A Site for Sore eyes, indeed

In What’s the origin of “sight for sore eyes”?, SDSTAFF Ken closes with:

A groaner, to be sure. But it strikes me that an ophthalmologist’s office might be just as appropriate for that sign. Or even more so.

You know, every time I’ve heard Linus referring to the shepherds as being “sore afraid” in Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown, I thought he was garbling the words “so afraid” in an otherwise perfectly enunciated reading. Duh. You’d have thought Dope would have made more progress with me since 1973…

I don’t think SDStaff Ken really addressed the question.

All he said was, “sore means distressed, etc.” (so far so good)

But then he just concludes. . .

“a sight for sore eyes” therefore means that “the sight of you puts my mind at ease.”

Now, certainly, the great majority of us use it that way, but it’s doesn’t seem to just automatically follow from the structure of the expression.

It COULD mean what the questioner’s “someone special” said. . .

Why can’t it mean “the sight of you is the reason for my sore eyes,”

You know. . .in the same vein as “putting the two of them in the same room is a recipe for disaster.” (maybe not the best example, but I think I still have a point)

That’s what I thought it meant the first few times I heard it. The song “Factory Girl” by the Rolling Stones off Beggar’s Banquet seemed to reinforce that idea with me.

Because then it would be something like, “You’re a sight causing sore eyes” or “You’re a sight from sore eyes” rather than the actual expression"you are a sight for sore eyes." The word “for” implies “to relieve” or “in help of” rather than cause. Similarly, “take two aspirin for a headache” doesn’t mean that taking aspirin causes the headache.

Call 1-900-555-1234 for a good time.

Call Abe Lincoln for score and seven years ago.

OK, enough.

I agree that we use “for” almost exlcusively the way you describe, but I don’t think there’s anything in the actual definition of “for” that precludes it from meaning the opposite of what Ken says it means.

I’m not actually able to come up with a good example that illustrates my point, maybe the expression, “a cause for alarm.” Of course throwing the word “cause” in there makes it pretty explicit what we mean.

This might be a stretch, but “he used a gun for murder” doesn’t mean the gun helped cure the murder.

And, John Kennedy is only half joking there. . .“Call 1-900 for a good time” doesn’t mean “call 1-900 for relief from a good time”.

Basically, I thought the main point of the answer should have been why “a sight for sore eyes” COULDN’T mean “a sight causing sore eyes”. That’s the real gist of it. . .why is the friend wrong. . .not just reiterating what most of us agree on.