OCTOBER 17, 2012
Well, I didn't know that!
Q: Why do men's clothes have buttons on the right while women's clothes have buttons on the left?
A: When buttons were invented, they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid's right! And that's where women's buttons have remained since.
Q: Why do ships and aircraft use 'mayday' as their call for help?
A: This comes from the French word m'aidez – meaning 'help me' – and is pronounced, approximately, 'mayday.'
Q: Why are zero scores in tennis called 'love'?
A: In France, where tennis became popular, the round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called 'l'oeuf,' which is French for 'the egg.' When tennis was introduced in the U.S., Americans (mis)pronounced it 'love.'
Q. Why do Xs at the end of a letter signify kisses?
A: In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.