As a philosopher – that is, a comedian – it is my job to notice and comment on the absurdities of everyday life. Case in point: I was at Costco last week when I saw a tourist, 50ish, looking tired, truly balding, sporting his sunglasses on the back of his head, upside-down. Putting aside for a moment that it was cloudy outside and had been all day, thus, no need for sunglasses to begin with, this father of at least two brats who didn’t want to be seen with him went to great lengths to accessorize in a manner that even the “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” gang couldn’t correct.
I first recognized this trend of men putting their shades on the back of their head about two years or so ago. Although this was the first time I’ve seen anyone put them on the back of their head upside-down, doing so made only slightly less sense than putting sunglasses on the back of the head right-side up. At least if the sunglasses are right-side up, the frames stand a chance of keeping the glasses on your head. Sure, you may be thinking that if your sunglasses are on the back of your head upside-down, you can just bring them over the top of your head and they’re on. Only, why wouldn’t you just keep your shades on top of your head if you thought you were going to need them? You’d spend far less energy getting them on your face if needed, which is where I see the absurdity of this fashion trend; the energy required to put sunglasses on the back of the head doesn’t make sense when you consider the energy required to put them where they don’t belong. It’s even a little ironic when you consider how lazy Americans generally are.
Of course, when has a fashion trend ever made sense? Remember the whole ripped jeans thing (which some people are still trying to do)? It doesn’t make sense to me how such trends get started, at least among men. [Fashion makes much more sense among women who kowtow to mob mentality more easily.] Think about it; somewhere at some time, one guy had to have seen another guy wearing his shades on the back of his head and thought it was such a cool idea that he had to do it, too. The rest, as Karl Marx would say, is history. Except that when you’re a tourist, 50ish, looking tired, and truly balding, you’re not going to pull this fashion statement off. Neither can 90% of the rest of the population. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon which side of this trend you’re on), there are laws and health care which prevent these wannabe fashionistas from claiming the next Darwin Award. On the other hand, when I see someone with shades on the back of their head, I immediately know who’s a follower with whom I almost certainly have nothing in common. Having identified these people, I’m saved from the effort of implementing the social contract that wordlessly implies we should all be nice to each other for the sake of…Beuller? Beuller?
I was prepared to let go of this bizarre trend, realizing that human beings were the ones who came up with and defined the word “intelligent” then held themselves up as the standard of intelligence. (Okay, whatever.) But yesterday someone took the trend to its logical conclusion, draping his sunglasses off the back of his shirt. And people wonder why I’m a misanthrope…
Note: A quick Google of “sunglasses behind head” turned up several gems, such as this blog.