Monday, April 28, 2008

It's all about the EYES

While unpacking my RT suitcases last week, and trying to put stuff away as I did so, I found the tiny package that caused quite a stir - the little container for two small pieces of nearly invisible plastic - my blue contact lenses. And I started thinking...remembering just what an effect these tiny things had. And of course I wondered why.

The night of the Faery ball, while my eyes were still that virulent blue, I had an intense conversation about this very topic with some friends. (The intensity was probably a direct correlation with the alcohol consumption, but that's another story. LOL) We decided, however, that eyes reveal a lot more about a person than we think. Sure, the eyes are the "windows to the soul", but that's a rather beautiful phrase we use without really thinking about the implications.

When I put in those inhumanly blue lenses, it changed something about me. It hid that "normal" color - and thus the ability to look me in the eye and gauge my reaction to anything. The responses to these things were varied - and funny. Most often I heard "OHMIGOD - look at your EYES". (Well, unless you've got a mirror, I'm going to find that a bit difficult. Duh.) I also heard "Oh WOW" (said wistfully) and "Holy s***" (said with shock). The funniest reaction? The enormously handsome and tall cover model who escorted me to my seat on the stage for the Ball. He glanced down at me, froze and sucked in his breath with an audible gasp. His eyes widened, he gulped, then looked quickly away, saying "God, that is too weird. You scare me." He couldn't look me in the eye for several minutes. LMAO

Putting all these reactions together was an interesting psychological exercise. (Yes, we writers do stuff like this. It's called "research".) Eventually, after the umpteenth "freaky" comment, I started to wonder exactly what it was these folks WEREN'T seeing that weirded them out.

I looked around me. The eyes I saw were laughing, intense, sad, darting from one face to another (and some hidden by sleepy eyelids). They were just eyes - they didn't change color or shape according to mood. They were "normal" (except for a bit bloodshot in a few cases). So...I was wearing the same shape...why the stunned reactions?

I decided it was because I'd taken a step past the definition of normal. And when people stared into MY eyes, they could not see what their minds told them should be there. I was smiling, laughing, joking - my facial expressions were as expected. But my eyes weren't. That one tiny odd feature was enough to throw off their programmed responses. A few admitted they found it hard to look at me. (Well...okay, I won't go there. LOL)

All in all, I loved wearing those lenses. I enjoyed all these responses and reactions and had a lot of fun with it. But I took more from that evening than just the fun. I realized that the eyes truly ARE the mirror to a person's soul, in that we rely on them for something subtle, something we don't even recognize, but it's there all the same. When that something is concealed or replaced with the solid blue of the Caribbean ocean - the discomfort level in others goes up by leaps and bounds.

I will remember this when I'm writing about my characters' eyes. It's an invaluable experience that taught me something new about human nature, something I can use to enrich my stories. I will also remember the expressions and reactions I got that night and I will look at the photos with a grin. It was HUGE fun and yes, they were actually very comfortable and yes, I could see just fine. (Okay, rum and cokes did make things a bit blurry later, but that wasn't anything to do with the eyes.)

Bottom line? Yeah. Maybe eyes ARE the windows to the soul. Who knows? I do know now that if you put drapes on those windows, you're gonna get some strange responses. And I also know I'm now going to have to hunt for some new ones for next year. I'd like to continue the research. Look out Orlando.


NathalieGray said...

I loved them!

Your funky eyes reminded me of those in Dune! Remember those electric eyes? Blue like icebergs, man. You wore them so well.

Poor John :)

Ciana Stone said...

Those electric blue eyes are going to stand out in a lot of memories, Sahara. Very breath-taking. Literally :)

Can't wait to see what your eyes say next year!!

Deb said...

I thought your eyes, were amazingly cool.
Those and your costume gave you an air of tranparence like you could float off at any minute.

Nicole Austin said...

The eyes were intense, and I admit to having difficulty making eye contact for the first few minutes. I didn't like the way they cover up that part of a person's expression you normally see in their eyes.

I had another experience with intense, smoky eyes that were even more difficult to meet because of how much those eyes expressed. It was easier to meet you shielded eyes than ones that spoke volumes and that I felt piercing all the way down to my curled toes. Yes, I'm talking about Jimmy Thomas and his beautiful brown smoldering gaze. Wowza!

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is would you get the same reaction if the person had never met you or seen photos of you before? So you picked a color that wasnt' so out there, would you get the same response or would people just accept you that way?
It's an interesting research idea. Maybe I should get a pair for RT next, just a normal blue or green or brown and see what the reaction would be when I meet people for the first time face to face.