By Greg Proops – Maxim Magazine – 1997

      I WEAR GLASSES. That’s how you’ll know me. I wish it was for my sparkling personality and plucky never-say-die attitude but it’s not. I am the speccy one on Whose Line is it Anyway? I am Buddy Holly. I am the Proclaimers. I am Elvis Costello. And I am proud.

      Contact lenses are for vain, weak-willed piglets who swan around showing off: ‘Look everybody, I can see without spectacles. No one at first glance will ever assume I know how to surf the net.’ Glasses are for the brave. I do not need to pretend that I am sighted. People who need glasses and don’t wear them are slightly less treacherous than people who don’t need them and do – like every shallow Hollywood star who wants to be taken seriously.

      I have worn glasses since I was eight. Thankfully, the other children were sensitive and caring. They called me ‘Four Eyes’ – the lamest and inaccurate playground taunt of all time. My name is Proops. Imagine the rich goldmine of hilarious scatological references that comes free of charge with that handle. References that would have been far more effective in tormenting me.

      From this hardscrabble beginning did I derive a will to fill my glasses-wearing destiny. I resolved to succeed in spite of peoples prejudices and seek the company of those with whom I could bond, myoptically – speccy gits.

      It is my honour to know John Hegley, for he and I share a certain fascism about glasses. The rules are:

      1) They must be bold enough to be noticed.

      2) You have to have the personality to back up your frames. Don’t go mamby pamby and wear middle management, no guts-no glory, anonymous dork frames. Are you John Major or Fidel Castro? George Bush or Bo Diddley? Roger Whitaker or Jarvis Cocker?

      John Cooper Clarke sports a pair of prescription midnight black shades. He plays smokey clubs in the dead of night. This is deep personal style. A heckler shouts, ‘Take off yer specs!’ He wheels and totters slightly then sprays them with this admonition, a creed which I try to live my life: ‘Don’t ever ask me to take off my shades, or touch me when I’m reaching for my gun.’

      All the sexy and fabulous people spec out. Cary Grant, the Lord God Ruler of Suave and eternal chick wrangler of the century, startled the world when, in his final 20 laps, he wore those huge black groovadors. Several decades of reigning imbued him with the wisdom to know they made him not just a great-looking old man, but a fantastic, great-looking old man. Michael Caine in The Ipcress File. Peter Sellers in the Sixties. Roy Orbison hiding a vast reservoir of personal pain behind a gigantic pair of prescription Ray-Bans.

      Scary Spice was voted spectacle wearer of the year this year by optometrists of England. As she matures as a performer she may come to learn that you don’t need a pierced tounge to be found spicy. You must perform wrapped in your glasses à la Ella Fitzgerald. Then, will you rule. History may finally know you as Speccy Spice.

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