Posted by Bookworm on May 05, 2003
In Reply to: Dear John letter posted by ESC on May 05, 2003
: : : Any idea where the expression "Dear John letter" comes from?
: : : Thanks for any assistance.
: : Oiginated in WWII. Unable to locate the reason for "John" thusfar other than being a most common name. ie, John Doe
: DEAR JOHN - "A letter terminating a romantic relationship. The term was first used during World War II for a letter from the wife or sweetheart of a serviceman stationed overseas or far away, telling him that she was no longer willing to wait for his return (or that she had found a replacement for him). Although only single American men were drafted at first, by the spring of 1943 some 30 percent of all U.S. troops were married men. In India some soldiers formed a Brush-Off Club, with admission only by a Dear John letter. In Texas there was a Jilted G.I. Club, with the same entrance requirement and its theme song was the popular son 'Somebody Else Is Taking My Place' . Some servicemen called the letter a 'green banana,' but this term foundered and Dear John entered the language more or less permanently." From "Fighting Words: From War, Rebellion, and other Combative Capers" by Christine Ammer (NTC Publishing Group, Chicago, Ill., 1989, 1999).
: Which leaves us to wonder what "green banana" refers to.
Just a guess, but green bananas are not exactly appetizing. So, perhaps the dear John letter was called that because it was desired as much as a green banana would be.