Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Back when I was a wittle wee-one, sunglasses were associated with beatniks. People in our spankin'new-clean'machine suburban neighborhood knew those "cool cats" were a nefarious bunch.  Beatniks were associated with  illegal, negative, and wasteful activities - like bongo drums and poetry.  They wore black turtle necks and berets.  And tell me (mom said), who other than the devil himself wears a goatee?  [Never mind that my sweet husband Jeff is sporting a goatee even as I type this.  Never mind that this photo of my Dad was taken at the July 4th parade in 1952....]

These high school kids posed with their sunglasses on - indoors - because they knew this was 'How To Look Like A Dangerous Gang.'  Two of them even found berets.  [Is that a real goatee on the kid in the lower right corner??]  Everyone wanted to look mysterious in high shool.  It hid the fact that we mostly didn't know what the heck we were doing. 

My mother didn't want us to have sunglasses.  She said they were "meant for hiding" so "only bad people wear them."  Especially indoors. The only reason to hide your eyes indoors is if you're Up to No Good.   
According to the Internet, sunglasses were invented by the Chinese. In the 12th century!  The first lenses were made of smoky quartz, and were worn by Chinese judges in court (indoors) so that the witnesses they were questioning could not read their expressions. 
They were meant for hiding. Not for protecting eyes against the sun. 
Foster Grant brought sunglasses to Atlantic City in the late 1920's, as part of Beach Fashion.  But you know what they do in Atlantic City.  Gamble.  At least.  
Ray Ban brought sunglasses to our aviator pilots in the late 1930's.  Cool.  Definitely cool.  But military.  Strictly for the military.  And beatniks.     
Sometime in the 60's, sunglasses became mainstream....Jackie O wore them.  She not only wore shades, she wore Really Big shades.  And sexy Hollywood stars wore them.  (After all, the bright lights of the Hollywood stage were REALLY bright.)
But in my highschool, only drug addicts wore shades.  I wanted to wear them, but I sure didn't want my mom suspecting I was into drugs.  So I squinted my way through volleyball practice, and shaded my eyes with my hand while I sat on the bench, watching my teammates play basketball. 

Nowadays we ALL wear sunglasses, pretty much every time we go outside.  Even babies have sunglasses.  The sun is far too bright - brighter than it used to be, right? - for our eyes to stay healthy without them.  Every store has a rack full of shades.  My car is bristling with sunglasses.  They're in the glove compartment, and in the cup holders - which means they're everywhere, because there are 15,000 cup holders in my car.... 
Even so, I still have these squint-lines above my nose.  Probably my mom's fault. 

I also have a pair of reflective sunglasses.  When I was younger, I hated the reflective shades.  Cops wore them.  Nobody else did.   Until the late 80's, when Tom Cruise wore them in the movie Top Gun. 

It's tough to talk to someone when they're wearing reflective sunglasses.  You have to watch your own confused face, instead of looking into their eyes.  I've had quite a number of agility lessons during which  instructors wore reflective sunglasses.  I had to fight against the distraction of it, and against automatic feelings of guilt.  I always try to look elsewhere...down at my dog, or out into the distance.  Unless I'm also wearing mirror glasses.  Then my instructor and I can look at each other and not see any specific expression in the eyes....just those reflections - reflecting....and reflecting....and reflecting....

So I don't wear sunglasses when I run my dog.  I keep thinking he needs to see my eyes - that he needs to see where I'm looking.  He may even need to read my mood - although he's certainly capable of that without looking at my eyes.  (And my squint-lines are getting deeper, but - whatever.)

Lots of folks do wear shades when they run their dogs, and they WIN, too.  It's possible they can see where they're going better than I can.  Nothing like a big fat eye-full-of-glare to disorient someone and result in an off-course.  So it could be that my "no shades" thing is just a goofy idea.   

Maybe I'll try to keep track this coming weekend at the HT trial. 
1)  Who's wearing sunglasses while they run?  
                    1a) Did they do it on purpose, or just forget to take them off?
2)  Does it help? 
3)  Do they get doggy kisses afterwards? 

1 comment:

Elf said...

I was in high school in the early '70s. I and some friends had regularly scheduled days when we wore our dark turtlenecks, matching navy blue berets, and sunglasses. I loved mirrored sunglasses back then; they seemed to fit with the package. (Oh, and none of us did drugs or anythin' like that. It was just the Cool Factor.)

When I started agility, some instructor or trainer suggested that the dogs might have trouble seeing your eyes if you were wearing sunglasses, so for a long time, I didn't wear them. But my dogs don't seem to care (although I don't wear mirrored ones any more), and in agility, really, it's all about the total body language, and you could probably wear a paper bag over your head and still not mess up your dog if your body language (and sometimes those verbals) were still working OK.

So I haven't cared about wearing sunglasses or not for years. When I had separate sunglasses from my prescription glasses, I think they were darker--I had to take them off to work the score table. But the last 3 years or so I have lenses that just change color, so I never change glasses at all and don't even think about it.

However, if I went back to regular glasses, I'd still wear sunglasses in the sun, (a) because that squinty thing can get pretty painful for me after a while and (b) my Eye Guy Doctor Person says to wear sunglasses.

You can get sunglasses for dogs, too, but USDAA wouldn't let them in the ring.

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