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cape horn, ear rings and eating with your feet on the table

Cape Horn

Traditionally, a sailor who had rounded the Horn was entitled to wear a gold loop earring — in the left ear, the one which had faced the Horn in a typical eastbound passage — and to dine with one foot on the table; a sailor who had also rounded the Cape of Good Hope could place both feet on the table. A sailor who had sailed around Cape Horn was also able to brag by showing off his tattoo of a full-rigged ship.

So the next time you are in some fancy city club or trendy little pavement cafe and you engage a chap with such an earring you are best advised to treat him with a little respect, not all sailors are sweeties.

Though not all sweeties are sailors, these days.

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