Friday, June 12, 2009

Sunglasses At Night

The other day, I got a new pair of sunglasses. I had been looking at them for weeks and weeks and quite unexpectedly I ended up getting them. They are by far the most fantastic pair I have ever owned and I am not sure if the best part is how they look or the “Tom Ford” etched into the top of the glass. They are just so yummy, I could lick them. Of course, as luck would have it, no sooner did the salesman put the bag in my hand than the sky clouded over and the rain started. Try as I might, I just can’t carry of the ‘sunglasses in the rain’ look. Nor can I look hip and cool wearing them in movie theaters, restaurants, or anytime I find myself in a situation when the sun isn’t in my eyes.

And that was my dilemma later that same day. I returned to Khan Market where I got them, and was also having dinner that evening. I took them with me as they needed a tiny bit of adjusting. They were a millimeter or so off center and that is just not on. That done I went to the restaurant and there I sat, cocktail in one hand, while the other was busy petting the case that held the sunglasses. It was then I realized my problem; I am not Italian.

I have tried to be Italian. I have adopted ‘ciao’ as my greeting of choice, taken to drinking espresso and spending far too much on unneeded footwear that would stay unworn in their box in the closet. I have spent hours roaming Milan, pretending not to speak English to foreigners coming up to me and all my bags asking for directions and for an extremely brief period of time, I would use the expression ‘mamma mia!’ whenever something shocked or surprised me, which tended to bring looks of shock and surprise from those around me. But alas, even after all that, I never became Italian.

And that is what got in my way as I sat in the dimly lit lounge bar petting my sunglasses instead of pulling them out and putting them on. I pulled them out a few times so people nearby could get a good look and be jealous, but I just could not get myself to put them on. If I were Italian, putting them on and wearing them for the rest of the night would have been the most natural thing. In fact, it would be expected. No self respecting Italian would ever leave home without them and a backup collection, just in case. And then I devised a plan. If I pretended to clean them, then I could at least put them on for a few seconds to see if they were indeed clean. It would be during those seconds that I would look around the place slowly, acting as thought I were looking for renegade dust flecks, thereby modeling them briefly but still keeping my dignity intact.

So I pulled them out along with the matching and appropriately branded cleaning cloth and got to work. And once I felt I had given a convincing performance, I put them on and started to scan the room looking for admirers. And then I saw him. The guy just a few meters ahead of me wearing a polo shirt with the collar turned up and a pair of lesser sunglasses. I wondered if we should throw down and let our eyewear battle it out in a sort of 8-mile meets Tom Ford confrontation, but decided against it. I decided that mine were so fabulous that there would be no competition. Then I realized, not only were his glasses not incredible, I would go so far as to say they were the anti-fabulous. There are some things that are just so bad that they are actually cool, but those did not qualify. I immediately took mine off and put them away. I was scared that if the two pairs of eyewear should occupy the same time and space, that they would cancel each other out and I would be left holding nothing but the remains of the sunglasses that once were.

It was with great sadness I decided to retire them for the night. But like the song says ‘the sun’ll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun’. And there was. And I was happy.

And fabulously shaded.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hmmm, wearing the sunglasses in a confident, Italian way just requires a bit of practice. But it's quite easy. What you have to do is to consider your sunglasses as normal glasses: without them you wouldn't see anything. Day or night, above or underground, winter or summer, inside or outside, there are no difference. It certainly helps when everyone else around you does it. When I am in Paris, and I wear my sunglasses in the subway on a February evening, say, people tend to look at me as if I was the weirdo (that I truly am) - once it's clear to them I am no celebrity whatsoever.
    Yet, please, Robb, wear your sunglasses all'italiana as much as you want, but please, do not become too Italian. Do it for me... :-)