Shady days
A mini-guide for your next sunglasses decision

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 24/00) - It's that time of year again when the immediate future's so bright we've got to wear shades.

There are two groups of shades shoppers -- those willing to drop up to $500 for a pair and those who will spend no more than $20 because if they do they will invariably sit on them or lose them within a week.

Yellowknife newcomer JoAnn Tiemessen definitely falls into the no-more-than-$20 category.

"Mine were $7," said Tiemessen, wearing a fashionable pair of lightly-tinted shades.

"I picked them out of a basket without trying them on and I don't think I've taken them off in two years."

Tiemessen was perfectly satisfied with her bargain sunglasses, but Kelly Gillard of Polar Vision said sunglasses are like anything else -- you get what you pay for.

"There's a hundred per cent difference in optical quality (between expensive and cheap sunglasses)," Gillard.

Cheap sunglasses afford the same protection from harmful ultra violet rays as the expensive ones, Gillard said, but the view through them is, well, cheaper. Expensive models come with one-year warranties and replaceable lenses.

The most expensive shades Polar Vision sells are Serengeti Stratas, which will set you back $500. It also has brands like Peaks and Sun Dogs for $10-$36.

Status and brand loyalty are important to some people going for the high end models, said Gillard. Some Vuarnet wearers would cringe at the thought of being caught in a pair of Peaks Wayfarer knock-offs.

Then there's polarized glasses, the kind anglers use to spot fish. You can see with the same clarity, for a price, in frames that won't make you look like you just stepped out of a '50s sci-fi movie.

Our eyes, it's said, are the windows to our soul. Which raises the question, is it impolite to block that view when talking to a friend looking at you with naked eyes?

Do you remove your shades so your friend can see your eyes glaze over as she yammers on about a wonderful lunch she had last Tuesday?

Tiemessen said it depends on the tint.

"I think you should but mine are pretty clear, so I don't usually bother," she said.

The rule of thumb is shades should be removed if they prevent the person you're talking to from seeing your eyes. If you leave your shades on, it's almost like you have something to hide. That's why villains of all kinds almost always wear sunglasses.