Hi everyone and welcome to part 2 of Stuff Simone Likes. Next chapter I am planning something a lil bit more scandalous however the topic today is why I like sunglasses. So without further ado…
Because Sunglasses hide your emotions: We all know sunglasses are great for when we need to look all detached and badass, cause we all know detached and badass is the epitome of cool to some people. Having a really bad or tragic day? just throw on a pair of shades and who would know?
Sunglasses effectively hide our eyes and our eyes are the windows to our souls after all. We know some poker players wear sunglasses for the same reason, why wouldn’t you want to hide your tells at the table? One thing you may not know, as early as the 12th century in China they were believed integral to the justice system.
In 12th century China judges wore early sunglasses with lenses made out of smoky quartz, so as to hide their emotions from the parties involved, allowing them to keep their verdict to themselves till judgement. Apparently these quartz sunglasses did little to stop UV rays or correct vision. Marco Polo among others commented on these early sunglasses being wore by their judges and other court staff.
Because 9 out of 10 doctors recommend them: These days medical professionals (probably 10 out of 10?) would tell us we should protect our eyes while outdoors, however wearing sunglasses for our health goes all the way back to the 18th century.
From the 1740s to his death in 1759 the British optician James Ayscough experimented with glasses with blue or green lenses. He wasn’t interested in eye protection so much as trying to find another way of correcting poor vision. In the 19th Century Europe suffered from a massive outbreak of syphilis. With the discovery of penicillin a century off some doctors turned to glasses, this time with yellow or brown lenses, to cut exposure to UV light. Sufferers of syphilis are reputed to be very light sensitive after all.
Because the job calls for it: For well over a thousand years many inuit people fashioned sun blocking glasses to allow themselves to go out into the snow to hunt. Far from traditional sunglasses they were fashioned from walrus ivory, totally covering the eyes but for two horizontal slits they could only just see out of.
While there is no doubt some early movie actors wore sunglasses to not be recognized in public one thing that has been suggested is many of them wore sunglasses off screen to hide the damage caused by standing in front of the super powerful arc lights needed to light them in early films. Of course as cameras got better less powerful lights were needed but by this point movie stars and sunglasses were synonymous.
Of course there is also our 12th century Chinese judges, aviators, drivers, even astronauts who consider a good pair of shades essential.
Because shades make for better chickens: In 1903 a gentleman by the name of Andrew Jackson Jr put in the first patent for rose tinted glasses for chickens. In the decades following millions of rose tinted glasses were sold for our chicken friends. Why? Because chickens are apparently cannibalistic and if another chicken in the coop gets injured the others will peck it to death then eat it, but if they have pink glasses on they cannot see the blood – hence no blood lust. Do they still do this? Nope, it was effectively banned in the 1980s.
Because shades are just cool: The first cheap sunglasses to hit the markets were all the way back in 1929, a gentleman called Sam Foster began selling them en- masse to the people of Atlantic city New Jersey. That shades are still en vogue today says much to me. Think of John Lennon and immediately the round rimmed “Teashade” glasses come to mind, Roy Orbison, Ray Ban Wayfarers. General Douglas McArthur and post Bealtes era Ringo Starr never seemed to be photographed without a pair of Aviators on. Thinking of aviators imagine the film Top Gun without them. John F Kennedy may have changed fashion in the western world by dispensing with men wearing hats everywhere but his widow Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis made such an impact wearing shades Jacquie O’s are still named after her. In short sunglasses are cool.
So why do I like sunglasses? in short a little of all the above. When I need to keep emotional distance from others they are there. Because while I am totally STD free I do have incredibly light sensitive eyes, compounded with tear ducts that don’t work and outside of simply needing shades for driving or out at the beach I often need them on a cloudy day or even indoors, otherwise I will have a shocking headache by days end. Because sunglasses are just cool, full stop. Chickens? well I guess that’s just fun trivia?
Thanks for reading people, something a bit shocking in a few weeks time 🙂