Since the dawn of the motion picture, film and television plots have used glasses as shorthand for “this person is nerdy, geeky, or unattractive – do not attempt to sleep with them until they have discovered contact lenses.”
This, despite the fact that glasses have become fashionable and geeks have been permitted into polite society.
Along with the horror of the unnecessary makeover (what Molly Ringwold did to Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club will never be forgiven), the “take off glasses to reveal beauty” trope is still being used.
With that in mind, Acuvue asked us to put together our top five “Glasses Gotta Go” moments when gawky, awkward geeks turn into beauteous members of the popular gang just by ditching the specs.
Top Five Unnecessary Geek Makeovers
Mia in The Princess Diaries
Not content with simply finding comfortable contact lenses for Mia that don’t make her eyeballs ache, Paolo feels the need to crush Mia’s glasses in an effort to force her to wear her contacts!
Paolo’s line should have been “How DARE you need corrective eyeglasses dorkmaiden! I SMASH your ugly eyewear with my FOOT.” Or something.
Peter Parker in Spider-man
Arguably the most famous nerd in all of film, Peter Parker is known for ditching his glasses once he becomes Spider-man. Thanks to the bite from that spider his eyeballs become miraculously healed and his abdomen swells to twice its original size.
Only one of those statements is true.
Clark Kent in Superman
Soft-spoken and shy (useful traits in an investigative journalist), Clark Kent turns from geek hack to Superman with one swift spectacle removal. Widely acknowledged to be the WORST DISGUISE EVER.
Clark Kent is mild-mannered, quiet, and a bit soft despite his impressive stature, but Superman saves the world without hesitation. Is this what happens when you take off your glasses?
Laney in She’s all That
Rachel Leigh Cook starts out as a clearly beautiful girl who also happens to have interests, hobbies and opinions – a massive turn off for any Hollywood male. Worse, she has myopia. Awful!
Despite the fact that she could have her pick of any intelligent male in the school, Laney ditches her specs appeal in order to mate with Freddie Prinze Jr, a jock and a tool.
Fran in Strictly Ballroom
“Do you need these glasses,” asks Scott as nerdy Fran squints up at him. The glasses are never seen again, which makes you wonder what Fran was doing wearing fake glasses in the first place.
Remember, Fran, a life lived in fear of bumping into something is a life half lived.
Sam in Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs
This film inverted the cliche because Sam goes from plastic TV weathergirl to bespectacled, scrunchied nerd. Once she dorks up and reveals her true identity, fellow geek Flint finds her a whole lot more attractive – although the anchorman back in TV HQ is horrified.
Oh, and you’ll note that nearly all the women in this list seem to have their glasses removed, while the men do their own eyewear ditching. There’s probably an A-level dissertation in there somewhere…
What are your favourite “Glasses Gotta Go” moments?