To quote the inimitable Ms. Parker in full: Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.
True? False? Neither. As it always is with me, it depends!
First, I apologize to my faithful readers (all half dozen or so of you), for my columnar absence during the past week; I have been jaunting about in Maine, returning only late Wednesday in order to attend one of my favorite sporting events: a conference with my lawyers concerning the debacle pretending to be the probating of my late husbands estate. Playoffs begin Monday morning with a rain delay known as Mediation.
Anyway, all of this is entirely germane to this particular topic, in that - well. just be patient and try to follow my convoluted thought processes.
By the time I was fifteen, I was the miserable owner of the first of many pairs of eyeglasses to be bent, lost, demolished, and/or outgrown over the ensuing decades. I had worn braces (train tracks), plus the head-gear appliance to which I attribute many of my mental quirks, from my 12th birthday until shortly before my 15th, and I was absolutely certain of one thing: boys didnt make passes at girls who wore braces. The braces were removed to reveal brilliant, perfectly straight white teeth in August before 10th grade, immediately followed by chrome-framed aviator spectacles, with lenses of a thickness that I shudder to recall - particularly since only one eye required that much correction. Years of reading on my bed, lying on one side and resting the book perpendicular to the mattress, had created monster-vision: left eye - 20:40, right eye - 20:400. I was a lopsided Cyclops.
11th grade English Lit. offered Dorothy Parker and her clever quip as definite proof that eyeglasses prevented the making of any passes whatsoever in my general direction; by the time I was a Senior, I was walking into walls, but my slightly bemused countenance was finally free of beauty-obscuring metalwork. And soon thereafter, I experienced enough male attention to suggest that Dorothy and I had been right.
So... what, exactly, constitutes making a pass at someone - male or female? Not having a working definition that satisfied me when I started this self-assignment, I did a (very) little research. First stop, the middle-aged girls go-to guide: Cosmo! Immediate success - witness the following excerpt from a Cosmo short story, brought up in my first Google hit:
Knowing Tina, she would have gone ahead to make a pass at the guy if he was following her, Seyefa says with a laugh, leaving her chair and walking to the wooden shoe rack beside her wardrobe to pick up a pair of sequined silver flats.
And what is wrong in making a pass at a guy you like?
There is nothing wrong about being attracted to a guy, but let him do the chase, Ronke answers.
[Later that evening, when a power outage has conspired to strand Tina and friends at the attractive guys apartment...]
Attractive Guy narrates:
My thinking is disturbed by the feel of soft flesh pressing into my back. Tina. Why didnt I stop her from coming over? I pull away from her and turn to face her. Her eyes are bright with her amorous intentions.
I am not that kind of guy.
Poor Tina!!! Okay, so this is Cosmos relatively low-key version of a pass, at least in the sense that we now inhabit a brave new world where undisguised pornography masquerading as literotica. I am still shocked that Fifty Shades of Gray sits on the front table at Barnes & Noble, tops the New York Times Bestseller list for over a year, and is, for all appearances, required reading for anyone over the age - well, reading-age.
Now, for all you lawyers and wanna-bes - this topic IS NOT about the distinction between verbal passes and physical passes, which, I fully realize, carry legal, even criminal import. We are returning instead to the polite cocktail-party society of the Roaring 20s (minus the more serious and degrading aspects of that period, please.) Yes, an unwanted pass, however defined, is at the very least uncomfortable - even Cosmo knows that.
But what about the happier circumstance of being the recipient of a desired advance? Or the anxious suitor trying to determine if an advance would be welcome? In the excerpt above, the signs have been misread by the girl, and the advance rejected by the boy. Is there a gender bias to making passes, something in the order of opening doors for someone? Should there be?
[As a final note, I was in fact wearing my glasses when the airport limo-driver who has driven me and my parents at least a dozen times in the past 2 years, made an overt and very much undesired pass at me. The glasses stayed on, the driver went unpaid, and the irony was overwhelming ]