Saturday, July 09, 2016

Blue Wednesday

Kotex Ad for Sanitary Pad, 1920

Another intriguing line from Jean Webster's novel Daddy-Long-Legs, this one from the opening section, titled "Blue Wednesday":
The first Wednesday in every month was a Perfectly Awful Day — a day to be awaited with dread, endured with courage and forgotten with haste.
That day was the depressing day - a "blue" day - for cleaning the entire orphanage, primarily the duty of the novel's protagonist, Jerusha Abbott. Could this perhaps be a subtle double entendre to a woman's monthly period? This "Perfectly Awful Day" — this PAD? That depends on when the menstrual cloth was first called a "pad." Does any reader know the answer to this question? The advertisement above dates to 1920, only eight years after publication of Webster's novel in 1912.

Also relevant would be the question of the double entendre's point. At the very least, it would be a complaint. But evidently also a humorous aside. And even an indicator of growing up, for Jerusha is about to embark on her way toward maturity, a destination signified by menstruation.



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