Sadie Hawkins Dance by
(303 Stories)

Prompted By Teenager in Love

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A freshman girl is daring enough to ask a senior boy to the Sadie Hawkins Dance.

My daughter, who is in college, is taking a course called Modern Family. She had an assignment to interview someone “older” about their first date. Naturally she asked me. This is what I wrote:

My first date occurred when I was a freshman in high school. In those days (the 1960s), there were very strict rules that boys had to be the ones to call girls on the phone, and the ones to do all the asking out, except for one day a year which was called Sadie Hawkins Day. Sadie Hawkins Day was made up by a man named Al Capp who drew a popular comic strip called Li’l Abner, and in the comic strip it was the day when young women literally chased men in a foot race, and if a woman caught a man, he had to marry her. Based on this comic, a lot of schools instituted Sadie Hawkins Dances once a year, where the girls asked the boys to the dance. That was the only time that a girl could ever ask a boy to go on a date.

So I had a crush on this boy named Karl, who was a senior at my high school, and I asked him to the Sadie Hawkins Dance. He was required to accept. I paid for the tickets to the dance, which I think cost either 50 cents or a dollar each. I also made him a corsage, because there was a corsage contest. I remember that I made it out of a stalk of celery that was decorated somehow, but I don’t remember the details. My corsage won a prize in the contest, and I got the brand new Rolling Stones record, 12 x 5, which had just been released. (I still have it.)

Transportation to the dance was that he picked me up in his car — since he was a senior, he had his driver’s license and his own car, which was a VW Beetle. If he hadn’t been able to drive, my mother would have had to take us, which would have been pretty embarrassing. The central activity of the date was dancing, since it was a school dance that we were going to. It was held in the gym at our high school, and the music was provided by records.

I was attracted to this boy because he was a senior, and very good looking, and I had talked to him a few times in the hallways at school and thought he was cool. Still, it was pretty daring of me to ask him out, since I was only a lowly freshman. We had a good time at the dance, but he never asked me out after that, which I was pretty disappointed about. Still, I had my memories and my Rolling Stones record to remind me of that night.


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Characterizations: moving


  1. rosie says:

    I was delighted by your story which was direct and charming in the little details that you included. I didn’t guffaw at the funny parts, I just appreciated the brave heart and the laughter and fun you expressed. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  2. Nice work, Suzy. So odd for all of us, living on a playing field that has been tilted for so many millennia that we don’t recognize the down bubble. It took Al Capp and the Honeymooners to give us perspective on gender inequality. Does the sun revolve around the earth? Do we live on a flat land?

    • Suzy says:

      I like your phrase, “a playing field that has been tilted for so many millennia that we don’t recognize the down bubble.” And yes, it took me two years to respond to your comment. Better late than never!

  3. Kit says:

    A lovely memory, Suzy. You were so brave! Even on a Sadie Hawkins Day (which, thankfully, my school never had), I would never have been able to ask someone out– unless I was already sure he liked me.

    • Suzy says:

      Thanks Kit. Fun for me to look back at this story from two years ago, one of my first for Retrospect. The style is a little awkward, because I wrote it originally for Molly, and was answering a series of questions.

      BTW, I saw Karl again about 10 years ago, at an all-school reunion. I asked him if he remembered going to the Sadie Hawkins Dance together. He did not, and said, “Sadie Hawkins? That must mean that you asked me!”

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    I don’t think I knew that Al Capp invented Sadie Hawkins Day, Suzy, though I’ve seen the play “L’il Abner”. Great fun fact. And fun story. How brave to ask a senior, when you were only a freshman. Wow, that took real guts, my friend. And a corsage out of celery, and winning a Stones album. You ROCK! Too bad he never asked you out again, because clearly you had it all going on!

    • Suzy says:

      Thanks Betsy. Not sure I had it all going on, but I had recently gotten my braces off, and my smile was radiant. That probably caught his attention at the earlier dance where he had talked to me, thereby giving me the courage to ask him to the SHD.

  5. John Shutkin says:

    Just referencing “Sadie Hawkins Dance” dates us all, but thanks for the reminder, Suzy; we had them, too, and by the same name. (Al Capp was a New Haven guy — indeed, lost his leg as a kid under a New Haven trolley car — so he was a big deal for those of us who lived in the area.) But, as previously noted, what really impressed me about the story was your total bravery and confidence in inviting a good looking senior to the dance. If you didn’t note that on your college applications, you should have! That said, I also really liked that you applied your typical humorous perspective to the event with regard to the corsage (or was it, technically, a boutonnière?) and made it out of celery. Great story all around!

    • Suzy says:

      Well, I have to admit he wasn’t part of the popular crowd, and might have been a tiny bit geeky, but he seemed good looking to me. So maybe I wasn’t as brave as it sounded. And no, not a boutonniere, it was definitely a corsage – a long stalk of celery with decorations (I’m thinking a face at one end). All the girls made big arrangements that the guys prabably had to carry, rather than pinning them on their clothes, so technically bouquets rather than corsages I suppose.

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