Yoko Ono Sent John Lennon a Box of Maxi Pads While John Was Living With His 1st Wife
Before John Lennon started bringing Yoko Ono around Beatles recording sessions — much to the chagrin of John’s bandmates — the couple got their start together as part of an old-fashioned extramarital affair. However, John being John and Yoko being Yoko, there was little old-fashioned about it.
You can start right from the beginning. John famously got a positive vibe from Yoko when he climbed up a ladder that was part of a work of art she was exhibiting in London. After reaching the top and using the spyglass there, John was relieved to find the word “yes.”
Before they officially became a couple, John would communicate (by phone or otherwise) with Yoko from the home he shared with his wife Cynthia and son Julian. During that stretch (say, ’66, or ’67), John received an unusual package in the mail from Yoko. It contained Kotex pads and a broken cup.
Yoko Ono sent John Lennon Kotex pads as part of a ‘mend piece’
Speaking with Playboy’s David Sheff in the series of interviews that became All We Are Saying, John and Yoko dug into just about every aspect of their storied relationship. That included John’s “lost weekend” period in which he had an affair with May Pang, the couple’s assistant.
With Yoko’s blessing, John and Pang stayed together in Los Angeles while he recorded and drank like a fish with pals Keith Moon and Harry Nilsson. One night, mid-bender, John stuck a feminine pad (Kotex brand, he said) to his forehead after a trip to the bathroom.
While detailing the events of that night to Sheff, Yoko got reminded of the time she sent John a box of Kotex pads. “I was making little art projects,” she recalled. It was a piece that you open a box of Kotex and inside there are a lot of Kotex pads and a red broken cup.”
Yoko said she called this sort of project “a mend piece,” and her method is fairly clear. “You’re supposed to mend the cup that is broken,” she told Sheff. “The idea is, when you open the Kotex box and go through it, there is something red in there.”
John admitted being embarrassed in front of his wife and mother-in-law
After adding her personal Kotex memory to the conversation, Yoko needled John in the interview, saying he was probably embarrassed upon finding the red cup. John (never easily embarrassed) allowed it, if only because of his awkward domestic situation.
“I was married and my wife wondered who was this woman who sent me a box of Kotex,” John told Sheff. Trying to downplay the package he’d received, John went with an art-world explanation. “This is actually an artist’s work, my dear,” he recalled telling Cynthia.
To complicate things, his former mother-in-law took stock of the package as well. John reminisced about digging himself out of the metaphorical hole at the time. “[This artist] happens to work with Kotex,” he told everyone present. “One of the avant-garde fields, Kotex, you see.”
Whatever you want to say about John and Yoko, no one can argue the couple was ever a conventional one. And their story was interesting from the start of the opening chapter.