Something shady is going on here.

Santa Barbara had the rainiest winter in 10 years when I was a freshman. It must have rained for nearly a week at one point. Everybody on campus was miserable. But then, one January morning, I saw a sight I’ll never be able to forget. On a particularly dark, ominous cloudy day, coming out from the UCen, I saw a student wearing…sunglasses. Yes, you heard me: sunglasses.

I know Southern Californians aren’t used to rain, but clearly this fixation we have on sunglasses must be a disease.

Yes, I’m aware it’s just so gosh darn sunny where we live. Of course I’m familiar with the benefits of UV400 lenses on your sensitive eyes. And yet, somewhere along the way, someone decided a pair of sunglasses instantly made you a badass extraordinaire, and thus, they must be worn as often as possible.

In the olden days, sunglasses were for two kinds of people: pilots and musicians. Somewhere along the way, however – if Guy Patterson from “That Thing You Do” is to be believed – people who wore sunglasses were dark and mysterious brooders. Hiding your eyes was a sign of someone hiding their angsty, tortured soul, rather than hiding the gram of H they scored earlier in the day.

I see several problems with this, however. For instance, think for a moment about the last Myspace survey you took. You had to answer the question, “What’s the first thing you notice on the opposite sex?” Don’t tell me – I already know what you put: eyes. Everyone always picks eyes. Assuming you’re not lying because you felt embarrassed to write “b00bs” or “smooth, chiseled abs,” why cover up your best asset? What if Ron Jeremy kept Lil’ Ronnie inside his pants – would you still watch his movies?

And then there’s the whole indoors thing. I’m reminded of the underclassmen strutting into the dining halls at lunchtime with their fake Dolce & Gabbanas wrapped around their faces, waiting until they sit down before parting with their beloved Italians. Obviously they were that much more angsty and tortured because they asked for their rotisserie chicken quarter in the dark.

The biggest mystery to me is what sort of gratification we’re expecting from wearing sunglasses. Let’s say you spent $350 on the bitchin’ set of Robert Marc shades Matt Damon wore in the film “Ocean’s Thirteen.” “Whoa, SICK, bro!” your friends will now exclaim. “You look just like Matt Damon now… awesome!” You then mount your bicycle feeling 50 feet tall for you are no longer a student. Nay, you have become a fashion god. Stand aside, peons! Women will now crumble at your feet. In fact, that foxy lady in Beta shorts biking by just turned her head. Hey, baby, what’s your sign… Oh, nevermind. She was stretching… yeah, she totally wants you.

What did you get for your $350 dollars? A nice little ego boost lasting a whole five minutes. You try not to notice when you park your bike that your friend walks over in their own sunglasses. He turns his head as he waits for you to exclaim, “Whoa, SICK, bro! You look AWESOME!” God[[ok]] forbid you lose that pair, or run over it by mistake.

I’m not going to tell you not to wear sunglasses, because then I would be a hypocrite. In addition to showing off my $15 Wayfarer knockoffs inside Buchanan on a regular basis, I’ve been known to even wear them over my regular glasses – Ray-Bans, of course.

I therefore propose a set of rules regarding the usage of shades – Shade Law, if you will.

Shade Law the First: Thou shalt not wear sunglasses once the sun sets. If the sunset is barely visible that day, then thou must use the paper test: If you can no longer read a Xerox printout from class, it’s time to fold those babies up.

Shade Law the Second: Thou shall wear sunglasses no farther than 24 inches from a doorway. Once the shadow from the opening of a door grazes your face, put those glasses in their place.

Finally, Shade Law the Third: Thou shall stop wearing that shit in the rain. Listen to Natasha Bedingfield, feel the rain on your skin.