COLUMN: May 17, 2012

I ALWAYS wanted to be Bruce Willis from Moonlighting when I grew up. I still do.

I understand that Bruce Willis is no longer Bruce Willis from Moonlighting and is just Bruce Willis these days. I also understand that I am now older than Bruce Willis when he was Bruce Willis from Moonlighting. But that is not the point.

When I was a teenager, Bruce Willis’s character David Addison was the coolest man in the world. David Addison could wear sunglasses without anybody noting, “You’re wearing sunglasses.” That is how cool he was.

However, I look like a teacher. I am not cool. I have never been able to wear a pair of sunglasses without somebody pointing out the fact. Even strangers in the street look askance at me when I wear sunglasses, as if I were on a unicycle.

“In the eyes of the law,” their faces say to me, “you are within your rights to do this. But be in no doubt that you are an abomination against nature and everything that is right.”

It is because I do not have the face and bearing for sunglasses. Very few people do. I have worn glasses nearly all my life, so one would think I would have developed the necessary facial muscles and confidence. But one would be wrong.

Consequently I have generally shunned sunglasses over the years, preferring instead to squint, like a cowboy on the range, or a man without sunglasses. I know my limitations.

But when I had my last eye-test, as part of the fleecing which accompanies the purchase of prescription glasses I was offered a very good deal on prescription lens sunglasses.

I was weak. The combination of a bargain and the prospect of being able to drive without thinking, “This sunshield is worse than useless, not only does it prevent me from seeing motorway signs, the corona effect burns a lozenge shape into my retina,” was too seductive.

I tried on the various frames and styles on offer. They were either too big, making me look insectoid, or too small, like unnaturally large pupils. The only pair which suited my oddly-shaped head were in a style most often described as “tragically hip.”

They were almost frameless, with a bluish tinge to the lenses, and the arms did not have a hook to prevent slippage, giving off a minimalist “vibe.”

Could I wear them? “What would David Addison do?” I asked myself, not for the first time. I decided he would definitely wear them, and, therefore, so would I. I put them on and looked in the mirror. I still looked like a teacher, but maybe a sexy teacher, as in one of those films. I bought the sunglasses

It transpires they are not tragically hip. They are just tragic.

This is mostly because of the minimalist arms. The hook to prevent slippage behind the ears is one of those things that one does not fully realise one needs until it is gone, like a lover, or gravity.

If ever I look down, or turn my head suddenly, my sunglasses make a bid for freedom, sliding off my nose. This would not be a problem if I never needed to look down or turn my head suddenly, but I am constantly surprised by my need to do both of these things.

The only way I can ensure I keep my sunglasses on is by walking as a debutante at a Swiss finishing school, my back ramrod straight, as if balancing a Georgette Heyer on my head.

Deviate from this path, and I have do a special jerky catching manoeuvre in order to stop my bargain, but still quite expensive, sunglasses from smashing into smithereens. This is not easy for me. I can remember the encouragement from my teacher when I caught the ball that time when I was playing rounders.

So if you see me out and about in sunglasses over the next few months, do not mock me. Instead turn to your neighbour and explain how rather than an abomination against nature, it is a triumph against nature. And then applaud me.

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