If you go to Wikipedia and read up on the 1937 origins, it’s not nearly as empowering:
“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. When she reached the age of 35, still a spinster, her father was worried 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 pursuing the town’s eligible bachelors. She was specifically interested in a handsome boy named Adam who was already in a courtship with a cute girl, Theresa, whose father was the area’s largest potato farmer and, unlike Sadie, had a number of courtship offers. Adam was invited to the race because Miss Theresa and Adam weren’t actually engaged. With matrimony as the consequence of losing the foot race, the bachelors of the town were running for their freedom. Adam scored fourth place out of 10, leaving John Jonston as Sadie’s prize.”
Because if a man likes you, he pretty much knows it’s his job to ask you out. And if he hasn’t asked you out, he probably doesn’t like you all that much. Sounds logical doesn’t it?
That’s neither here nor there, but I thought it was interesting. Over 80 years later, we still have a culture where men are the primary initiators of interest and women debate whether or not they should ask out men.
My take: you CAN but you shouldn’t HAVE to. Because if a man likes you, he pretty much knows it’s his job to ask you out. And if he hasn’t asked you out, he probably doesn’t like you all that much. Sounds logical doesn’t it? And yet, according to Kate Neuman, writing in the New York Times a few months back, women should ask out men even more.
“As the MeToo movement threatens to uproot the patriarchal assumption of women as objects, we need to recognize that women’s self-denial is connected to the mentality that allows men to believe that our desire is their prerogative. Our conditioned passivity leaves a vacuum that male narcissism fills with its version of us.
Until it is no big deal for a woman to say, “I want,” as well as “I don’t want” – until heterosexual women no longer feel the need to wait for the man to propose or to invite us to the prom or to kiss us on a beautiful summer evening when we want to kiss – we leave ourselves at the mercy of men’s desires.
Sadie Hawkins should be any and every day we choose.”
I don’t think that expecting a man to ask you out is an act of “self-denial” as much as it is an act of common sense. The vast majority of 30+ men picked up on the idea that it’s their job to approach. How many adult men are passively waiting for women to make the first move? And how many of those men do you actually want to date?
Listen, I know stories of women who asked out their boyfriends. Hell, I probably would have liked being asked out as a nice guy who wasn’t too confident when he was younger.
Then again, nothing is preventing you from asking out men. Go ahead, do it. What you’ll likely discover – especially with a man you already know – is that the reason he hasn’t asked you out is that he’s not interested. If he was, he would have done it himself.
Thus, it doesn’t hurt to take things in your own hands, but, to me, the blessing of being a woman is that if you’re out and about and smiling and flirting, you can rest assured that (most) interested men will express their interest.
Men, on the other hand, can’t wait to be approached.
Which is exactly why we don’t.
Your thoughts, below, are appreciated.