Men seldom make passes
at girls who wear glasses.
Anita Loos used that immortal rhyme in her book Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Marilyn Monroe breathlessly whispered it in the 1953 film, adding irony to the phrase – the actor in the same scene as Marilyn certainly was interested in making passes.
Jeremayakovka remembers his grandmother saying the rhyme,
If I didn’t first hear that one from my grandmother, then I do recall that she remarked it to me a while back. We were having a pleasant, sit-down conversation on her Miami Beach couch about, oh, relations between the sexes. It was in that pleasant, old-school way that an 80 year-old brings up the subject with a 20 year-old. (Like I said, it was a while back.) That old-school way is, unfortunately, a way that seems to have disappeared from the face of the Earth (to everyone’s loss and — to those of us who know what we’re missing — chagrin). So my grandmother quipped away to the tune of Dorothy Parker. I might add that she quipped with, perhaps, an air of sly delight and even a little triumph. For she herself never had to wear glasses (except in her later years for reading).
Neither did my late aunt, who well into her nineties was able to thread a needle without the assistance of lenses. I’ve been wearing glasses since the age of twelve, when I was in eighth grade and simultaneously hit myopia and puberty, and once had to ask my aunt for help in threading a needle. She probably thought I was being nice, but I actually needed the help. But I digress.
The implied lesson, I figured, is to be appreciative of women whether or not they wear glasses, and, like the song says, to try a little tenderness around women who do.
A little tenderness is always welcome. We all can use some, particularly when mixed with charm, of which Jeremayakovka has plenty.
Charles Taylor realizes the devastating effect Dorothy’s rhyme has had on generations of the near-sighted,
For all the ink that’s been spilled on the alleged pernicious effect of fashion magazines on female self-esteem, no one has as yet taken on one of the most damaging blows to female confidence
I speak from some experience, as a man who has made passes at several girls who wore glasses and even wound up marrying one. Glasses, like small breasts, seem to be one of those things that women automatically assume men find unattractive.
Ain’t that the truth. Charles, however, likes girls who wear glasses:
I’m not much interested in why it is that I find glasses on women sexy, any more than I’m interested in why I prefer vodka to whiskey, or why roast chicken is so delicious. Sensual pleasure — any kind of pleasure — calls out to be savored more than explained. But if I had to guess, I’d say that the clichÃ© of what glasses mean — intelligence — works in tandem with a woman’s attractiveness to promise a fuller package. Wit and brains make any woman sexier. Attraction, even just unconsummated flirtation, is a game, an agile — and hopefully friendly — mental foreplay that can be its own delight regardless of whether it leads to anything else.
While I hated wearing glasses (when I was in my teens the choice of frames available was reminiscent of Aristotle Onassis‘s or John Lennon’s – who the hey wanted to look like them?) and started wearing contact lenses right away, I soon figured out that a guy wasn’t for me if he didn’t want to see me wearing eyeglasses. I wore contact lenses for over 25 yrs, but even then I couldn’t wear contacts for more than 10-12 hrs/day. Any guy that didn’t want to see me in glasses was a guy that really didn’t want to see me. I wouldn’t be able to see him anyway.
Interestingly, that kind of guy also didn’t like to find out about my grades (invariably a subject that he‘d bring up, and then be totally displeased when realizing I had really good grades, and later, SAT scores). While the guy was interested in one-upmanship, I had no reason to lie about something I’d worked so hard to achieve. No, I didn’t grow up to be an old maid – The Husband has a PhD in one of the natural sciences, and wears glasses.
Now I have to wear glasses, I enjoy it, and must admit that I’m naked without them. I’m particularly partial to Judith Lieber frames like the ones in the photo above because of their superb craftsmanship.
John Fleming, one of the most erudite and intelligent people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, also likes women who wear glasses (which his very beautiful wife does). Dr. Fleming was disappointed when he first saw It’s A Wonderful Life,
One of very few movies I remember from my childhood appeared right after the War: “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart (known locally in Princeton as St. James Stewart, ’32) and Donna Reed, released in 1946. Many Hollywood plots are absurd, but this one is embarrassing to boot. In this movie Stewart plays a guy dissuaded from suicide by an apprentice angel who shows him -through a series of cinematic flashforwards – all the good he can achieve by continuing to exist. Apparently the chief good thing he can do is save Donna Reed the horrible fate of becoming a librarian by making her a suburban housewife. Donna Reed was quite a dish, and it was hard to make her look unattractive; but Capra thought he could do so by giving her a pair of glasses and putting her hair up in a bun – that apparently being, in the iconography of Tinsel Town, a sterile and joyless coiffure.
This seemed to me ridiculous even at the age of 11, since it was obvious to me then, and has become only more so as the years go by, that libraries are the sexiest places, and librarians the sexiest people, on earth.
Dorothy would have found out that, given the chance, some guys do indeed make passes at girls who wear glasses, particularly if the men wear glasses themselves.
As Jeremayakovka’s commenter Cinn said, those guys tend to be
of a certain, more desirable, sort. A tad less superficial and the kind of guy who’s turned on by smart and in some cases funny (sorry Hitchens, some of us are funny!) women.
Too bad Dorothy never realized it.