(fun-necessary-unnecessary listicle)

Scientists have recently proved that our ears are as special and unique as fingerprints. This part of the body is believed to play an important role in determining the character and behavioral tendencies of a person. Every detail in the structure, location or size of the ears is responsible for certain, good or bad, human qualities, which can change over the life course, because it is known for sure that ears, just like noses, never stop growing. As do legends and myths about the mysterious organ of hearing.


In the middle of the last century, French physician Paul Nozières noticed that our ear resembled a human embryo, with its head down. Thus, the earlobe is ‘responsible’ for the human head, and the outer edge is a spine projection.


The most famous ear in the world is the one of Vincent Van Gogh’s, bandaged on his no less famous self-portrait. In psychiatry, there is even such a notion as Van Gogh syndrome, when a patient performs self-mutilation or insists on a particular surgery. According to one version, Van Gogh cut off part of his ear during one of his psychotic episodes, another one says that Paul Gauguin did it during a fight with Van Gogh because of a prostitute called Rachel. In the third version, he cut it after a bottle of absinthe.


In ancient Tibet, the government was very creative and imposed a tax on… ears! One coin had to be paid for each ear and was used for military needs. One ear was cut off those who did not want or could not pay the tax, which, by the way, reduced the payments in the future.


The legendary ‘Go’ game between Inoue Genan Inseki and Honinbo Shusaku took place on September 11, 1846. Till the middle of the game, most of the viewers were thinking that the whites were winning, and only a doctor expressed an opinion that it was the blacks, “I am not very good at Go” , but when Shusaku played this move, Genan’s ears turned red. It means that this move ruined his plans and was unexpected. Since then, this game has been called the ‘ear-reddening game.’


The incomparable Amélie — Audrey Tautou — had a lot of troubles because of her big ears in her childhood: neighborhood boys would laugh at the girl and invent new insulting nicknames for her every day. Little Audrey came up with an interesting solution then: the girl learned to masterfully move her ears! And the mockery turned into envy: quite soon the future film star started giving workshops on ear moving for the neighborhood kids.


From antiquity to this day, many representatives of the stronger sex have favored it. It was gladly worn by ancient Greek slaves and American Indians, hot Caucasian guys and freedom-loving gypsies, sailors and refined royalty. It was an adornment of any man, a proud aristocrat or a typical tramp, was a symbol of his power, saved from diseases and evil spirits. Any guesses? Yes, it’s a man’s earring! You can see this piece of jewelry in gentlemen’s earlobes in paintings by Rembrandt and Spanish court artists, in different centuries, different countries, different layers of society, from European aristocrats to Ukrainian Cossacks.


When we talk about a man with an earring, we immediately picture a pirate. But they pierced their ears and cheeks not only to be handsome. Each earring meant a conquered ship. Navigators pierced their ears after crossing the equator. If you have an earring, then you have the right for one free mug of alcohol in port taverns and you can easily put your feet up on the table. According to filibuster beliefs, gold earrings protected corsairs from evil sea spirits  — perhaps the only creatures those fearless explorers were afraid of.

Besides, I would like to add one more idea expressed by Mark Twain one hundred years ago, “Drag your thoughts away from your troubles…by the ears…or any other way you manage it.” I guess it is a good idea to be mentioned too.

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