MONOCULAR LOGIC

I've been wearing a monocle for over 25 years

Many people regard a monocle as an affectation. I can only conclude that this is because they've never thought about it, especially from the point of view of a photographer. A monocle is much harder to lose than a pair of spectacles, unless of course you wear your spectacles on a neck-loop; it's at least as fast to put on as spectacles; and it's vastly quicker to take off, in that you simply rise your eyebrow a bit, and let it fall out safely on its loop.

The frayed old ribbon on this one is nearing the end of its life, it's true, but ribbons are easily and inexpensively replaced. I've lost two or three monocles over the course of the years, but yet another advantage is that they're cheap. A while back I thought I'd lost one of mine (I always keep two, one as a spare) but a Google search revealed Monocle Madness in the UK, where they're £25 (call it $40, 30 euros) ready glazed with simple dioptre lenses. I haven't tried them yet because I found the other monocle.

When it is hanging around your neck on its loop, it's a lot less obtrusive than glasses; much less easily damaged; and doesn't look as awful. I know several real he-man types who now wear glasses on chains, and I wouldn't call myself vain; but even so... It also appears to attract young women, especially Japanese ones, but I've never investigated this much because I had already been married for nearly a decade when I started wearing one.

Of course monocles won't suit everyone. My distance vision is pretty good; I need the monocle only for close-up vision (such as setting the shutter speed, etc., on my cameras, or reading the labels at the supermarket); and I have no astigmatism in my dominant eye (and not much in my other eye). Sure, monocles are not as good as glasses for reading or writing, but that's not what they're for: they're for quick, convenient use, whenever you need them. I try not to go out of the house without one.

Learning to wear one is not difficult. Since the late 19th century they have had a "gallery", a sort of wire cage on the back of the frame: you can see them on the Monocle Madness site. I know this looks like an ad for the company, but I've never used them and have no idea what they're like. I was just so pleased to find somewhere I could get a replacement without hassle. Anyway, a friend's seven-year-old-daughter used to delight in trying mine on. If a small girl can wear one, so can any averagely baggy-eyed adult. Or even non-baggy-eyed.

And yet, many people make ridiculous assumptions about monocle wearers and, as I say, they assume it's an affectation. They make stupid harrumphing noises, as though they were mocking an elderly colonel. Well, let 'em. They're the fools and the losers, not I. But I genuinely don't understand why monocles are not more popular with everyone, never mind photographers.

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