Tuesday gets no respect, and barely deserves it. But you can add meaning and fun to it, even if it’s just a hard tortilla layered with beans, lettuce and cheese.
This is part 2 in an 7-part series on the meaning, facts, pop culture and inspiration contained within the history and psychology of each day of the week.
Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday| Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday
“It’s only Tuesday,” goes the lament. The week already feels like it’s been going on forEVER. The shores of last weekend have faded from view, and there is only water ahead as far as the eye can see.
This day is the Eyeore of the week. “Thanks for noticing me,” Tuesday might drone if it could read this article about itself. Or maybe it’s Jan Brady, the classically overlooked middle child whose most distinctive characteristic is that there’s nothing seemingly distinctive about her.
Tuesday are so lame there aren’t even any good memes about it.
No one loves Tuesdays, but some really hate it because it’s basically a second Monday without the usual defenses built up to face the workweek. Even Monday is appreciated by those that love that new start-of-the-week smell.
Johnny Cash captured Tuesday disdain in his song “Wednesday Car:”
On Tuesday they’re about to come around
But they still feel bad and they’re kinda down
And mad cause they’ve got four more days before the weekend rolls around
Don’t take the Man in Black’s word for it. Two surveys in the UK found Tuesday was the most stressful day of the week and, perhaps relatedly, the day Brits had the least sex. No wonder that in Greece and a number of Spanish-speaking countries, Tuesdays are associated with bad luck.
And to be fair, some exciting events happen on Tuesdays.
Mardi Gras aka Fat Tuesday aka Shrove Tuesday — the last day before Catholics give up something unhealthy for Lent — takes place every February or March and is traditionally a day of carnivals, pancakes and other indulgences. (The French word for fat is “gras,” and for Tuesday is Mardi, in honor of the planet Mars.)
Every four years in America comes Tuesday excitement as well. On “Super Tuesdays,” US states scrummage together to winnow down our electable choices in primaries.
And US Election Day has been on Tuesdays going back as far as when it might take folks an entire (non-religious) day of travel to get to the polls. It’s on those Tuesdays that we elect and fire our leaders. “Fire day” is what the Japanese call Tuesdays, but like the French, it’s named after Mars (“fire star”), not after defeated politicians.
In Germanic languages, the word Tuesday, fittingly, comes from a now obscure Germanic god Tiwaz or the Norse god Tyr, both gods of war. Tyr is known for having only one hand, the other bitten off by a mythic wolf beast.
Sacrifice and war is Tuesday’s etymological legacy. Truly, the day is a loss or injury to the workweek. It’s not a start, end or even the middle. It’s only Tuesday.
The solution to Tiwaz’s day of craptasticness is to declare war on it. Commit to an activity you already love on this day and elevate Tuesday’s status. You can give yourself a reason to care about, or even look forward to it. Maybe that solution has been with us all along. Maybe it’s tacos.
Taco Tuesday, “the greatest couplet in the restaurant industry,” as Gustavo Arellano wrote on Thrillist.com, is a phrase caught in its own war — a battle over its origin story and copyright. We are just innocent beneficiaries of the alliterative advertising ploy.
Tacos can be a welcome, crumbly, delicious, layered distraction to get us over this last hump. But you can pick a better one. On the other side of Tuesday is a more suggestive day of humping: Wednesday (the subject of the next story in this series).
As for making Tuesdays better: Any day of the week holds the capacity to be your favorite. All it requires is taking control of it and bending it to your will, the subject of my story on hacking your week for CNN.com.