Backwards Dance: Loyola, 1962

While looking through our University Photographs Collection the other day I came across a series of pictures that are tagged with the phrase “Backwards Dance.”

The images depict co-eds in 1962 dressed in silly costumes and having what looks like a great time.

What is a backwards dance, you might ask? It’s basically a Sadie Hawkins dance: where girls ask boys to the dance, instead of the other way around.

The origin of the name Sadie Hawkins comes from a Li’l Abner comic strip character that decides to challenge all the unmarried men in her small town to a foot race so as to catch a husband.

Being the curious person that I am, I had to look a little further and see if there was an earlier example of this practice. It so happens that in 5th century Ireland, St. Patrick reportedly gratified St. Bridgett’s complaint that men were often too shy to ask women to marry them by sanctioning the right for women to propose to men on Leap Day.

This practice appears fairly antiquated by today’s social mores and it could be argued as either anti-feminist or feminist depending on how you frame it within the long arm of history… but it still looks like they are having a pretty good time in 1962.

And in closing, here is a little musical lagniappe of The Exciters singing “Tell Him” to a bear in a zoo!

Special Collections & Archives are open Monday through Thursday 9:00-4:30 and Friday 9:00-12:00 and are located on the 3rd floor of the Monroe Library.

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