Why did pirates wear earrings?
Well, there are a quite a few theories, but also some hard facts.
This’d be a fact: was you a sailor up until around the year 1800, you would get yourself an earring to signify to them what saw you that you had survived a shipwreck. A sailor with two earrings, one in each ear, why, that fellow had survived two shipwrecks. Three earrings, three shipwrecks, and so on.
I read a theory that pirates also wore earrings as a way to show their wealth. The danglies alongside their head would tell you at a glance whether this is a successful brigand, or simply a wannabe.
While there is a little merit to this theory – who doesn’t want to advertise their success? – it runs into a bit of a problem when you think who pirates were.
And by, who pirates were, I mean who pirates ARE, because there are a great many seafaring pirates out there today. Those guys with Uzis and motorboats that attack oil tankers and freighters in the waters off Indonesia – thugs with machine guns and grenades – are every bit as much a pirate as Long John Silver and Captain Jack Sparrow.
If one of these modern day pirates were caught, say, by the Somalian Navy, they’d be hanged on the spot, and the world would cheer to be rid of the nasty fellow. As a consequence, modern day pirates keep a low profile, for fear of getting caught.
The pirates of the Caribbean were no different. Vicious, rapacious murderers, they had nothing in their minds beyond what was in it for them. Although they had some degree of brotherhood between themselves, they were viewed as a plague, and their hangings were accompanied by cheers from those that witnessed it.
So, would a pirate walk about, surrounded by thieves and cutthroats, wearing a fortune dangling from his ears? One has to wonder…
Another theory says that a pirate wore his fortune on his ears that he might get a decent burial. I be dead, says I, but use me earrings to afford me a grave, would ye?
As above, surrounded by thieves and cutthroats, one simply must wonder.
– Hey, mate,Bob just died. And he’s got a fortune in diamonds hanging from his ear.
-Don’t take them earrings, Jake. Bob wants us to use them to pay for his funeral.
-Bob’s dead, mate – he don’t need no funeral. Shove him over the side – but gimme them earrings, first.
Why did pirates wear earrings? Well, was they a sailor, it showed how many shipwrecks they survived. And, some chaps just liked the look of ’em. That’d be the true of it!