Unpaid internships get a bad rap these days. But back in the halcyon days of the late 1990s, a White House internship, a little blue dress and lack of hygiene was all it took to propel you to the ultimate heights of stain history.
It was in 1995 that Monica Lewinsky began an internship in Washington, D.C., and shortly afterward, developed a relationship with the very married President Bill Clinton. She wound up spending so much time in close proximity to the commander in chief that her bosses sent her to the Pentagon to avoid any appearance of impropriety.
But Lewinsky made the mistake of telling a co-worker, Linda Tripp, that she'd had encounters of a sexual nature with the president. She even mentioned that one of her dresses still bore the bodily fluid stains from one of their escapades.
Tripp, as it turned out, hated Clinton's guts. And she knew that a stained dress bearing DNA evidence of philandering could cause the president all sorts of problems. So she recorded her phone conversations with Lewinsky and turned the tapes over to officials.
Clinton used every linguistic loophole he could to deny his relationship with Lewinsky. But when confronted with DNA evidence recovered from the dress stain, he was cornered. Eventually, the president admitted that he'd had an "improper relationship" with the intern.
The scandal didn't quite unravel his presidency the way Tripp and other foes hoped. Lewinsky, however, became forever infamous for her little blue dress causing a really big mess.
Author's Note: 10 Infamous Stains
Stains are generally, well, a pain. You scrub your clothes or carpet in a frantic effort to remove them, and all too often those stubborn marks come out on top. Yet stains also tell interesting stories. Take my running shirts. Some of those shirts have seen hundreds of sweaty miles in the sun. They're steeped in yellowish sweat stains, sunscreen, road grime and blood ... and they smell like it, no matter how many times I wash them. Instead of fighting those intractable stains, I wear them with pride. After all, they are a visible reminder of the hard workouts I've slaved through for months and years of my life.
- Abraham Lincoln Online. "Lincoln Assassination Rocking Chair." (June 20, 2013) http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/education/arocker.htm
- Art and the Bible. "Joseph's Bloodstained Coat Is Shown to Jacob." (June 20, 2013).
- BBC News. "Why I Kept 'That Dress.'" Sept. 24, 1998. (June 20, 2013) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/events/clinton_under_fire/tapes_and_transcripts/176949.stm
- Bible Gateway. "Genesis 37." (June 20, 2013) http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+37&version=NKJV
- Bookman, Todd. "Bonnie and Clyde's Guns, Other Items Go on Auction." NPR. Sept. 26, 2012. (June 20, 2013) http://www.npr.org/2012/09/26/161696072/bonnie-and-clydes-guns-other-items-go-on-auction
- Brawley, Steve. "Historic in Pink." Pinkpillbox. (June 20, 2013) http://www.pinkpillbox.com/pinksuit.htm
- CNN. "Judge: Jury Can Consider Stain in Trunk of Casey Anthony's Car." Apr. 22, 2011. (June 20, 2013).
- CNN. "Lewinsky's Little Blue Dress Has Washington All Atwitter." Aug. 2, 1998. (June 20, 2013) http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/08/02/lewinsky.dress/
- Covington, Richard. "Marie Antoinette." Smithsonian. November 2006. (June 20, 2013) http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/biography/marieantoinette.html
- Fraser, Antonia. "Marie Antoinette: The Journey." First Anchor. 2002.
- Goldoni, Carlo. "The Shroud of Turin and Bilirubin Blood Stains." Ohio Shroud Conference. 2008. (June 20, 2013) http://www.ohioshroudconference.com/papers/p04.pdf
- Hayes, Ashley. "Expert: Primary Compound Found in Casey Anthony Trunk was Gasoline." CNN. June 22, 2011. (June 20, 2013) http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/06/22/florida.casey.anthony.trial/index.html
- Kahn, Eve M. "Bloodstains With a Story: The Allure of Artifacts Linked to Famous Crimes." NY Times. Sept. 13, 2012. (June 20, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/arts/design/gangsters-outlaws-and-artifacts-of-their-crime-sprees.html?_r=0
- Lubin, David. "Jackie's Bloodstained Pink Suit is a Sacred Relic of a Nightmare." Seattle Pi. Nov. 22, 2003. (June 20, 2013) http://www.seattlepi.com/default/article/Jackie-s-blood-stained-pink-suit-is-a-sacred-1130305.php
- Ringle, Ken. "Smithsonian Snubs Lewinsky's Dress." Washington Post. Mar. 5, 1999. (June 20, 2013) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/lilbluedress030599.htm
- RR Auction. "Item 24 – Bonnie and Clyde Death Car Items." Sept. 2012. (June 20, 2013) http://www.rrauction.com/past_auction_item.cfm?ID=3271189
- Schofield, Hugh. "Paris Exhibition Reexamines Marie Antoinette." The Telegraph. Mar. 15, 2008. (June 20, 2013) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1581786/Paris-exhibition-re-examines-Marie-Antoinette.html
- Sable, Charles. "The Lincoln Rocker." The Henry Ford Museum. (June 20, 2013) http://www.thehenryford.org/exhibits/pic/2012/12_april.asp
- Spartacus Educational. "Mark Antony." (June 20, 2013) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ROMmarkantony.htm
- Spartacus Educational. "Julius Caesar." (June 20, 2013) http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ROMcaesar.htm
Is stainless steel really impossible to stain? Learn whether stainless steel is impossible to stain at HowStuffWorks.