Sadie Hawkins Day

During my training into American traditions, I learned that when February had an extra day it was not only a leap year but it was also Sadie Hawkins Day. Sadie Hawkins was not an actual person; she first appeared in the comic strip Li’l Abner by Al Capp in 1937 in the fictional hillbilly village of Dogpatch, Kentucky. Poor Sadie was very ugly and her father, Mayor Hekzebiah Hawkins, when she turned 35 and didn’t have a husband yet, declared a special day in his daughter’s name. On that day, the women could ask any man to marry them. Mayor Hawkins had in mind handsome Adam, who was already spoken for by Theresa, much wealthier and prettier than Sadie. Never mind, it’s a long, sexist story. I’m not sure how February 29 became associated with Sadie Hawkins Day, but I didn’t learn about it in time to save me from an embarrassing experience.

After my husband died, I was dating Bernard, a funny and congenial man, but we lacked that elusive chemistry, so I decided to end our relationship. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings needlessly and I thought I’d treat him to dinner and tell him there. I chose the Mexican restaurant Las Bugambilias, which then was on South Street. It was a very small, cozy place with the same Frida-like dolls that now adorn the restaurant entrance in Old City, Philadelphia. You guested it, it was February 29. When Bernard found out my intentions, he turned around and told the people next to us: “This woman is a Spaniard and has no idea who Sadie Hawkins is, and here I was thinking she was going to ask me to move in together.” In a few minutes, the entire restaurant was laughing about my faux pas and siding with humorous Bernard!

This February we have a leap year again and I dread it, remembering that dinner. I should have known better, because in Spain there is a saying that proclaims: “Año bisiesto, año siniestro” (Leap year is a sinister year). There is plenty of evidence to prove it to my superstitious compatriots: the sinking of the Titanic, Mahatma Gandhi’s death, Martin Luther King’s assassination, John Lennon’s death, the Covid epidemic, all took place in leap years. I read that it’s bad luck too in Scottland and in Greece it’s a bad year to get married.

Just when I can’t wait for February and maybe this entire year to be over, I find out that the real Sadie Hawkins Day is on November 13th, which happens to be my birthday. I saw it in Google, so it must be true. Who knew? Now I really don’t know what to think. Maybe I missed years of opportunities to propose, although two husbands are more than enough. Would I have proposed to the Marine or to the classical guitarist? Watch out. Who knows what I will be up to on my next birthday!

4 Responses to Sadie Hawkins Day

  1. conchaalborg says:

    Thanks, Concha, for the Sadie Hawkins Day reminder. I hadn’t thought of it in years.

    Back in the day, I loved reading Li’l Abner although I did not like Al Capp. Thanks for the memory.

    Thanks, Herman. Just when I think I know a lot about American culture, I find something new, Concha

  2. conchaalborg says:

    Thank you Concha for a delightful story which brought a much needed chuckle.
    Mary Tracy

    Thanks, Mary. Glad you enjoyed it! Concha

  3. conchaalborg says:

    Thank you, Concha, for the delightful blog which put a smile on my face this morning, February 29.

    Thanks, Barbara. I think it’s funny that I ‘m still learning about American culture, Concha

  4. conchaalborg says:

    Como siempre, interesantísimo
    Un abrazo, Inés

    Y tú, como siempre tan atenta y generosa. Besos, Concha