Posted by Masakim on September 07, 2001
In Reply to: Fell off the roof posted by R. Berg on January 10, 2001
: : My Aunt who came from England used this phrase for two meanings . Sometimes it was hard to figure out exactly what she was intending fof it to mean . One meaning was that the person was or went nuts , while the other meaning was that a female had entered her period . Im searching for the origin . Thanks for any time you can give to this .
: Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British . . . ," identifies "I've (just) fallen off the roof" as "a US feminine expression meaning 'I've (just) started my period' and part-euph. said to a friend or a husband; late, perhaps mid-, [19th to 20th century], but by c. 1960 no longer used." He doesn't identify the origin or give the "going nuts" meaning. The "Dictionary of American Slang" doesn't have the expression at all.
Robert L. Chapman writes in The "Dictionary of American Slang,
Third Edition" :
fall off the roof v phr by 1930s To menstruate, esp to begin a menstrual period [probably a fanciful way to explain bleeding]
fall off the roof, to phr. [1960+] 1 to be sexually incapacitated.
2 to be menstruating. 3 (US gay) to be in a nervous, irritable state.
From Cassell's Dictionary of Slang by Jonathon Green