odd reason. But that’s not quite as odd as “Jobs” in Makato, Minnesota or “SnoDaze” in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Minnesota, what the heck. Of course, you could call it “Harvest” like they do in Rupert, Idaho. Lots of places call it a Girls’ Choice instead of a Sadies, which makes sense. In the Pacific Northwest, specifically the University of Washington’s Mortar Board, they called the Sadies “Tolos” for the Chinook word for success and achievement. (There was also the Tolo Club that helped fundraise for the dances). In Chicago, Illinois, Bettendorf, Iowa, and Evansville, Indiana, they call them “Tournabout” dances. “Vice-Versa” in Metamora and Washington, Illinois, and “TWIRP” (The Woman Is Required (or Requested) to Pay) from an unknown region, which is similar to a “WPA” (Women Pay All). Some places call them a Girls’ Reverse, and Evansville, Indiana, in addition to calling them “Tournabout” dances, they call them “Santa Switch” dances as well. I’m guessing it happens around Christmas, although I could be taking a stretch.

Even if you plan on not going to a girls ask dance ever in your life, you should at least check out some of Al Capp’s work. He was a satire artist in America from the 1930’s until his death in 1979. Good luck to those who are asking someone else, guy or girl, and have a fun time at this year’s masquerade ball!

By Abi S

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