SOMERS POINT - For many high schoolers, the hours spent trying to achieve a cool look can easily surpass the time spent doing homework.
But, for some local secondary school students, looking like a nerd, especially with big, black-framed glasses, puts them on the cutting edge of trendiness.
And they're not getting the look at area shops or malls. They're getting what they need at the movies.
In 2008, Noelle Gassman saw "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert" and received 3-D glasses to watch the concert film at a movie theater.
At the end of the film, moviegoers are asked to deposit their glasses in a box inside the theater when exiting. Gassman held onto hers.
Last year, Gassman, started wearing the 3-D glasses as an eighth-grader to Jordan Road School in Somers Point "just to be different."
"I have 20 pairs from 2009. I wear them at school, the Ocean City Boardwalk and occasionally in Atlantic City," said Gassman, 14, now a freshman at the CharterTech High School for the Performing Arts here.
Last year, everybody at Jordan Road was wearing "nerdy glasses" by the middle of the school year, the Somers Point girl said.
While Gassman started wearing the glasses to be different, Joe Parisi, also 14, of Longport, began wearing them to fit in. He visited CharterTech last year and saw random students sporting nerdy glasses.
"I probably got mine at the Regal when I saw 'Jackass 3D' in early October. You don't have to put them in the box," Parisi said.
Parisi, also a CharterTech freshman, said his 10-and 13-year-old sisters wear them. They are in fifth and eighth grade, respectively, at the Eugene A. Tighe Middle School in Margate.
Gassman did makeup for people taking a Haunted Hayride this past Halloween. Everyone who saw her told her they liked the glasses, she said.
"My mother said it was adorable and weird. My dad said I was a freak," said Gassman, who added almost all her friends wear them. "I didn't know it would get around that fast. I have an entire drawer full of them."
It's hard to tell where this trend started, or who is influencing whom.
During the past two years, various celebrities have sported the nerdy-chic look with their large black-framed glasses, including singers Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake, rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West and actresses Demi Moore and Helena Bonham-Carter.
The trend doesn't appeal to all teenagers.
At Oakcrest High School in Mays Landing, freshman and sophomores were wearing the 3-D glasses in September and October, said Perri Smith, 17, a senior, who also lives in Mays Landing.
"A girl came in with glasses with no lenses. I thought it looked stupid. She said she thought it looked cool," Smith said.
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