The Art of Darkness 

A guide to sun-shady behavior

A guide to sun-shady behavior

Want to look absolutely fabulous this summer? Keep a pair of sunglasses handy at all times. They can just lie on your café table next to your chilled glass of whatever, or you can actually use them to block those dangerous rays. But sunglasses are the necessary accessory—you’ve got it made if you’re wearing shades.

Sunglasses add instant chic to almost any outfit, and they provide essential protection for your precious retinas. But they also have a million and one other, but no less important, uses during the course of a busy (or lazy) summer day.

You can hide behind them. This is probably the best use for sunglasses. Spot a pesky neighbor in the supermarket? Blow them off. They’ll never be able to prove it was you behind those Foster Grants. Besides, you can always use the “wasn’t wearing my contacts” excuse. It works.

You can clean them obsessively. This is actually the second in the avoidance-tactics series. Wipe and polish your sunglasses to fill in an awkward silence, such as the inevitable ones that plague us in elevators. Or you can clean your specs while walking down a long hall filled with people you don’t want to see.

You can scope through them. Go for the extra-dark lenses and check out everyone who crosses your path without being spotted. Sure, you may initially feel self-conscious about wearing your sunglasses indoors or after dusk, but you’ll get over it. You’ll also begin to enjoy the extra attention you’ll get.

You can conveniently leave them in a desirable person’s car. This often works as a corollary to the scoping-out tactic. Once you find the target person, bum a ride and, oops, accidentally leave your designer specs somewhere in the car. Next, arrange a subsequent ride to retrieve them. Better yet, have them delivered. Naturally, you should have a pair to spare in case Mr./Ms. Wonderful turns out to be a jerk—or if he/she already has a clingy significant other who’s rejoicing in the surprise gift of a new pair of specs.

You can use them as a headband. There should be no bad-hair days during summer months. Simply brush your locks and position your sunglasses on your head for maximum hair-gripping potential. This trick is perfect for overcast days when you won’t really be needing your sunglasses anyway. You may need another strategy for days when the sun actually shines. Check with your favorite meteorologist and be prepared to wear a ponytail, if necessary.

You can look over the top of them. This look comes in several versions. There’s the authoritative glance over the top, as if to say, “What do you mean, you’re out of my favorite flavor of cheesecake?” On the other hand, there’s the seductive glance over the top that says, “I’m Audrey Hepburn, and it’s 1962. I’m a fashion and screen icon, and you’ll do.”

You can nap in public, at weddings, graduations and other annoying summer events, for example, without getting caught. You might as well, you’ve heard all that stuff before anyway. “I do, he does, we do, congratulations.” How long until the reception?

You can intensify your summer experience. Roll down the windows in your Corolla and floor it. (You’ll have to turn off the air conditioner first or you’ll never break 35 mph.) Suddenly you’re cruising in your candy-apple red, souped-up ragtop. Life is grand. Now, if only there were something decent on the radio.

You can stake out territory. Make sure that seat is saved at the bar by marking the spot with your folded specs. This tactic works, even when you’re not expecting anyone.

Improve your outlook on the world. This only works with rose-colored lenses.

You can use them to change the weather. You can ensure sunny days simply by leaving your sunglasses at home or at your desk. As soon as you step outside sans specs, the rains will stop, the clouds will roll away, and voilà—sunlight will pour forth. Conversely, if you want to wreak havoc on major outdoor events, be sure to wear shades.

You can face terribly bright mornings after terribly late nights. Enough said.

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