September 4, 2012

The eyes have it

I encountered two women in the last few days who wore color contact lenses. One set was flagrantly striking - golden banana with an outline of sienna, rather otherworldly. The other wore a more subtle hazel bronze. Seems this color range is in vogue. But regardless of how subtle, they render eye contact, one of the most enjoyable aspects of human interaction, impossible. There is no twinkle. No fleeting recognition of the life within, no exchange. You’re looking into the eyes of a lifeless, if clever, android. And the wearer generally projects an attitude of having an advantage. And they do. You’re shocked and repelled, but mute. Embarrassed. Some part of you needs to honor the sham. As if they really are replicants - but don't know. Someone who refuses to make eye contact at all, or responds with an averted gaze communicates, however lamely, something. But what the opacity of color contacts withhold, in their very engagement, is infinitely more profound.