At the beginning of this summer, I met a guy who was cycling around Taiwan and taking pictures with people at major tourist attractions, holding up a sign saying “[name], I love you!”. He later explained that he was trying to win his girlfriend back because she had met someone else when he was serving his mandatory time in the army. I told some friends about this recently, and one of them said: it’s like those Dear John letters! I was confused because I thought she was referring to the Nicolas Sparks movie, but apparently “Dear John letters” are a real thing!
A Dear John letter refers to a letter given by the girlfriend to her boyfriend in the army, informing him that she’s met someone else while he’s in the army. Where the saying came from is unclear, but it’s said to have come about during World War II. Guys usually get letters that start with “My dearest Johnny” or “John darling”, so when they get a letter with a formal greeting like “Dear John”, it probably means something’s up. So now those letters are called “Dear John letters”. And now I know!