Thursday, August 16, 2012

Green Eyed Monster

Ain’t good looking, but you know I ain’t shy.
Ain't afraid to look a girl in the eye.
--Rambling, Gambling Man, Bob Seger

Eyes are my favorite feature.  I believe they truly are the windows to your soul.

Perhaps that’s why novels always offer up detailed descriptions of the eyes of their characters.  Seems you can’t walk through an aisle of books without the quintessential green-eyed redhead, blue-eyed blond, or hazel-eyed chestnut brunette staring back at you.

Probably one of the most famous green eyed pictures ever.
Green eyes are the rarest eye color for humans, although they are one of the most common colors of cats’ eyes.  It was this association that got green-eyed ladies tagged with mystery and possibly supernatural powers.  In the days of wigs and lice combs, witches were believed to have green eyes, and able to shape-shift into cats at will.  The glowing green eyes were the only proof of the human that was still there under the fur.  Fur Far fetched?  Maybe.  Then again, our ancestors may have been just snorting wig powder.

For the real origin of green eyes, forget all you learned in grade school from Mendel and his pea plants--eye color is no longer felt to be an example of a simple genetic trait.  Instead, it is the result of variation at several different genes.  No one has exactly the same color eyes--and this variation is why two brown eyed parents can spawn a green eyed child.

Green eyes probably originated from a mutation in proto-Celtic peoples during the Bronze Age, and then with the aid of pillaging and wars, came to be spread throughout the world.  The highest number of green eyed people is actually seen in Turkey and Iceland.  In 2010, the inhabitants of Liqian, an isolated Chinese village, were found to be direct descendants of a lost Roman army--all based on their green eyes.

A Liqian citizen--descendant of Romans in China?
Green eyes are said to be related to passion and sexual prowess.  Their owners are reputed to have a curious nature and an overall zest for life.  On the down side, they tend to be jealous and fiercely independent to a fault.  Shakespeare may have coined the term “green eyed monster” and its association with jealousy in his plays, first in The Merchant of Venice and then Othello.  Here’s a quote in which Iago explains a man who knows his wife is cheating is better off than the man who just suspects.

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in bliss,
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger:
But O, what damnèd minutes tells he o'er
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!
A far more palatable green eyed monster.
If you read any paranormal literature, you may find that many characters--good and evil--seem to have green eyes.  Perhaps this is due to their rarity, but the green eyed malicious and/or magical mythos has long been propagated.  Have you ever noticed all the Disney villains seem to have green eyes?  And where are the green eyed princesses?

I was told as a girl that green eyes meant you harbored an evil spirit.  There are many myths of otherworldly creatures with green eyes and sinister plans.  Some of the first vampire myths gave the vampire glowing green eyes and red hair.  The Eastern European Rusalka is a mermaid-like creature with eyes of green that haunts waterways, seducing and drowning young men who try to come to her aid.  Sort of like the modern-day cougar.  Or Jen Aniston.  
The Rusalka.  
Other cultures, like Gypsies, believe green eyes represent a person with an “old soul”, or the reincarnated version of a shaman long gone.  Because Harry Potter has green eyes, dammit, no matter what color Daniel Radcliffe has.  

My eyes are green.  They’re also slightly different sizes and for whatever reason I get red eye from hell in every flash picture I take.  I know that the physics side of me explains this away by just simple reflections off the retina and the color of blood vessels.

But then again, there's been times I've been accused of harboring a demon.

Hope your week is going well.  Mine is going fantastically, despite what my horoscope says.  Sometimes, the stars lie.


  1. Very cool. I happen love green eyes and have given my heroes green eyes in my stories. Like my guitar player in my 60's tale. I never bought into all the myths about green eyes because I believe there is a bit of demon and witch in all og us.

  2. Green eyes are mysterious. One go my characters has green eyes.

  3. Green eyes predominate in my novels. The alien love of my hero, Samuel McCord, has jade eyes. Fallen, the last fae, has green eyes. Both are bad girls with a capitol B! Green eyes fascinate me personally in the women I meet.

    Of course one of the more vicious ladies in my novels has blue eyes. And my Victorian ghoul, Alice Wentworth, has neon blue eyes.

    This was a fascinating post. Thank you so much for posting it. Always enjoy your posts, Roland

  4. Leave it to ‘Old-School McMe’ to correct an oversight:

    What, no mention of one of the great Hammond B-3 workouts in conjunction with this subject?

    Green-eyed lady, wind-swept lady
    Moves the night, the waves, the sand
    Green-eyed lady, ocean lady
    Child of nature, friend of man

    C'mon, get yer hippie on!
    Click here:


    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  5. Well this explains a great deal....

  6. I have hazel eyes with green flecks in them. What does that mean???? *paces back and forth with worry*


  7. I didn't know they were the rarest eye color for humans--interesting. They certainly have a history!

  8. Your eyes are the same color as my son's (who has two brown-eyed parents, each of whom has a blue-eyed parent). But, we can't do the dominant/recessive eye-color game any more??? That makes me sad. p.s. there are eye colors (like that famous green-eyed picture in your post above) that are kind of freaky. There was an actress who had those paler than pale ice-blue eyes (more ice than blue). Do you know if that's an inherited trait or if it's some sort of mutation?

  9. You have gorgeous green eyes. I love how they can look blue or grey or brown or hazel, depending on the light.

  10. Green eyes are my favorite. Fun post!

  11. That was very informative on green eyes. I used to work with a gal that had emerald green eyes. They were stunning.

  12. WOOOO, my eyes are green too! :D We have yet more in common than a love of Peter Steele :)

  13. I have always wanted green eyes. Alas, mine are hazel. *sigh* I have to remind myself that not all my characters can have green eyes though.f

  14. I too have greenish eyes, most definitely green when I cry for some reason? My daughter too has green eyes. It seems to me that most red heads have green eyes. Maybe you could find the connection.
    Great to see a post from you, especially one so fascinating.

  15. Great post! I like to learn about all of the historical superstitions. In Chaucer's time, they thought that gap-toothed women were especially lusty and that pimples indicated a perverse nature. Go figure! Following you now.
    Catherine Stine’s Idea City

  16. So cool that you have green eyes. I really don't see green eyes often. Mine are blue. Everyone else in my household, including the dogs, have brown eyes.

  17. I love me some green eyed babes! lol Yeah, and all 3 of my cats have green eyes. Once I saw a blonde gal with purple eyes. It took me a few weeks when I saw her again to ask why. It was then that I caught up with the times as this was when they first came out with non cosmetic contact lenses. In short, green are still my fave!

  18. I loveee the color of your eyes, and their shape...I am fascinated with green eyes...ever since Scarlett O'Hara

  19. I learned about that second picture in my art class this semester!

    Merry Christmas


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