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Cheap Sunglasses

"Now go out and get yourself some big black frames With the glass so dark thay won't even know your name And the choice is up to you cause they come in two classes: Rhinestone shades or cheap sunglasses Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah"
Cheap Sunglasses- ZZ Top

Years ago I used to think that it would be great fun to get ZZ Top to play at the Chabad telethon. For that matter I still do. Some of you might be aware that the drummer's name is beard.

I have often wanted to grow a beard like them, something really long and "Grizzly Adams" like but up to now I have never had the patience to do so. Not to mention that that the various women in my life have always complained about my attempts to do so, especially one of my grandmothers.

Sunglasses, everyone needs them. They aren't a fashion requirement although some people see them as such. Back in the day it was a Vuarnets or a pair of Ray-Bans, the Wayfarers model in particular. In fact if you saw me during my senior year of high school I more than likely was wearing a pair just like the one in the picture. And I also admit to sometimes dressing like these guys, but more often then not I was mistaken for some Yeshiva bochur and not Jake or Elwood Blues. (I should add that
my first car was a 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger with a slant 6 engine. Not quite the Blues Mobile, but close enough for me to fantasize. But like I said it seemed that in my crowd dressing like The Blues Brothers was an invitation to ask when I had gone BT or Frum.)


For those who wonder I wanted a pair of Vuarnets, especially in junior high, but the cost was prohibitive. I never was a good enough salesman to convince my father to buy a pair for me.


Returning to the women of my life one of the things that I learned was that my girlfriends were very interested in having a say as to how I dressed and what sunglasses I wore. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a case of them saying that they wouldn't go out with me unless I dressed a certain way. I didn't date those girls and even had I wanted to I couldn't have afforded them.

No, it was a simple matter of women seem to enjoy dressing their men. They never really grow out of the playing with dolls stage, it just evolves into the "it is much more fun to play with money and real clothes than to pretend" stage.

And part of the real "fun" was the difference in taste that some of them had, but that is a different story altogether.

Skipping around because that is what I like to do when I tell these rambling, ambling what is the point tales I can tell you that I did eventually purchase a pair of Vuarnets. I think that I was 20. I loved them and so did the girl who came along with me to purchase them. But the the next three women I dated hated the way that they looked on me.

I told them each that I wouldn't part with them although I also made it clear that I would take their opinion into consideration. Maybe that was part of the consideration of why they chose to no longer date me or maybe it was my unwillingness to share my feelings other than in a dark room over a bottle of wine. I don't really know and at this point it doesn't really matter.

During the past decade I decided that it was pointless to spend a lot of money on sunglasses because inevitably someone would sit on them or they would be forgotten somewhere.

Through a series of tests I determined that there is a point at which cheap sunglasses are too "cheap" and just refuse to last. That point is somewhere less than $20. I am not really sure where because some manufacturers refuse to succumb to the siren song of cheap material and cheap labor and somehow manage to still produce quality goods that last.

Unfortunately I am not really sure who those guys are because the few moments of success have taken place when I purchased said glasses from the back of a van, on the boardwalk in Venice or on a streetcorner and the lack of "wrapping" has made it impossible to ID the glasses.

Throughout 2005 I relied upon a $20 pair of cheap sunglasses, only the problem is that I relied upon three pairs of them. They were all the same color/model but nonetheless I had to secure three pairs.

The first pair lasted for several months but were eaten by a ride/creature at the Magic Kingdom, I think. For all I know Goofy stole them and is busy enjoying a free pair of sunglasses.

The replacement pair survived the machinations of two young children but in a tragic even committed suicide by flinging themselves off of my head to a painful death beneath my shoe. Yes, I somehow managed to watch them fall off of my head and then stepped on them. I only wish that I had this on video because it would be worth money.

The third pair didn't commit suicide nor were they lost, they simply didn't have the will to survive and after a couple of months they were history.

And now I have a new pair of $20 sunglasses. With such an "auspicious" history of successful sunglass ventures I have had these blessed by a rabbi, priest, shaman and dumped into my son's "magic water." With any luck this pair will last more than two months.

I'll keep you posted.

Comments

-Ann said…
I bought an awesome pair of cheap sunglasses that I bought in the Florida Keys before a kayaking trip. They were cheap black plastic with polarized lenses and Peter started calling me Bono when I he saw them.

But I loved them and had them for over two years before managing to lose them in Berlin this summer. I still haven't replaced them because I'm looking for the exact same thing. Also, like you, I don;t want to spend a lot of money on something I'm just going to lose or sit on. Peter has an expensive pair that he bought at the eye doctor. I think they cost over $300 but he's had them for about 4 or 5 years so it's not a bad deal. But he's much more careful with things than I am.
Jack Steiner said…
Hi Ann,

It is so frustrating to me to have that one pair you really like only to lose them.

I had a more expensive pair of Ray-Bans that I used for three years. They cost about $110 bucks, but like I said I had them for three years so I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't go back to them because if you average the cost out over that time it is not so bad.
Anonymous said…
My husband and stepson were Jake and Elwood for Halloween. Dead ringers.
Anonymous said…
I don't normally purchase based upon name brand. And to be honest, I'm a thrifty one when it comes to shopping for sunglasses. I cringe if I have to pay over $10 for a pair. $5 is more to my liking.

Sunglasses are like socks in the dryer ... they tend to disappear. It's terribly frustrating to find a pair that feels just right on my nose ... only to lose them later.

If I lost a pair of $100 sunglasses ... I think I'd be ill for weeks.
Unknown said…
I wore white Wayfarers at my wedding :) My current pair cost $1. I love them so much I bought 2 pair.
bornfool said…
There is an inverse ratio between the cost of the sunglasses and how long they will last. If i bought a fairly expensive pair of sunglasses for work, it never failed that they would get broken breaking up a fight or something similar within a few days.
If I buy a cheap pair that I don't like very much, they last for months.
Jack Steiner said…
Z,

I only wish that I could find a pair I liked for that little.

BF,

I knew that there had to be a formula for this.
Anonymous said…
The other variable for the formula is whether they are a gift. My best friend gave me a beautiful pair of sunglasses for Christmas 2000. I have no idea if they were expensive or not, but somehow I've managed to keep them for FIVE YEARS and they are in great condition, even though I wear them a lot. Longest lasting pair of sunglasses ever.
Jack Steiner said…
JG,

Five years, that has got to be some kind of record.