Cool level red-hot thanks to hand-me-down shades


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There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to blurt it out — after spending 65 years on this planet, I have finally become a hip and happening sort of guy.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 06/08/2022 (187 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to blurt it out — after spending 65 years on this planet, I have finally become a hip and happening sort of guy.

Allow me to stress this exciting development has nothing to do with a radical change in my personality, and everything to do with the fact that, for the first time in my life, I own a pair of sunglasses.

Q: Seriously, Doug, you’re getting all worked about something as trivial as owning a pair of sunglasses.

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Doug has always felt that putting on a pair of sunglasses makes the following fashion statement: “Hey, look, I’m wearing sunglasses!”

A: Yes. Allow me to explain.

For the record, I am not kidding around in a light-hearted manner when I say that, prior to this past week, I had never owned a pair of shades, stylish or otherwise.

I totally understand they can protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and make it easier to see on sunny days, but the truth is — and if you have ever read my column before you will know I am not lying — I have never been a rugged sunglasses sort of guy.

In my heart of hearts, I have always felt that putting on a pair of sunglasses makes the following fashion statement: “Hey, look, I’m wearing sunglasses!”

What with being a standard guy who thinks he is fashionably attired when all of the condiment stains on his golf shirt are roughly the same colour, I have never spent a great deal of time worrying about what I am wearing, especially on my face.

The closest I had ever come to owning a pair of sunglasses was when I purchased a pair of prescription eyeglasses with lenses that, when exposed to the sun’s rays, would slowly get darker and darker until you could no longer see anything in front of your face, which I always found problematic while driving.

But everything changed for me about a week ago when my wife and I joined our friends Tony and Kathi for a barbecue and spent about an hour parked in the sweltering sunshine on their back deck.

Everyone, except me, was wearing stylish sunglasses, which explains why my face was scrunched up into a permanent squint.

“I know exactly what you need,” my buddy Tony chirped, before wandering inside and returning with a small case, inside of which was a pair of Ray-Bans, which are the sort of shades that cost roughly the same as a small foreign sports car.

“Put these on,” Tony advised me. “I bought a new pair so I don’t wear these ones anymore.”

So I slipped them on and — suddenly and without warning — I was no longer the same person. For starters, I could see better, but within seconds I transformed from an overweight semi-retired newspaper columnist into an overweight semi-retired newspaper columnist wearing a really cool pair of sunglasses.

My buddy insisted I keep his old shades, because… OK, I can’t remember his exact words, but it was something about how they made my bone structure look extra chiseled and really suited my pudgy face.

Before you start making fun of that last statement and laugh your cruel little laugh, allow me to point out there is strong scientific evidence for the fact that sunglasses make people appear more attractive.

According to an article I have just read in Marie Claire magazine (and they almost never make this stuff up), sunglasses bring symmetry to your face and science has shown there is a link between symmetry and society’s perception of beauty.

Vanessa Brown, senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, told the magazine that sunglasses cover any oddities around the eyes, making the face appear softer and less flawed. And they make you look mysterious, too.

So now I have that going for me, which is nice. In an effort to get used to my suave new look and mysterious personality, I have been wearing my new shades whenever I visit the grocery store or anywhere else where the general public might be exposed to my face.

No one has actually said anything to me, but the point is I feel radically different when I’m sporting my new stylish eyewear. Based on my experience so far, I would say the main reasons for wearing sunglasses are: To look like a member of the U.S. Secret Service who just happens to be visiting a Winnipeg grocery store to ensure the tomatoes don’t pose a national security threat;

To look like a free-spirited, adventure-seeking pilot who, when he is not flying a state-of-the-art jet aircraft, enjoys hanging around in the cookie aisle;

To give the impression that you are a foreign film star who doesn’t want to be recognized while perusing the selection of frozen TV dinners.

If you look online, you will quickly find dozens and dozens of articles about what sort of statement your sunglasses make about your personality. According to, my rectangular frames send this message: “You take life seriously and expect others do the same. You only speak when it’s necessary or when the topic of discussion is something that appeals to you… You do not care about fitting in or standing out because you make your own laws and stick by them.”

I think they nailed it, but I’d be curious to hear what you think about my new shades, so feel free to poke me in the ribs while we’re standing in the frozen food aisle. Just don’t be surprised if I turn out to be Tom Cruise.

Doug Speirs

Doug Speirs

Doug has held almost every job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.

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