The Soaring Sixties
Onto this stage strode a precocious boy of ten, who had accelerated his learning curve by voraciously reading everything he could get his hands on: Mad Magazine, All About Books, World Book Encyclopedias, Tom Swift, and the daily news. Those papers were changing as well; new printing technology allowed them to insert glossy high quality color advertisements. This plucky lad absorbed all this, but didn’t necessarily understand it fully. There was one ad campaign in particular—a full page in color—featuring a picture of an attractive woman reading the newspaper but the paper was covered with flowers instead of words. The copy beneath the image extolled the virtue of it superior “sanitary napkins.” At the bottom of the ad it simply said: “Modess… because.”
This imagery fermented in the young fellow's hyperactive imagination for a few days. The next Sunday, at the dinner table, the boy thought that the place settings could use a little enhancement and queried: “Why don’t we get some of those sanitary napkins?”
Chaos ensued. Big Sister, fifteen at the time, thought this was the funniest thing she had ever heard, Mom desperately tried to keep a straight face, while Dad sputtered over his mashed potatoes.
The boy didn't know exactly what he had said to cause such a stir (and it wasn’t explained to him) but he knew enough that he had crossed over one of those “invisible lines” of polite society and he quickly let the matter drop. The next week, at the grocery store, he did some investigating and sort of figured out what a “Sanitary Napkin” (and its associated hardware) was, although he still couldn’t quite grasp the why of it all. “Girls’ stuff,” he sniffed.
And that was the end of it.
Until he was much older, when the story was repeated by his big sister to each of his girlfriends.