Beads, ear hoops and a head scarf – now there’s a bad boy look that goes way back.
Before Springsteen, before the Rolling Stones, before Hell’s Angels, there was… Tyrone Power?
Here’s visual evidence tracing hoops and headscarves back to 1942, when Power played a buccaneer who gets reformed by Maureen O’Hara. (What pirate could resist?) But it dates back at least a century before that.
Yes, long before seventies rock stars co-opted this look, little boys were wearing it on Halloween, having copied it from pirate movies, which were likely inspired by paintings and engravings of seafaring adventures.
Paintings in the Nantucket Whaling Museum show seamen, circa 1840s, wearing gold hoops in their ears, probably acquired on whaling voyages somewhere in the South Seas.
Ship captains from that era cultivated a more gentlemanly appearance. They were usually depicted with haughty pallor, Napoleonic sideburns, high collars and neck scarves.
But the swarthy, working-class sailors forced to do the sweaty stuff got to play around a bit with jewelry and tattoos – at least until they returned to uptight New England.
A century and a half later, men are still dressing like pirates. Now we call them bikers and rock stars.
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