Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Queer Eye

Look. Do I need glasses? No, I do not.

Do I want them? Obviously I do, because they are cute and trendy and I think they make me look smart.

Can you make me feel embarrassed by trying on my glasses and saying "these are so weak! Are you only pretending you need glasses!?"

No. You cannot. I don't care what you think about why I'm wearing glasses. Want to know why I don't care what you think?

Because I look cute and trendy and smart.

Also, why should you get to decorate your face in ways that serve no utility purposes? Do you need those earrings to hear better? No. You don't.

Well my glasses are just earrings for my eyes.

Ones that are cute and trendy and smart.

It took me years to build the eye confidence I have now. I wasn't always this incredibly inspiring almost-godly figure you see before you today. I used to go to eye appointments periodically, resisting the temptation to intentionally perform poorly on the various tests so the doctor would tell me I needed glasses.

At the end of the appointment he or she would say my eyes were fine. "Perfect" even. They would say it like this was good news. Like they weren't crushing my dreams. Like they weren't telling me I would never be cute and trendy and smart.

I would walk out disappointed, but also feeling guilty for not being grateful for the fact that this relatively helpful sense, of which I only have about five, was functioning well.

And maybe that made me a garbage person. I still don't know.

But the point is, I just really wanted glasses.

I was like those kids in elementary school that wanted to break their arm just to get the cast. Except I was a twenty-something-year-old man. One who was constantly told by medical professionals that I didn't need an eye cast. Because my eyes were fine. Annoyingly, frustratingly, fine.

Then, finally, mumble mumble years ago I concluded an eye appointment with Dr. what's his name wheeling his little wheely stool to me, looking at me, and saying, "well, your eyes aren't perfect--"

"GO ON" I said more loudly than I intended.

"But," he said, starting to knock the wind out of me, "they're almost perfect."

"So you think I need glasses."

I didn't believe in Jedi mind tricks, but I figured it couldn't hurt to throw it out there.

"No." He said. But then he read the room. "Wait. Do you want glasses?"

I paused. I had never admitted it to anyone outside of my immediate family. I had always been too ashamed.

But with Dr. whoseitswhatsit looking at me from his wheely stool, I finally summoned the courage.

"Yes. I want glasses."

He nodded, like this wasn't his first rodeo, scribbled something on a piece of paper, and handed it to me, already forgetting my name and existence before even standing up.

A few weeks later, my new frames arrived.

I was cute. And trendy. And smart.

Over time I started admitting the facade to other people.

"It's a weak prescription," I would say. "Sometimes they help me see better when I drive at night. But mostly I just wanted glasses because they're cool."

It was liberating, being so terribly me out in the open like that.

Finally last week I decided it was time to update the frames. If I'm really just doing this for fashion, I probably ought to keep up with fashion trends.

So I wandered into a glasses store near my office on a Tuesday afternoon and told the sassy gay man who greeted me what I was looking for.

"Ok" he nearly hissed at me. "Here's the deal. You tell me what you want, and then I'll figure out what you need."

Want. Need.

I thought I had already resolved this conflict. Why was this man who sells glasses trying to get me to revert in my progression?

But a moment later I discovered that he didn't mean he was going to force me to grapple with the insecurity of desiring glasses for fashion when others need them for utility.

He placed a pair of circular black frames on my face, winced, yelled "FAT," and then threw them into a bin.

Sassy gay glasses salesman wasn't there to shame me for faking a disability. He was there to find the best earrings for my eyes.

Suddenly he was no longer a middle-aged man wearing suspenders and a pocket square; he was an elderly woman in a blue muumuu using her magic wand to turn a pumpkin into a carriage.

A slimming carriage.

Fifteen minutes later he had found the pair. "Professional but fun. Youthful." he called them.

Cute. Trendy. Smart.

"My work here is done."

He ordered them for me. The next few weeks of waiting already feel like an eternity.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. I feel your pain. I don't need glasses, but I often think I want glasses. Haven't made the plunge, have contemplated it. Can't wait to see what your fairy god-salesperson magicked for you!

  2. I need this sassy gay man in my life! My eyewear peeps are kind of awful. Promise you'll post pics as ASAP as possible!! (<--I may be in love with Michael Scott)

  3. I've HAD to wear glasses since 5th grade. I needed them before then but during school eye exams I'd listen to the kids in front of me and memorize the eye chart by their answers so I could get away with NOT having to have glasses. A teacher finally ratted me out to my parents for squinting all the time from the back row and I was ticked. My eyes are so bad that I can't function without glasses or contacts. I hate them and if I weren't so chicken I'd get lasik but they told me they'd had to use the blade method and not the laser and I am too chicken to let a knife anywhere near my eyeballs.

    1. I feel you so hard on your comment, The Suuuzzzzz, except my eye dysfunction wasn't discovered until 6th grade, which was also the year my non-existent boobs decided to become C-cups almost overnight, so I had THAT going for me, too. (I was the ugly, fat girl...not the cute, perfect-and-now-she-also-has-boobs girl.)

      I, too, am chicken when it comes to lasik. My husband got it at one point, and I quite frequently catch him squinting with one eye at the tv as we're watching, so that seems to have worked out well. ::rolls imperfect eyes::

      All I can do is hope that whenever the zombie apocalypse starts, it will be right after I've gotten my prescription filled for my monthly contact lenses, so I'll be stocked up for a year. I *hate* wearing my glasses, and I don't think I'd enjoy fighting zombies with them on at. all.

  4. My six year old is the same way! We bought her a box of fake kids-size frames on Amazon and it was the best money we’ve ever spent. I’m only mocking you a little bit. Haha. I do love that I can throw on glasses (rather than contacts) as an accessory when I want them, so I get it too.

  5. I've been wearing glasses since I was 11. I cannot see anything at all without them. I have trifocals (one part for far away, one part for computer, one part for reading). I never take them off until I am safely in my bed and I put them back on before my feet hit the floor in the morning. And they are so so so expensive that I can only own one pair at a time. I am envious of people with weak prescriptions like big-breasted women wearing industrial bras are envious of women with small boobs wearing little lacy things.

    1. This! The last part haha yep, yep, yep!

    2. I am so envious of women who can wear lacy bras . . .

  6. I'm sorry you had to wait so long to fulfill your destiny. Every year I go to the glasses place and buy a new pair of frames with clear lenses for my local Santa, because he can't keep up with them season to season. They will sell you all the frames you want, no prescription needed.

    1. yes - but insurance won't pay for them if you don't have a prescription . . .

  7. Ok. You look good in glasses. I can admit it. Some people look good in glasses. It hurts, but it’s true. I have worn glasses since second grade and my prescription is so strong that -well, let’s just confess it’s just strong and leave it at that. Thus, all the cute trendy glasses are not an option because my lenses are too heavy to fit in those frames. Yeah, I’m that girl with glasses. When I put them on, the curve of the lens and the magic of whatever shrink my eyes down to tiny dots straddling my nose. It’s terrifying. And this is what I thought I looked like until what my junior year of high school when I got the courage to stick my fingers on my eyeballs and get contacts. I vividly remember staring at myself in the mirror, shocked and a little confused that THAT was what I actually looked like. Because before then my nose had to touch the mirror for me to see myself clearly and let’s be honest, the nose to nose view isn’t really what people see when they look at you, you know, just on the regular. So yeah, congrats to you and super excited for your new glasses to come so we can all compliment you on your HAIR and GLASSES and HOT TRIATHLON BOD. as for me, I will keep wearing contacts until the end of time.

  8. I wanted glasses until I had to wear glasses and then I got contacts until I was pregnant and the child growing within me gave me allergies. So then I got lasik because while I like how glasses look on me I reallllllly want to wear cute sunglasses and prescription sunglasses are NOT cute. I think I do need glasses again but I'm refusing to get them (or get my eyes checked). I took an eye test for my driver's license yesterday and I have NO idea how I passed (I honestly don't think they care what I say).

    1. False: prescription sunglasses are super cute. You’re just shopping for the wrong frames! I get more compliments on my prescription frames than any of my non-prescription pairs.

    2. Are they bedazzled? Because I gotta have my bling . . . .

  9. Wow, Eli! Your face looks so cute and trendy and smart! You're incredible! Best looking person in the world!

  10. I've been buying my Rayban Wayfarers since I was a teenager- and my prescription isn't a small one. Somehow Lenscrafters does their magic and gets my Rx into those frames so I don't have to look like a dork.

  11. When I was 5, my friend and I wanted glasses. We thought if you were blind you needed glasses, right? Like, any kind of blind? Even color blind? So we spent an afternoon claiming things were all kinds of wild colors — look at that orange sky! That purple tree! That yellow barn! — trying to convince her mom we needed glasses.

    Fast forward five years and I got glasses for real.

    This weekend my friend (another genuine glasses wearer — we are Velma from Scooby Doo levels of blind without ours) and I were discussing laser surgery. I commented that I’ve never really seen the appeal because I like my glasses anyway, they’re an important part of my wardrobe. I have like a dozen frames.

    Her solution? “You could always wear glasses with perfect vision, just for fashion.”


  12. As someone that needs glasses I can actually totally understand wanting to wear them as an accessory. I personally wish I had the option to not where them sometimes, but aesthetically it's a choice I get. I do have to question paying for eye appointments and prescription glasses you don't need though. Those are expensive, and I'm pretty sure you can buy fashion glasses without a prescription...

  13. I may or may not have done the same thing at one point.... And now my mum keeps nagging me about why I’m not wearing my reading glasses anymore, don’t I need them?!

  14. Funny...there was a day when having to wear glasses was shaming, and made one the object of so many choruses of “Four-eyes! Four-eyes!” We may now embrace the need, nay, the want, to be cute, trendy and smart just for the heck of it!

  15. I got glasses when I was five years old. My brother was three and jealous, so they gave him a pair of empty frames. Now you can walk into Claire's and find lots of different glasses that are purely decorative--exactly like earrings for your eyes. My point is that you could have gotten glasses without prescription lenses AT ANY TIME and you've wasted all these years with unadorned eyeballs. Congrats on finally having your dream come true the hard way, though!

  16. I wear glasses for long-distance vision while driving at night. Yes, that’s highly specific. The ONLY other time I wear my glasses is if I go to the movies, which basically doesn’t happen. ANYWAYS, I should have worn them in class for high school and college, but was way too self-conscious about how I looked. When I was first dating my husband, he FaceTimed his then-15 year old brother while driving. Well, I was driving and he was FaceTiming. And his brother said “Wow, Julie, I didn’t know you wore glasses! You look great in glasses!” And he’s been my favorite in-law ever since! LOL

  17. I've had glasses since 4th grade, contacts since 7th. I hated my glasses when I was younger, but now I don't mind them. I have a friend from high school with perfect vision who wanted glasses so badly that she finally bought herself a fake pair in some Claire's-like shop so she can wear them as eye-earrings when she wants to feel trendy and smart.

    I really need a sassy gay glasses salesman to help me out though because my current pair of glasses is 9 years old and the coating on the lenses started to peel in the corners ages ago. I'm too lazy to go get a new pair though. I feel like if your eyes are as bad as mine are, a new pair should just automatically appear at your door once a year without you having to do anything.

  18. I’ve had glasses since the First grade and cannot function without them! I’ve recently started wearing clear acrylic frames bc they help my insanely thick lenses look less noticeable. Like my eyes are almost 50% smaller when I have glasses on due to the magnification.
    BUT GUESS WHAT?! Clear frames = INVISIBLE GLASSES when you are legally blind. I live in fear of accidentally dropping them when I take them off to clean them. It’s happened before. It is not fun. I’ve had to stoop to asking my toddlers to find them and just hope they don’t step on them in the process.