Monday, February 6, 2012

Suffer For Fashion

Back when I had a real job, there was a woman in the office who was a complete fluffhead. Just a head completely full of lint, dandelion fluff, cotton swabs, and maybe a packing peanut or two.

She went to the tanning salon every day. As a result, her skin had a strange tone to it, rather like a parboiled chicken, or something in tone that approached the hazard orange of a biohazard sign. She just didn't tan, and as a result the skin coloration was, I guess, just a permanent sunburn. She also dowsed herself with way, way, way too much perfume.

I made up a joke about her: "How come ____ looks sunburned all the time? Because her fucking perfume burns a hole in the ozone layer!"

In retrospect, it wasn't that funny, but in any case, she clearly suffered for fashion. She wanted the healthy tanned glow of an active out-of-doors lifestyle, and this was her way of doing it.  Lots of people disfigure themselves in an attempt to be more attractive.

Here's something that isn't a new technique, but it recently caught my attention. Gregg Homer of Stroma Medical has developed a laser treatment to burn all the pigment out of your iris. This irreversible process will burn your brown eyes blue. It's not approved in the US yet, and when it is, the cost will probably be around $5000 per eye, with, so far, minimal side effects and the long-term effects are unknown. Some eye doctors worry that the procedure could cause a potentially blinding condition called pigmentary glaucoma (which is known to be associated with the chronic seepage of melanin into the fluid within the eye, and how the fuck that occurs naturally I really don't want to know).

Is it really that objectionable? I mean, people disfigure themselves in worse ways. I've seen some really awful tattoos and the whole scarification thing pretty much baffles me. Or when Asians have their epicanthic fold removed to appear more Western. The eyelid surgery doesn't look right, because Asian have a round eye socket, and Westerners have an eye socket that looks more aviator sunglasses, so an Asian with this operation just looks... weird.

So yeah, there are worse things than burning your eyes with a laser. But still. You really hate your eye color that much? I mean, what are blue eyes good for?

I asked Google. Google didn't really give me a satisfactory answer, but then Its doing that a lot lately.

Still, the myth is that blue-eyed people see better in the dark. Is it true that there is a general trend for Northern peoples (some of whom have blue eyes) also have bigger brains? Maybe, but it would seem only in the occipital region, where vision is processed, but no real functionality has ever been adequately demonstrated. It's fun to think about. The idea that blue eyed people see better in the dark.

Neanderthals (and to look at my big yellow Scandinavian horse teeth, you'd suspect I've some of their genes) had a pronounced occipital bun at the back of their skulls. Anthropologists see the enlarged back of the Neanderthal skull as a counterweight to the heavy browed and jawed face. Were I to speculate, I'd say they were night or gloom hunters, which would tie in well with some bits of folklore about giants and ogres and trolls.

But blue eyes better seeing in the dark? Well, my personal experience is I have a hard time with glare. I'm told it gets worse as you get older. But I don't have a hard time with grey gloomy days. In fact, I like grey gloomy days! And if you happened to have lived in a really cold shitty grey gloomy climate for some tens of thousands of years, it kind of makes sense that people who are bummed by this would get deselected. But again, blue eyes have anything to do this? I doubt it.

Regardless, if someone is going to fuck with my eyes so that I can make a fashion statement, I think I would prefer an operation where they insert some other controllable pigmentation. You  know, some tunable pigment so that I can change my eye color at will.

But honestly, sweetie, think about that hard, because I can personally attest to the fact that brown eyes are not boring.


  1. I can't imagine letting anyone take a laser to my eyes for any reason. thanks, but no thanks. as to the tanning salon, my SIL who is 20 +/- years younger than me went (still? I don't know, she's crazy and I try not to be around her) to a tanning salon regularly and her skin is an unhealthy looking shade of brown and like old leather with dark spots on her face. I warned her for years but she liked the tanned look. I wonder how she likes it now and if she sees in the mirror what everyone else sees when they look at her.

    1. hi ellen,

      Yeah. UV radiation is best avoided. I may speculate on the advantages of blue eyes, but there is hard evidence that age-related macular degeneration and uveal melanoma occurs more frequently in those with fair-completed eyes. That's directly the result of UV exposure.

    2. " That's directly the result of UV exposure."

      Well if we spent our time prowling around in the gloom, biting people on the ass, like God intended, we wouldn't have that problem, now would we?

    3. Heh! Yup, all fogbound and blinking stupidly in the sunlight.

  2. Bigger brains??? Better Eyesight??? We should all change our eye color...

    I don't think so!!