Sunday, November 26, 2006

Out Of The Ether

Tiscali UK Ltd asks "Why do sailors wear bell bottoms?"
hmmm ...
Among the answers I know is that, after it became common for sailors to change their clothes (at all, at all), they sailed in ships that were likely to be:
  • attacked at any time; or
  • were likely to catch a fire
Fireman will tell you that sleeping in fire retardant pants is not pleasant. Yet, getting into one's clobber quickly is very important when the station house bell is ringing.
More so for sailors when a sudden attack lit the companionway to the magazine. Worse, when the oil bunkers caught afire, instant action was required.
For the watch on deck this is not a problem. They are dressed and ready to go.
Since it became acceptable-- and possible -- to sleep in something other then one's workaday clothes, the off watch was in a quandary.
Comfort called for divestment. Readiness called for assumables and shoon. That is: sleep comfortable and be ready to die putting on your clothes; or sleep in your boots and be ready to go without your pants; OR jump out of your hammock in your boots into your pants that get wider toward the bottom to go over your clodhoppers.

If that is too techno-babble an answer how about this:
The girls love a handsome sailor in bell bottoms.

For this reason the US Navy decided to retire bell bottoms as part of the uniform at the height of the winding down of the US-Vietnam conflict when capitalist fashion designers declared the bell bottom IN.

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