"When you look at Clark Kent when he's working at the Daily Planet, he's a reporter. He doesn't fly through the air in his glasses and his suit."
A good way to mark your hero as an intellectual is to stick him on the far side of a pair of Nerd Glasses
. A good way to make your character as a badass is to kick some ass. We also all know that guys who wear glasses can never kick asses. It's contractually forbidden. Thus when an intellectual is about to kick ass
, the first thing he has to do is take off his glasses. (See: Male version of Flung Clothing
) For an additional humourous/intellectual touch, the characters may be shown taking especial care to put their glasses away in their pocket or in some other safe place, before commencing the violence.
Characters may also take their glasses off before kissing, because some
guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses (see Beautiful All Along
and The Glasses Gotta Go
). Also because a pair of specs might get in the way. (And TWO pairs certainly will.)
One strange side effect is that if a character does this enough times, they may stop wearing their glasses altogether. Rarely is the fact that the character may have needed
the prescription in the first place brought up, it's usually Hand Waved
that they eventually got contacts. While the loss usually represents the character taking a step forward in their attitudes, fans who are into that sort of thing
can find it frustrating.
Given that such characters will at some point be shown to be Blind Without 'Em
, it may seem strange that removing their glasses renders the characters into Action Heroes
, rather than rendering them, well, blind, but it seems to work
. May occasionally make sense if the hero willingly removes her/his glasses to limit her/his fighting prowess
There are other, more practical reasons for this trope, of course; it is, after all, not a bad idea to remove your glasses before doing things where they might fly off or get broken, and preventing unwanted reflections from the lenses becomes troublesome during martial arts
. And then there's the fact that keeping any easily shattered material near your eyes during a fight is a really bad idea
(which is probably where the taboo against hitting a guy with glasses on came from). And naturally, you might want to remove your glasses to fire your Eye Beams
Note that it isn't enough just to have glasses, you have to have Nerd Glasses
for this trope to apply. Some characters have Scary Shiny Glasses
or Cool Shades
, and they are most certainly not more powerful when The Glasses Come Off
. Except of course, when the glasses are the distinguishing trait
for the character, in which case, you should probably back off
For the B-movie version, see Glasses Pull
. As the examples show, inversions in which a character becomes more badass when they put their Nerd Glasses on
(because now they can actually see clearly to fight) are also common. See Book Snap
for another intellectual sign of impending anger.
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Anime and Manga
- Clark Kent wears glasses when he's not being Superman, though he also puts on nebbish behavior and about four extra layers of clothing to make him look pudgy instead of muscled. Birthright has some fun with this when depicting Clark and his parents turning Clark Kent into a man nobody would ever think is Superman: his mother's first orders are "no t-shirts!"
- Played with in Kingdom Come. Superman never wears his glasses throughout the entire comic, due to his status as a full-time hero at that point. At the end, when he retires from his work in trying to totally eliminate crime and rejoins society to work with rebuilding Kansas, Wonder Woman gives him his glasses back, signifying him becoming human again.
- Peter Parker in the Spider-Man franchise started with glasses but eventually lost them as he grew up and developed more confidence in his civilian identity. The interesting thing about how Peter learned he didn't need glasses in the comics was because of a boxing match. He agreed to a match with Flash Thompson, Flash got in one good blow that broke his glasses and Peter countered with a knock out. Once Pete realized the spider-bite fixed his vision, he really saw no need to buy a new pair or keep up the charade at that point.
- The pre-Crisis version of Wonder Woman.
- Kitty Pryde of the X-Men needs glasses, but hates wearing them and rarely does so.
- I suppose we should mention Cyclops while we're at it. Given that the glasses used to hold back his Eye Beams, taking them all the way off usually meant something was gonna get broke in a hurry.
- Seldom demonstrated but awesome when it is: Cyke's visor, and shades as Scott Summers, are used to control the shape and strength of the blast even when he's actively using his powers. You don't fully understand until you see him take them off all the way and open his eyes fully. When that happens, "something" isn't gonna get broke - everything will get broke. For this reason, it's a weapon of last resort. However, if you absolutely have to get a Sentinel off your lawn, it'll get vaporized. And if Juggernaut's trying to destroy a dam, you'll actually push him back a little... but eventually get your ass kicked anyway. Still, it looked awesome.
- Roffa in The Trigan Empire was a fighter pilot in Nerd Glasses (!). One day he took his glasses off to make a dramatically scowling gesture at the map and never put them on again. His geekiness decreased from then on too, in a few subsequent stories he seemed to have taken a level in badass.
- Daniel aka Nite Owl of Watchmen usually wears his glasses but doesn't in his Nite Owl guise. A classic example is when he and Silk Spectre were mugged, Daniel took off his glasses before kicking the gang's ass.
- A recurring character in Norwegian comics creator Christopher Nielsen's works is a small town bruiser only known by his nickname Hold Brillan ("hold my glasses") because he always tells one of his buddies to hold his glasses when he gets into a fight (which he does often). Subverted in the sense that he looks pretty intimidating even when he's wearing them.
- Sweet, pacifistic nun Yumiko Takagi of Hellsing always wears glasses. Her alternate personality Yumie Takagi, a psychotic assassin for the Iscariot Order, never wears glasses. It is uncertain whether donning or removing the glasses triggers the personality change or if doing so is just the first act taken after the change takes place.
- When Bruce Banner gets angry, the glasses come off. If he plans on getting angry, he'll take the glasses off ahead of time.
- Hanae in Pretty Cure Perfume Preppy loses her glasses every time she transforms into Cure Tangerine.
- Three times, in With Strings Attached:
- First, after John gets wings, he takes his glasses off to fly because he's terrified they'll fall off in mid-air. Eventually he ties them around his head. And eventually he gives them up altogether when he has his eyes permanently healed.
- Second, Beagle John in New Zork City throws his glasses on the bed before leaving his hotel room to confront strangers. Vanity!
- Third, Ringo very reluctantly removes his (opaque) glasses in the Hunter's world so it isn't obvious that he's using magic to see. And later the glasses turn into a living creature and scamper away from him.
- In Futari Wa Pretty Cure Blue Moon, Emiru's glasses actually turn into Millusion's eye mask.
- The 2002 Spider-Man film brought back Peter Parker's glasses as part of its dedication to doing things right, then disposed of them immediately when Peter's powers also fixed his eyesight. And in the sequel, Peter's confidence-linked loss of powers also brought back his poor vision. In both cases, the presence/absence of his powers is indicated to the audience by a first-person point of view showing the state of his vision relative to his glasses.
- Star Trek Ii The Wrath Of Khan: Subverted when Kirk looks embarrassed having to put on his glasses to see the instrument panel in front of Spock and Saavak, but then played straight when he takes them off before making Khan's ship lower its shields.
- Stuart Saves His Family. Subverted. When Stuart takes Mia's glasses off, she's less attractive and squinting, and says, "Let's put the glasses back on.
- Rocky. Played straight with Adrian.
- The moment when Brad Majors whips off his glasses while confronting Frank N. Furter early in The Rocky Horror Picture Show is clearly a subversion, as it does nothing for his hero status and only foreshadows his glasses-less state after being seduced by Frank later in the film.
- In the movie L.A. Confidential, Ed Exley tends to take his glasses off when he assumes his "Action Policeman" persona. However, he drops the habit (and the persona) by the end of the movie, just in time for the final shootout.
- Ed and Jack are about to bust some perps, both carrying shotguns. "I forgot my glasses!" "Your WHAT?! Well just don't shoot me, ok?"
- Parodied in Spaceballs, wherein Dark Helmet opens his helmet numerous times, revealing that he's wearing glasses underneath (and that he's Rick Moranis).
- Classic war movie The Dambusters has the Giles variant of this trope right in the final scene — as the characters mourn the deaths of the pilots, the commander removes his glasses to hide his tears.
- Another classic war film, The Devils Brigade, has a clean-cut, unassuming Canadian nebbish taking off his glasses and neatly folding them and tucking them in his pocket just before demonstrating to the unruly American troops that he's actually their hand-to-hand combat instructor. JUDO'D! Later in a massive bar brawl, he repeats the move to great effect.
- The protagonist of Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man has his glasses taken from him by his "spiritual guide", who remarks that "[perhaps] you will see better without them."
- Inverted in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film, where Allan Quatermain must put on his glasses to snipe people at long distance with his rifle because, well, he's gotten old and his eyes aren't what they used to be. At the end of the movie, he goes to do this again only to find his glasses have broken in the initial struggle, so Tom Sawyer has to take the shot.
- Inverted in the beginning of Terminator 2: Judgment Day when the terminator puts on the sunglasses.
- Played dead straight by HudMaSpecs in Free Jimmy.
- In Pans Labyrinth when Dr. Ferreiro dies. He admits to Vidal that he Mercy Killed a prisoner instead of keeping him alive for more Cold-Blooded Torture, and walks away. As expected, Vidal shoots him in the back, and he keeps going for a few more steps, during which time he takes off his glasses as if in surprise.
- Played straight in Brick, which has Brendan take off his glasses before he gets into fights.
- In Good Will Hunting Sean takes his glasses off before he grabs Will by the throat and chokes him, promising to kill him if he ever spoke ill of his deceased wife.
- In the Indiana Jones saga, when he's not in a macho attire fighting nazis or looting ancient treasure sites, the title character is a calm bespectacled archeology college professor.
- Sort of inverted in Buckaroo Banzai. We know Buckaroo is smart, but when he puts on his red-rimmed Nerd Glasses, he's really kicking the brain into overdrive (or showing off, since one of those times is a press conference). This is because of interference from the producers; they insisted that no action hero would wear glasses, despite director and co-creator W.D. Richter's desires. The compromise made between Richter and the producers was that Buckaroo could wear his glasses in three scenes in the film.
- In the second ending of Clue, Mrs. Peacock dramatically removes her glasses upon being exposed as the murderer.
- In the third ending, Mr. Green takes his glasses off just before shooting and killing the real Mr. Boddy, then revealing himself as an planted FBI agent.
- My Girl: "Where's his glasses?! He can't see without his glasses!"
- Spy Kids 3: Game Over: Inverted. In Level 3, just before the PvP duel, Arnold explains to Juni that he entered Game Over for the "untold riches" given to those who defeat the Final Boss in order to save his family from poverty. The duel starts, and Arnold puts on his goggles and proceeds to kick Juni's ass in a way that would make Chuck Norris envious.
- They Live! is an Inversion. They need to be wearing the glasses to see who's ass needs kicking.
- In Bringing Out The Dead, the security guard at the hospital named Griss repeatedly orders frantic family members and hypochondriacs back from the entrance door, warning them "Do not make Griss take off his sunglasses!"
- The Dark Knight Saga:
- A villainous example from Batman Begins - Dr. Crane removes his glasses before putting on his Scarecrow mask.
- The Dark Knight, the bank manager removes his glasses before grabbing a sawed-off shotgun and attempting to stop the thieves from robbing the bank.
- In the 1955 film Battle Cry, the bookworm Marion takes his glasses off after being pushed too far by the trouble-making Spanish Joe, and drops Joe with a single punch as Joe attempts to sucker punch him.
- Subversion: In the Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett collaboration Good Omens, hapless Newton Pulsifer is described as even less handsome when he takes off his glasses, because he bumps into things and has to wear bandages.
- In the same book, the demon Crowley is famous for never removing his sunglasses, regardless of the lighting. No reason is given (or needed). But near the end, when the organic waste is nearing the oscillating device, a group of hose-wielding humans accidentally knock off his shades. Cue slit-pupilled Menacing Stare and unholy wrath.
- Another subversion: one Encyclopedia Brown story involved a snooty newcomer to the neighborhood trying to romance the detective's Action Girl sidekick Sally. To impress her, the newcomer fights with a bully who is rude to them on a date, putting his glasses away in his chest pocket before getting into a long, drawn out fight where the bully lands many punches on his chest. When he pulls out his glasses after the fight and they are fine, Encyclopedia points out to Sally that if the fight were real the glasses should have been broken considering all the punches the bully was landing in the chest area. She promptly lays out the would-be boyfriend herself.
- The Machine Gunners has an instance of the practical use of this. Boddser Brown wears glasses, and Chas McGill insists he takes them off before the two start fighting, so Chas can't be blamed for breaking them.
Live Action TV
- The Brady Bunch: Middle girl Jan gets glasses in the third-season episode "The Not-So-Rose-Colored Glasses" and wears them (for the most part) for the rest of Season 3, and much of the time in Season 4. She is seen with glasses exactly once in a Season 5, after which it appears Jan's astigmatism is cured.
- On another episode, Marcia helps a girl become pretty. When her glasses are brought up, the girl mentions that she has contact lenses at home, but never wears them. How very convenient, but begs the question on how the girl's parents spent a large chunk of change on contacts for their daughter (this is the 1970's, after all), then simply let her not wear them. The same issue comes up in the film The Princess Diaries and is handled almost the same way.
- Family Matters: Urkel, whenever he used the Transformation Chamber to change into suave ladies man Stefan Urquelle (in Seasons 5-7, after which Urquelle becomes a "permanent" character, thanks to Urkel's cloning accident). Also, whenever the nerd used the Transformation Chamber to change into any one of his other alter-egos, including Elvis Urkel and Bruce Lee Urkel.
- Walker, Texas Ranger: C.D. Parker, but only when the bad guys removed them for him ... so they could beat him up.
- The Dukes of Hazzard: In the 2005 TV remake/prequel The Beginning, Daisy Duke wears thick glasses (among other things, as she also wears large sweaters and baggy pants, and her hair in a bun; and is very shy and mousy). When she went to get a job at the Boar's Nest, she shed all of these things and became the babelicious babe the character came to be known for. (This is all non-canon to true Dukes fans, as Daisy was queen of the prom in high school according to the series' bible.)
- Billy in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, though, interestingly, he doesn't stop needing glasses altogether until he stops having fight scenes in Power Rangers Zeo. He switched to contacts by that point. Behind the scenes, David Yost just got tired of wearing them around the time they shot the movie, in no small part because the chemical they used to prevent glare was starting to affect his vision.
- Wesley Wyndam-Pryce in Angel, who first appeared in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series as the young bespectacled Watcher of Faith the Slayer, but in the Angel series gradually became more competent in combat capabilities, until he had turned into a tragic, ruthless and brooding anti-hero (without glasses). Understandable because his character was originally introduced as the bumbling, poncy, and less cool version of...
- Rupert Giles, librarian, sorcerer and member of the Watchers' Council, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Giles admitted that he gained the nickname "Ripper" during his rebellious youth, when he had delved into black magics and demon summoning. Calling special attention to the trope, in the episode "The Gift", following a large heroic action sequence, Giles puts his glasses back on before he delivers a Coup de Grâce in cold blood, effectively refusing to be a hero as he commits a necessary but reprehensible act.
- In the Sixth Season, Xander and Willow mention in passing that Giles's habit of taking off his glasses and cleaning them was both a silent signal that he disapproved of what the Scooby Gang were doing, whether this be goofing off or doing something morally grey, and also a way of averting his eyes in the latter case so he could claim to have no knowledge of what they were doing.
- In Heroes, Mr. Bennet uses his glasses much like Giles, whipping them off or putting them back on every time he makes a big decision. His glasses are such an iconic part of his character that in the early days of season one, before his name was revealed, he was known to fans simply as HRG (Horn-Rimmed Glasses). And Sylar, a Serial Killer, doesn't need glasses — but in a Flashback, it's shown that he used to, and turning evil apparently improved his eyesight. However, Sylar is only seen wearing his glasses while working on a watch, implying that he is farsighted rather than nearsighted, which would explain why he does not have to wear them while kicking arse.
- In recent episodes, Sylar's glasses seem to have become more symbolic. When he's wearing them he's Gabriel Grey, the nice watchmaker he used to be. When he takes them off, he's the evil Sylar.
- Only after he stole Claire's power.
- Daniel Jackson in Stargate SG-1, subverts this trope as he's been known to kick plenty of ass with his glasses on. Usually he only takes them off when he's thinking or particularly stressed out about a situation.
- For added extra said glasses for his alternate universe counterpart have much thicker frames than he had at the start of the series just to hammer the point home.
- Also subverted within the show, as on many occasions the team can be seen wearing eye protection when going into a firefight, including post-spectacles Daniel.
- NCIS: At the end of an episode in which geeky coroner's assistant Jimmy Palmer has been fretting about being unable to do anything to stop a bad guy who shot at him, he gets his chance when he removes his glasses and then rams his car into the guy's truck with a maniacal grin.
- In Battlestar Galactica, President Roslin is constantly taking off/putting on her glasses at every dramatic moment.
- Romo Lampkin even steals her glasses during the Baltar trial for the purpose of making her look less intelligent/sympathetic.
- Romo himself takes off his Sunglasses at Night for effect during his interview with Caprica Six.
- Don't forget about Admiral Adama. Whenever he took off the glasses, he would end up doing rash things. It was only when he put the glasses back on that he started seeing things clearly.
- In The Office, Michael takes a stand against the new boss Charles, who remains calm and professional until he has finally had enough. He takes his glasses off and prepares to throw Michael out of the building, causing Michael to flee in terror.
- Eliot from Leverage tends to wear glasses every now and then, but mostly averts the trope by not always bothering to take them off when he's getting into a fight.
- In Criminal Minds, George Foyet ditches his Nerd Glasses after he's revealed as The Reaper.
- Parodied during a dream sequence of Leonards in The Big Bang Theory. Since the time machine he ordered blocks the stairs and the elevator is out of order, he opens the elevator door, whips his glasses off, swoops Penny off the floor and then, with her in his arm, lets himself down to the ground floor on the elevator cables.
- In Jeeves and Wooster, Gussie Fink-Nottle (Grade A wimp,) has just been accosted by Roderick Spode (huge, violent, wannabe dictator prone to making threats about broken necks,) and shaken so violently that his glasses fall off. Spode then gets a Tap on the Head by someone else, and Gussie is caught standing over Spode's unconscious body. Gussie invokes this trope by lying that Spode saw him remove his glasses, and should have fled for the hills at that point.
- Parodied in 'Allo 'Allo!; when Hans is required to seduce the rather unattractive Edith (It Makes Sense in Context), she gets right in his face and steams up his glasses. Hans takes them off to clean them, and she gushes "Oh, without your glasses you are even more attractive!" Hans chuckles nervously and says "So are you." She thinks it's a compliment.
- A sad example in Mad Men: when Lane tries to commit a clearly carefully planned suicide, he takes off his glasses and decisively snaps them as if to say he won't be needing those anymore. But it goes wrong, and as an added kick in the teeth from the universe, he then has to make do with the broken pieces as he comes up with plan B.
- Giles Variant in Due South: RayK is Blind Without 'Em, but refuses to wear his glasses because, well, they're Nerd Glasses. Every time a gunfight ensues, he ends up having to dig through his pockets to find his glasses while taking cover, but once the glasses are on, he has Improbable Aiming Skills.
- In the 1979 miniseries version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, George Smiley (played by Alec Guinness) takes off his glasses and cleans them on his tie just once. Significantly, it's when he's springing a trap.
- "In a Different Light" by Doug Stone is about an office worker who has a sexual fantasy about a female co-worker, who always comes to work wearing thick glasses, her hair in a bun and otherwise looking like a schoolmarm. He imagines her as a completely hot babe who has taken off her glasses, lets down her hair and either gets naked or wears a sexy dress. Even better — the whole thing comes true! "In a Different Light" became Stone's first No. 1 hit on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in the spring of 1991.
- When Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson came back to the WWE in February 2011, after his triumphant entrance, he removed his sunglasses, referred to himself as "Dwayne", and thanked the fans for supporting him when he left the WWE to go to Hollywood and expressed his heartfelt appreciation...and then the sunglasses went back on and The Rock, The Most Electrifying Man in All Entertainment, was back.
- One of the most beautiful Giles-style variants occurs in Metal Gear Solid 2. Otacon holds his dying sister in his arms. She reaches up to hold the side of his face, slightly lifting his glasses. They talk for a while, Otacon hiding his grief desperately, but then the glasses fall from her hand and clatter to the floor and she's gone, along with all of Otacon's attempts at stoicism; he bursts into tears. However, the next scene inverts the ass-kick variant, with him retrieving his glasses and putting them on when he realizes he has to go and save the hostages. Previously, the hydrophobic girl took her glasses off before facing her fear, with the subversion that she didn't actually need the glasses and only wore them to resemble her brother.
- The Main Character in Persona 4 does this when it's time to stop taking hits from the true final boss and kick its ass.
- There's also the fact that this action comes right after the boss's line, "Humans can't possibly grasp the truth with their own hands" - the glasses are used to see through the Ominous Fog of the Midnight Channel and he doesn't need them anymore.
- Funnily enough this is foreshadowed by the random encounter music. Specifically: "Yeah/Naked truth lies only if you realize/Appearing in nobody's eyes till they sterilize."
- The very minor character Riko Kanada does this to great effect in Princess Waltz, revealing that she's not a minor character after all, but the Heel Face Turned steel princess Liesel.
- Not to mention that the ever so epic musical piece "Battlefield of Steel" playing in the background turns this into a Crowning Moment of Awesome as well, especially if you think back and realize that they've been hinting ever so gently at this the entire time.
- Guile's pre-fight intro in Street Fighter IV employs this, but it's only a mild form of this trope (he pulls off his aviator sunglasses and sticks them in his back pocket). His friend Charlie Nash in the Street Fighter Alpha series is the straighter example of the two, though.
- Charlie is actually a subversion, because his glasses are purely cosmetic.
- In Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Wesker takes his shades off whenever he does a hyper combo.
- In Resident Evil 5, he takes them off before fighting with Chris and Sheva...only to chuck his shades at them as a distraction before Flash Stepping over to kick their asses.
- Before that, there's Resident Evil: Code: Veronica, where he takes them off and drops them to the floor before fighting Chris in the end.
- Shiki Tohno from Tsukihime is a crowning example of this. In the game (and spin-offs), he needs his glasses to see reality without the "lines of death" on all objects, which determine striking points to eliminate them from existence. Seeing the lines puts a lot of strain on him, so he keeps the glasses on all the time. Needless to say, he only takes off the glasses when he turns into a complete badass, represented as Shiki Nanaya. This change in personality is a result of his family heritage, as he is actually descended from a line of psychic monster killers. His blood boils when he detects supernatural threats like demons or vampires, causing him to lose control. A good example of this is when he cuts Arcuied Brunestud into a bunch of bloody chunks in the course of only a few seconds. She later has to use a massive amount of her power to restore herself, rendering her much more susceptible to the enemies in the series.
- If he takes off his glasses, it means he IS going to kill you, no matter who you are, or how powerful you are. If there is a single way possible to kill you, he will cut you, and you will die. This is so much, that one bad ending is reached by taking off your glasses. Why? Because you're not SUPPOSED to fight seriously!
- Another example from the Nasuverse is the subversion of the Servant "Rider", who usually wears thick, tinted glasses (replacing them with a piece of cloth wrapped around her eyes while fighting, maybe because it's more practical). In her case, it's because her true identity is the gorgon Medusa. When she takes off her glasses, people around her die horribly. Also, she has demonic snake eyes that look extremely unnerving from up-close (not that anyone who'd look at them care, being to busy as they'd be turning into statues).
- Andrew of Samurai Shodown removes his glasses before fighting.
- In Tales of the Abyss, Jade Curtiss takes off his glasses before the final battle with the Big Bad. Justified in that they're actually a Power Limiter.
- On a lesser (or greater) extent, taking his glasses off only cause nearby women to think he's very hot without them.
- TRON 2.0: In the analog world, Jet wears glasses. As soon as he hits Cyberspace, he's glasses-free and suffering no ill effects. The same thing happens when Alan gets zapped in.
- Kenji, the protagonist's best friend and comic relief guy from Katawa Shoujo wears extremely thick round glasses (he's literally Blind Without Them – the game takes place in a school for the disabled). He's a crazy, filthy, foul-mouthed shut-in who spends most of his time ranting about conspiracy theories and mooching off his friends for pizza money – but the one time he takes off his glasses (in a CG!), he instantly transforms into a sad looking Bishōnen, his wacky Leitmotif is replaced with a beautiful music piece and he tells a tragic story from his childhood... and then he puts his glasses back on, and the magic is broken. Complete with a Record Scratch.
- In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Jihl Nabaat takes her glasses off before she fights the party. She also takes them off and smashes them in frustration in Final Fantasy XIII.
- Averted in Xenogears. Citan, arguably the strongest party member in the game, never takes off his glasses. He does get a katana sword upgrade later in the game, however.
- Mostly subverted in the Xenosaga trilogy, where Shion keeps her glasses on, until Xenosaga: Episode III. Interestingly, Shion is related to the character Citan of Xenogears.
- When Terry of KateModern removes his glasses, it's a sign that he's really ticked off.
- Xandra from Neopets actually does this when she reveals to everyone her true evil self and then sends Faerieland crashing down onto Neopia to express how much she hates the Faeries and wants to destroy them one day.
- Subversion: The Simpsons: "Worst Episode Ever". Milhouse takes off his glasses before attacking Bart, but puts them back on when he realizes that he can't see without them.
- Family Guy: In the episode "Don't Make Me Over," she's-so-ugly Meg gets a makeover, which involves her shedding her glasses. (Meg becomes only bearable to look at, although it's played up as her becoming very attractive.) By episode's end, she decides she's happier being the girl that kissing reminds you of licking an ashtray, and reverts to her glasses-wearing, homely self.
- Reversed in The Fairly OddParents, when a geeky and useless boy becomes King Arthur — a rippled Adonis and fighting machine — when he puts glasses on. After all, how good are you going to be at swordplay when you are blind?
- Looney Tunes:
- "Transylvania 6-500": The cartoon short's villian, Count Von Count, is engaged in a battle of wits and "magic potion" one-upmanship with Bugs Bunny when he transforms himself into a bat (the animal); Bugs turns himself into a baseball bat, prompting Count to do the trope inversion ("You wouldn't hit a bat with glasses?"). Yes, Bugs would ... and does.
- Done straight and to great effect in Gargoyles - faced with an invasion by several angry gargoyles, Owen Burnett calmly takes off his glasses, puts them in his pocket, and adopts a martial arts stance. The fact that he isn't remotely capable of fighting a gargoyle hand-to-hand (not as Owen, anyway) does not make the moment any less Bad Ass.
- He does it again when everyone is fighting (and losing) against Oberon, before revealing his true identity.
- Averted in Metalocalypse, as Charles does not remove his glasses to fight, though he does undo his necktie before he first fights the Metal Masked Assassin. (When he's blugeoned into unconsciousness by the Assassin the second time around, his glasses remain bent and broken on his face as he lies lifeless.)
- Parodied with a hint of Ho Yay in Clone High, where JFK gives a makeover to Gandhi, then completes it by taking off his glasses. JFK told Gandhi he "Looks like an Angel."
- Inverted by the title character of Daria in that The Glasses Came Back On after the visual restrictiveness of her specs when driving caused her to have an identity crisis.
- Also inverted in the 1960s cartoon Fearless Fly. The housefly hero is a 98-milligram weakling, until he dons his square-rimmed glasses. Inevitably, in nearly every episode, he gets them knocked off at a crucial moment.
- Played straight in the Magic School Bus's Dinosaur episode, where Arnold takes off his glasses and tucks them away in his shirt pocket to fight the T-Rex.
- Recess plays this straight in a dream sequence when Miss Grotke's getting ready for a boxing match.
- Also played straight in "Gus's Last Stand", when Gus (attempts) to fight Gelman.
- Used to pretty frightening effect in Wakfu when Qilby merges with the Eliacube. His glasses shatter and he gains Glowing Eyes of Doom and a Slasher Smile.
- Real-life example: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair occasionally did this during Prime Minister's Question Time.
- The queen of Denmark does this at the end of her annual New Year's speech, but only in order to deliver her Motto. Good thing, too, since she really does seem to be blind without them.
- Dave Barry never appears with eyeglasses on the covers of his books, even though he admits to be Blind Without 'Em. He even joked about his yearbook photo, saying that the glasses instantly made him look like a Teacher's Pet geek.
- Sometimes it really is a good idea to take glasses off if you're going to be getting into physical confrontation or a contact sport, because of the possibility of them being knocked off, lost, or damaged. But unlike what some non-glasses-wearing folks think, you needn't fear having breakable glass attached to your eyes, because modern glasses are made of shatterproof plastic.
- Averted by Belgian heptathlete/high jumper Tia Hellebaut, who never takes off her glasses. Not even when winning Olympic gold.
- Averted with race car drivers who put glasses on when getting into the car. Even if they wear contacts the rest of the time it is best not to have a contact drama in a race at 250km/h.
- Elton John was well known for wearing glasses, and at the height of his success in The Seventies, some very goofy ones. So it was startling when Elton switched to soft contact lenses, beginning with the promo video for his 1977 single, "Ego". Up until 1985 or so, Elton wore contact lenses for at least the majority of the time, including his 1980 Central Park concert, which gave him a different image. He had LASIK surgery in 2003, but wears tinted sunglasses to maintain the bespectacled "Elton" image.
- In contrast, "Weird Al" Yankovic built his career with his signature glasses and moustache. After he had LASIK surgery to correct severe myopia, he unveiled a new glasses-and-moustache-free look on the album "Running With Scissors".
- Averted with many military personnel, who are often required to wear ballstic safety glasses on the battlefield, at the shooting range, or operating heavy machinery or power tools. They often pull double-duty as Cool Shades. If you actually need glasses to see, you can insert a set of corrective lenses inside the safety glasses.
- Played straight during Basic Training. Recruits who need glasses are issued BCGs (Birth Control Glasses, so named because of their thick brown plastic frames and large plastic lenses supposedly being a detriment to sexual encounters). At a certain point in the training cycle, they are allowed to wear their civilian frams again, at which point the BCGs come off and are often never seen again.
- Mike Royko, Chicago Tribune columnist, once wrote that he disapproved of contact lenses because anyone who wanted to start a fight would look silly trying to remove them, whereas taking off glasses looks cool.