SUNGLASSES

June 30, 2010

“Now go out and get yourself some big black frames with the glass so dark they won’t even know your name, and the choice is up to you ‘cause they come in two classes: Rhinestone shades or cheap sunglasses…oh yeeaahh!…oh yeeaahh!…oh yeeaahh!”  -ZZ Top 

Sunglasses. If you’re an American, you wear them. Even if you don’t wear them often, you at least own them. So, they must be very important, at least very useful. Given their popularity, sunglasses are obviously very essential and must fulfill some need that mankind had been lacking until their creation. We are lucky to be Americans, lucky to be a part of the Western World rather then live in some country where you don’t see sunglasses as often. Otherwise we’d have to somehow make it through each day with out these handy little tools. But what exactly are sunglasses used for? What do they do?

To answer that we need to first consider what glasses are. Glasses are the mother of sunglasses, they were created first, and they essentially help you see. Two lenses held together by some metal or plastic that are rested on the brim of your nose with a little help from the poles that are attached and rest on your ears. When age gets the best of you and your vision begins to fade, or if you are born with bad vision, just go to the eye-doctor and he can adjust the lenses to your needs and you’ll be seeing clearly in no time. It’s quite a miracle! Glasses have been keeping intelligent people from becoming blind beggars for hundreds of years. Sunglasses are simply glasses with dark lenses; the best part is you don’t have to have poor vision to use them! So why use them? To block out the sun, that giant globe of light in the sky that helps provide life to our entire planet. They keep the glare out of our eyes. When our pupils are just not able to constrict enough, you can pull out your handy pair of sunglasses, rest them on your nose and in moments you are able to see again. You look that mean old sun right in the eye and… Well sort of, they’re not that good. Unless they’ve got UV protection! This is a danger that we are all in need of protection from, even though we really don’t know much about UV rays, scientists have determined they will burn your eyes out and give you skin cancer, and the intelligent people of our day wouldn’t lie. So we purchase the more expensive pair and we can ride down I-95 South from Wilmington (which really must be heading West) right before dusk with full confidence that since we have our sunglasses on we aren’t going to go blind. And who knows how many accidents have been prevented from wearing sunglasses and blocking out glare?

But other then these extreme moments, do people really need their sunglasses as much as they are wearing them? Walk down any American street, even when the weather is considered only “partly sunny” and you’ll find that most people are wearing sunglasses. Corey Hart even wears his at night; however, to this day, it’s not quite clear why. Consider how many different types and styles of sunglasses we have now! What is this phenomenon? Why are people so worried about their eyes? Are they that delicate? And shouldn’t somebody clue in those who aren’t wearing sunglasses? Perhaps they can’t afford them? Maybe the government should start a new program handing out sunglasses to poor people and educating the public about the dangers of UV light! Or maybe there is some other ulterior motive that causes these people to wear their sunglasses, even on a cloudy day.

Perhaps we can find out if we look at some of the different types of sunglasses. We have to start with those huge things that only old people seem to be wearing. These are large, dark, see-through plastic cases that fit over an entire pair of regular glasses, they make their wearers look like some kind of cyborg and only serve to make old people seem even more scary to little kids. Aren’t the elderly aware of clip-ons? Clip-ons are what they sound like, they are two flimsy lenses that clip-on in front of our regular lenses. However, most people under the age of 45 will chose to purchase a whole different pair of prescription sunglasses.

Prescription sunglasses are available in almost as many types of regular sunglasses. We’ve got sports wear; these are usually flashy and multicolored, and they look like they are somehow aerodynamic. They come with straps because in the fast paced world of sports they might fly off or your face. Mostly surfers and skiers who really need them for their work wear them. Ocean and snow are both forms of water and water reflects light, so it is essential that they avoid as much glare as possible. An intelligent consumer would want to purchase these, however much they may cost, because they are worn by someone to whom sunglasses are essential, they obviously will be the best kind. Never mind that intelligent businessmen will pay famous sports stars lots of money to wear their products so those intelligent consumers will then go out and purchase them.

Speaking of businessmen, what type of sunglasses do they wear? Sleek, modern, efficient looking lenses are the order of the day for professionals. These babies are durable, flexible and lightweight all at the same time!  Sunglasses are essential for these men and women because they tend to work in Center City where all the high-rises are made of glass and with out their sunglasses they may become disoriented from the reflecting light and not be able to find their way back to their clients.

Compare these to the wild and crazy types of sunglasses that the less important people on the streets and in the bars are wearing. These are the kind of glasses that can be found on Elton John’s dashboard and the more eccentric the better. Like all the other types of glasses, these are clearly only used to portray a type of image to everyone else. They are a mark of identity. They are saying to the world “This is the type of man or woman I believe I am, or at least I pretend to be!” Specific sunglasses enhance any aspect of a person’s personality that he/she thinks is cool. When people put on a pair of sunglasses they tend to strut their stuff a little bit more. They become just a little more bold and daring. Admit it, when you put on your sunglasses, and I know you have them, you think you are cool. At least a little more so then when you take them off. But how did wearing sunglasses come to signify coolness in a person? It’s simply that our modern day outlaws wear them: rock stars and movie stars.

Anyone who watches the movies knows that if a star wants to operate in normal society they need to disguise themselves so as not become run over by their fans. How do they do this? Well, according to those same movies, they simply put on a pair of sunglasses. Never mind the thousands of photos we’ve seen of them wearing sunglasses and looking cool. But this brings us to the real reason that Americans find sunglasses so appealing; they are masks. No one in our society can really allow anyone else to know who we really are, and our eyes are the windows of the soul; aren’t they? It is just safer to keep them covered. It’s not always a negative thing, sometimes we don our sunglasses and we become the Lone Ranger or El Zorro and we can save a damsel in distress with more confidence and boldness. Sometimes we are just trying to hold back the tears and the dark covering allows us some more space. Yet, some men use the covering to obtain more freedom to watch; while some women need sunglasses to cover up the damage done by a jealous man. Whatever the reason, ours is a society where everyone has something to hide, and sunglasses are just another expression of the many masks we wear to cover up our souls and to block out the glare of truth. Because when our eyes are used to darkness, the glare of light hurts, and when we are used to living in a lie, the light of truth hurts our souls the same way.

Peter L Richardson
October, 2002

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8 Responses to “SUNGLASSES”


  1. They are not restricted to fashion accessory but they are also a safety device used by navigators, water sportsmen, skiers, and drivers. Other Water Sports


  2. SUNGLASSES…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  3. Chester Says:

    I bought a pair of Serengeti Drivers for about $100 way back in the 1980’s. It was the first pair of decent sunglasses I ever owned – full UV protection and polarized lenses. I could finally see well while riding my motorcycle thru the canyons of Colorado.
    I had them less than a week. I took them off while stopping in the canyon to look at a beautiful part of the stream.
    I started riding back to the bar where my band was playing that night. I made it 5 minutes away and realized I didn’t have them. Hooked a u-turn and went back to the spot. Glasses were GONE. Stolen in less than 5 minutes. Taught me a lesson: Keep track of your sunglasses.
    Now I own a pair of Serengeti Drivers, paid a little over $100 for them. I’ve had them for over 10 years. They have climbed mountains, they’ve rafted down rivers, they’s ridden the new motorcycle. That’s about $10 a year for eye protection. Looks like I learned my lesson.
    Peace – Chester

    • peterrock12 Says:

      Yeah, I’ve got prescription now, so I really gotta keep track of them. I used to buy the cheap dollar store sunglasses, so I wouldn’t have to worry about losing them. Oh well…


  4. my mom is an eye doctor and she always tell me to never squint my eyes and watch too much dvd movie:”`


  5. eye doctors are specially helpful whenever you have some eye problems *~’

  6. greengirlgret Says:

    I have at least 4 pairs of sunglasses, they have to match what I’m wearing! My newest pair are a pair of aviator polarized sunglasses, and they’re my first polarized pair. I don’t like wearing them much in the car, because I can’t read my radio, but they’re great for having on the boat.


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