This morning while putting on my jeans I realized I was missing two belt loops. I checked another pair of jeans and they also were missing a belt loop. Noticing a pattern I quickly opened up my bottom drawer and pulled out a pair of khaki shorts…a single belt loop was missing!
How did this happen?
Where did they go?
Is this only happening to me?
The answers must be out there and since I’m at the peak of my curiosity on Wednesdays, albeit with a slight case of ADD, I decided to search for the answers.
There are only four living species of three-toed sloths:
The Brown-throated Sloth, the Maned Sloth, the Pale-throated Sloth, and the Pygmy Three-toed Sloth.
Hmmm interesting, but back to why my belt loops are missing. The end of the 8th century is where we first hear of the Vikings. These ruthless raiders would periodically storm in from the sea on their massive ships to plunder, kill and destroy, pretty much at will. “From the fury of the Northmen, deliver us, O Lord” was a prayer uttered frequently by those who feared their wrath. Ravagers, despoilers, pagans, heathens, big-bad meanies-such names were given to Vikings by those who lived in the British Isles during medieval times. Vikings were a brave people, unafraid of battle and bloodshed. Some say they were ruled by this thirst for blood and thus considered barbaric and uncivilized.
But that view is wildly skewed. The Vikings were indeed great and fearsome warriors, but they were also traders, master metalworkers and intrepid explorers. Their skills allowed them to develop effective armor for battle which brought them great conquests and riches.
The concept of the Belt is sometimes credited to the Vikings who would take long straps of leather and braid them. These belts were known for their nearly unbreakable strength, no doubt encouraged by the moist climate of the region which prevented the leather from becoming too dry. With the advent of the belt also came its use in armor. One problem that existed at that time was due to the weight of the armor. As the Vikings would charge towards villages the armor would sag and begin to fall down their hips. This would slow them down and create a less than effective ability to fight.
And so came the incorporation of the belt in Viking armor. A series of loops were fashioned into the armor design. This allowed the long braided leather straps to be tightened around the waist of each Viking warrior, thus keeping the armor in place and allowing maximum movement in battle.
During the 11th century a trend began among those in battle that was used to measure one’s superiority.
Vikings would challenge one another to remove loops from their armor. This action would cause the armor to sag and create a handicap for the warrior donning it. Should the Viking be successful in battle and survive they were received with great respect and favor. Following battle they would be treated like kings and have first rights to the spoils of war. The more loops removed, the greater the honor. Many a Viking were lost in battle, but the reward and honor were to enticing.
Many scholars point to this practice as the reason why the Viking empire stopped growing. Despite attempts to prohibit this action, Viking leaders could only watch as this pattern continued to take hold. Their self-destructive nature continued until their final battle in what would soon become known as Blar a’Bhuailte, or “Field of the Stricken”. The Vikings took on thousands of casualties, no doubt caused by the complete removal of their belt loops. These once unbeatable warriors were soon defeated. Following this final defeat those survivors found without their armor’s loops were asked why they refused their King’s command. Not one warrior recalled having removed the loops themselves. Word soon spread through the already heavily superstitious people that Loki, the Norse God of Mischief was responsible for removing the belt loops, a rumor that would have been far to believable at that time to be untrue.
The Viking culture shortly afterwards faded as another emerged, European Christendom.
So there you have it. Loki is responsible for the sudden disappearance of my belt loops. Just as the Viking warriors of old I too must be engaged in battle. But then again, aren’t we all?
So mind your belt loops my friends and keep that armor firmly in place…
or just wear Suspenders, Loki doesn’t mess with Suspenders.