Thursday, October 6, 2016

Black Woman Green Eyes: It's Rude to ask if they're real

Today I was reminded of that song from the 80s "Sunglasses at Night." I reminisce of the days when I really did do that; Wear sunglasses indoors.. day, and sometimes at night.  All because I wanted to hide my very green eyes from the probing public. People on the street would often stop me and ask... "Are those your real eyes?" With the popularity or colored contact lenses, came an increase in the asking.

As a little girl, I was always "cat eyes."  As a student, male teachers asked, "Where'd you get those green eyes?" A colorblind coworker in the Navy referred to my eyes as "funny colored eyes."  When I find myself someplace where nobody knows my name, people do double takes.  Yes, I admit, it's rare to see a black woman with green eyes.  But asking that question, I feel is, rude.  And they are green.  Not hazel or light brown.  But green.  I really freak people out when I wear a green blouse or t-shirt.  I admit, even though I feel like an alien, I do get a kick out of how people react to it... me. 

A few years back, I seriously engaged as a Mary Kay consultant. Attending meetings, dawning Mary Kay attire and.. sunglasses to makeover workshops and trainings.. When asked why I was wearing sunglasses, I mentioned, "So as not to draw attention to my eyes."  "Oh!  But your eyes are beautiful!"  I knew that.  "Oh, but you need to accentuate them!"  "Show them off!"  I knew that, too.  Nothing like those fabulous Mary Kay sisters, and that fabulous Mary Kay mineral eye palette to do the trick of bringing on some self love!  Since then, my green eyes are and make a powerful statement for me.  I'm proud of them, and don't tend to hide them anymore, even when I want to avoid being asked if they're real.. But I still do love me some beautiful bold sunglasses.

To be honest, only black American people have asked me if my green eyes are real.  Just last week, when I thought everybody on the planet already knew by now; a young black man I recently started working with, was awkward about it but never-the-less, had a need to know, "are those your real eyes?"  I smiled and made sure he knew they were not contact lenses.

But a refreshing turn of events on the green eyes front occurred today.  A new hire training session at the company I work for, brought the corporate recruiter responsible for my selection -from across the pond.. from London to Dallas.. We'd done my interview via Skype. I'd heard he was in the office and knew I'd eventually run into him. Later in the break-room amongst the chattering crowd and gurgles of Kuerig brews,  a masculine British accent had my name attached to it... "Jackie...."  I turned to see him, "I'm Tony."  We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. Then he told me he'd recognized my eyes.

I can't tell you how nice it was that he didn't wonder if they were real.

Anyone can teach you about love... but I can make you good at it!

| This original commentary and photograph by Jackie D. Rockwell |All Rights Reserved © 2016 |

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