A Sailor’s Scarf For A Land Lubber

I have spent a lot of time next to the sea, relatively speaking. Stood atop the cliffs of The Isle of Sheppey, in Kent, I was a literal stone’s throw away from the wide open ocean, and the exotic lands of, er, France and Holland, beyond. This does not make me a willing sea-farer, though. Far from it. Looking out to the seemingly endless ocean fills me with a sense of foreboding, making me realise how small and insignificant one person really is. I have a fear of water in any large volume, though I could swim (note ‘could‘ swim – this is not a mistake in my use of tenses… You know when they say that once you learn to swim you can never forget? They lie. I swear, I tried so hard to regain that magical skill that might help prevent drowning, but no amount of willpower, bravery or panicked flailing of limbs would aid the prevention of a slow-sinking Mimi, dragged beneath by what she assumes was her bottom.) Boats are no better – twice I have crossed the channel by ferry, and each time I was piteously seasick. A scurvy sea-dog I am not.

Still, sailors are cute, right? I mean, the uniforms have a sort of fun campness about them. I have a little navy sweater with a striped navy and white shirt underneath, a little bow at the neck. Yes, I am that person. Is it just a navy jumper and shirt or fancy dress? The genius is in the ambiguity. What might just tip it over the edge, though, would be a little navy sailors scarf…

So what is a sailor’s scarf and how does it differ from a standard scarf? Well, for one it smells of salt and has bits of seaweed strewn around it, I’d guess. More importantly, though, it sports a narrow middle section, only 2″ or so wide, which fits around the neck, the two ends of a more standard width resting across the chest. Why would this shape benefit a sea-farin’ man? I have no idea. I have extensively researched (read: had a quick Google) and I can’t find reasons why this might be advantageous to someone battling the vicious winds up deck. To give less fabric – and so less protection – to the neck, which might seem to be the area which a scarf was best fit to save from the wind, seems counter-intuitive, but then my sea-bourne credentials are less than inspiring, so what would I know? Clearly, the most important function of this scarf is that it is irresistibly cute.

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