Wednesday, 27 August 2008

In which I am ambivalent about my new glasses

I am ambivalent about my new glasses.

I fucking hate wearing glasses at the best of times. They are the work of the devil, but contacts are impossible when you have no eyelashes to swat the urban gunk out of your eyes. God, I cried so much the day I got glasses for the first time (aged 10). Big, snotty despairing howls. It really felt like the end of the world and it shows - every picture of me from that era is etched with my misery. Glasses (I went for the classic pink NHS frame - not a good choice with my colouring)! And a baby sister! Could it get any worse? No. It couldn't. Not even a trip to the Horse of the Year show could cheer me up. It would have taken a Real Horse in the back yard to cheer me up.
For years I begged for contacts and eventually got them at 14, at which point life regained some semblance of meaning, even though I spent most of my newly meaningful time pleading with people to unscrew U-bends to try and recover my lenses from a pool of pipe scum. But by the time I hit 21 I was bald as a coot, devoid of eyelashes, and back in the eyewear of the devil.

I still hate glasses. When I squint at myself myopically in the mirror at the opticians, it goes one of two ways. Marge Simpson/fifties housewife pointy upturned cornerness, or über-geek no mates dreary sexless non-entity. And the cost! Non-glasses wearers, you have no idea. 600 euros? Do you know how many bowls I could get with that? I tell myself regularly that I might go for the surgery option but incision! in your eyeball! Do you get drugs? There would have to be shitloads of drugs.

I went for the super severe Chanel frames tested out when Tony was chasing me. These are glasses for the person I would like to be, I think. They say satirical columnist on the New Yorker, or curator in a design museum, or architect with severe fringe in mannish Helmut Lang suit. They say "yeah, we are glasses. What the fuck are you going to do about it? We are modernist glasses and we have Things to Say". They are aspirational glasses. Punching above my weight glasses. They intimidate me slightly. I am not sure who is wearing whom.

Look. With thanks to my large rubber reptile models.

I look like this:

Or possibly like this:

(New portrait! You like? Looks to me like my evil plan is 99% complete, no?)

The glasses look like this:

Old glasses

"Hi, we're Emma's glasses. We are self-effacing to the point of being barely visible. We apologise for our existence and we promise you won't even notice us. "

New glasses

"What the fuck are you staring at? Yes. We are glasses. In fact, we are ironic glasses. We are "glasses" and if you don't like us, that is because you don't get us. Your problem, not ours"

New glasses vs old glasses

Can I live with glasses that are so intent on making a statement? Do you see me as more lizard, or alligator? Has anyone gone down the eye incision route? Tell me internet. I need your help.


zoe said...

I made the same change in shape/style/make as you did. From wire-framed, designer label glasses I went to the cheapo option of ChanelSavers (look, just don't tell anyone, OK?) where I got a second frame for free. The two pairs of glasses cost less than the previous designer pair - (gratefully paid for by my dad). But they're more or less the same shape as your newbies, although I'm sure you won't remember.

That means that I like them.

Potty Mummy said...

I haven't done the laser thing (apparantly it doesn't work for astigmatism), but have a friend who has, and says it has Changed Her Life. 20 seconds per eye, unpleasant yes, but over so quickly, and she wishes she had done it years ago.

Your new glasses look cool, btw...

Waffle said...

Zoe - Really? I don't remember your glasses looking scary at all. I was too busy trying not to die I suppose.

Hi PM, I like the sound of something Changing My Life. May investigate further...

The glasses made me wear a black shirt/trousers combo today. I look like Oswald Mosley.

Kate said...

I like them. When you started explaining them, I thought they were going to be like Cat Eye glasses or like Carrie Donovan or something. They're lovely. And having a little attitude in your eyewear is good (says she who wore glasses for a while in 8th grade and then stopped but should probably be wearing them now since she is realizing her computer screen is just slightly blurry)

Waffle said...

Yay! Hi Kate and thank you for being lovely. You do crafty stuff! Will you do something for the village fête? Go oooon. You know you want a Belgian prize...

peevish said...

First off, I've worn glasses since I was 7, but am now mostly ensconced in contact lenses. Yea, disposables! But I still have glasses for evenings, allergy days, hangover days, etc. So believe me, I feel your pain. The new glasses are smashing, as in SHUT THE FUCK UP OR I WILL SMASH YOU. I love them.

Secondly, My best friend (office regional manager type person) once bought a set of glasses simply because the eye doctor said they made her look mean. Gives you an edge, right?

And third? Oh my God, an Oswald Mosley reference? How cool are you? A few months ago I finished reading The Mitfords (letters) and have missed feeling myself to be within their milieu ever since.

Also, (would this be Fourth? it just seems like i"m carrying the number format a bit too far) your new portrait is lovely. Well, perhaps that isn't the right word, but I like it even more than the previous one.

Waffle said...

Hey Peevish!

I like the numbered list (I'm in the law remember, we like that shit) and will respond in kind.

1. I have been meaning for some time to tell you:
1.1 Peevish is one of my absolute favourite words; and
1.2 Carey (get out your cane) is one of my all time favourite songs too;
1.3 I am a great Mitford sister fan too, despite their dubious political allegiances; so
1.4 Are we twins?

2. Mean/smashing glasses. Yes. I am mean. Frequently. This could work!

3. Do you think I should change my portrait then? I fear the earlier one is more accurate, but maybe the mean glasses will change all that.

justme said...

I love the new glasses! I am currently wearing a pair just like your old ones, in which I look deeply unattractive. On top of that, I cant see properly and keep falling over. This is because I CAN'T wear glasses as I I lose all my depth perception, so, I have worn contacts since I was 14. However, extreamly nasty eye infection prevents me from wearing contacts, ( see my blog!) so glasses it is. I am a danger on the roads....especially after dark. And I feel sea sick. And have to close my eyes to go down stairs. But I digress.....I have considered the laser option, and despite astigmatism have been told I would be suitable. My concern is, that I don't know any opthalmic surgeons who have had it done. They all seem to be wearing glasses still. I find this deeply suapicious.... Does anyone know anything about the LONG term effects of having the surgery? Because I do quite like the idea of
Changing My Life.........hmmmm....might take more than eye surgery.

justme said...

Possibly I meant suspicious! Told you I couldn't see!

kelly said...

As my eyesight continues to worsen, I've recently resigned myself to wearing my glasses all the time.

I continue to look longingly at glasses like your new ones, although I still tend to go for the self-effacing look.

I am dying to participating in the village fete, but am still waiting for inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I used to have 20/600 vision, and now I'm at 20/30 (legal to drive where I live) after Lasik surgery. It was worth the minor discomfort and money to never have to wear Coke bottle glasses again. I'm only sorry I waited so long to get it done. Astigmatism (sp?) does not matter; they have to measure how thick your corneas are to determine if there's enough to burn off to correct your lenses before you schedule the procedure. And yes, they do give you drugs, and encourage you to nap a lot in darkened rooms afterwards, while wearing high-tech looking goggles to prevent rubbing your eyes while you sleep. The only bad part was the smell during the procedure--it took almost 60 seconds to do each eye because my Rx was so huge, and the surgeon's assistant said brightly, "Oh, that weird smell, that's just the laser." Yes, indeed, it was the laser--searing my eyeball flesh. But it didn't hurt at all, and you can see an improvement in your vision immediately after they're done. I highly recommend it.

La Belette Rouge said...

Oooh, I love your new glasses. You are just adjusting to your new look on life.I think there is a bit of synchronicity in the timing of the purchase of your new glasses that have sooooo much to say. I wonder if Tony didn't set up an interview for a job as a columnist who writes about curating architecture while wearing Helmut Lang.

But, I am so glasses phobic that I choose mild blindness instead. My glasses seem to live their life in my handbag, scraping up against phone, palm pilot, a dozen lipsticks and mounds of receipts. They are only on my face when night driving is required or when I go to a foreign film.

I say, if you hate the glasses, take the drugs and get the surgery. Or, face facts that your new identity is that of an opinionated, fierce and fashionable alligator and not a mere lizard who is invisible.

Waffle said...

I'll be right back when I regain consciousness after the "searing eyeball flesh" and "burning corneas"..

peevish said...

Dear Jaywalker,

Thank you for directing me back to my profile, so I could notice and then correct a typo (I had spelled Carey with an S. I need remedial typing classes.).

I would believe we are twins, except for the hair issues, as I am quite hairy and you apparently are not. So perhaps we are simply the most kindred of spirits.

peevish said...

P.S. you should totally use the more recent portrait for your profile pic. I love how insectoid it is. Menacing, isn't that the face you want to present to the world?

Ok, maybe that's just me.

Anonymous said...

I finally decided to go the laser surgery route only to be told I was a lousy candidate -- correction was too large, pupils too large, and cornea too thin. But the doctor comforted me by saying that I'd no doubt get cateracts within the next 5 years and they'd fix all my eye problems when they replace my lenses. Gee, thanks.

I have a friend who had her eyes done about 10 years ago and is very very happy with it. After about 5 years she needed to start using reading glasses for menus in dim restaurants, otherwise her vision is still great.

JoeyJoJo said...

Howdy doody Ms Waffle. I have unwittingly created a small vegetable display that I thought you might like for the féte. It's over on my blog but I can email it to you if you need it bigger.

JoeyJoJo said...

Well actually it's here

Nikki said...

I'm for the new glasses... make a statement, sister! I WEAR GLASSES, HEAR ME ROAR!

Nikki said...

Oh, and PS-- thanks for the encouragement at my blog... the 2s are truly terrible at times... must fine new things to smash...

Anonymous said...

First time commenter, found you through Whoopee the other week, now have huge huge blogcrush.

1. The glasses are fabulous
2. The laser surg thing is a doddle. Seriously. It feels like nothing, and you get Valium to handle the psychological OMG factor. And it's MIRACULOUS. Best thing I ever spent idiot sums of elective medical care money on. If you do it, save those frames for in case you get 40something reading glasses because it'd be a shame to waste them; they are fierce, and yes, that is a good thing.

Waffle said...

Hello again people, the smelling salts are working. Brrr.

Justme - your infection sounds horrid. Just horrid. Make someone carry you everywhere

Kelly - go ON. Make a fierce pair of glasses out of, I don't know, melon rind?

Anon - Along with being slightly terrifying, your account is actually v useful and informative, and the thought of lying in a dark room with DRUGS is alone enough to convince me, so thank you.

Belette - Hum. Tony didn't mention those things or I would have bitten his arm off. I am glad you like though! I trust your taste absolutely. I have an email query out for those Loub boots. It's like fantasy window shopping as SO cannot afford them.

Peevish - menacing and insectoid is indeed exactly the look I go for. We are kindred spirits indeed.

Anon - what kind of bastard doctor gives you a complex about the size of your PUPILS? Is nothing sacred?

Hello JoeyJoJo! your gourds at watering hole typey thing is most impressive. I will post them tomorrow. Did you do their eyes yourself? Or are they naturally occurring? What are they drinking?

Niki - hear me whine might be more appropriate sadly, but hopefully the mean glasses will change all that. Yeah! I am awed by your toddler wrangling. Big respect.

Waffle said...

Kitten Kaboodle - You have the best name ever btw - thank you so so much for this (and also for saying such lovely things). You get valium? It works? Oh my god I should have done this years ago! Mean glasses can always stick around to scare small children adn animals can't they. Thank you thank you thank you.

Waffle said...

Could you email me the parrot gourds? I can't get them to work.
thank you!

Z said...

A friend had successful laser treatment on one eye, so that she sees short distance with one and long distance with the other. Emboldened by this, I started to wear just one contact lens. If I need further assistance, I shall wear a monocle, but I'll choose surgery over wearing glasses.

I like your new glasses, although I agree that having to wear them at all is a bit crap. I see much better with contact(s) than with glasses because it feels more natural.

Mr Farty said...

Your first portrait? Totally Fungus the Bogeyman.

The second one is well trendy. As I believe they say in trendy places.

Those thicker frames are all the rage. My new glasses have thin frames. Does that make me a trend-setter or set in my ways?

I still have precisely nada prepared for the fête.

Oh. IVYNIP. Your word verification has given me an idea. Thank you, WV!

#Debi said...

Hi, Jaywalker. Came over from Mr. Farty's to see what all the fuss was about. :)

I made the same glasses switch as you, except my old ones may have been slightly more self-effacing, as they were beige. The new ones are black on the outside, and ZEBRA-STRIPE on the inside. A small price to pay for a mid-life crisis, since insurance paid most of it...

As for the eye surgery, everyone I know that's had laser loves it, except for one friend who expected it to be a miracle cure for all time and didn't realise she would still need reading glasses at 40. However, if anyone ever suggests RK surgery to you, DO.NOT.GET. (That's where they make radial cuts to flatten the cornea and can have horrible side effects that I hesitate to even mention. Of course, they may not even DO this surgery anymore--it was big 10 years ago when I worked for an optician...)

Kim Velk said...

I have those glasses, sort of. Mine are D&G from Costco two years ago. Mine are crooked now because I fall asleep in them all the time and my fat head has warped them. WHusband is forever straightening them and giving me pitying, maddening looks. On top of needing glasses, I am half deaf, as you may have read if you looked REALLY hard at my blog. I sound a mess, don't I? But, notwithstanding the enormous inconvenience that glasses are, I will _never_ allow anyone ever to cut my eyeballs with a laser. There aren't enough drugs. Didn't anyone see, or at least hear about, _Le Chien Andalou_? Also, I find it handy to be able to remove my glasses during the Itchy & Scratchy sequences of the Simpsons and for assorted other difficult or objectionable sights. I can also plug my good ear and, thus, retreat into my own sensory deprivation chamber. Brilliant pictures, by the way. A final note - my Dad was chatting up Linus Pauling once upon a time and Linus Pauling told my Dad that glasses were a sign of intelligence - like, statistically. (My dad reached into his pocket and put his on, of course). I have to say that your blog is the best thing I have found since dual control headphones. Cheers.

Mom/Mum said...

I vote for your new glasses. They are just like mine. Are they mine in fact? Cos the small peaople in my life ran off with mine this morning and I haven't seen them since. Hence am sitting here typing in old lop-sided glasses that only have one arm after one of my small people threw his shoe at me.
At planning on the laser thing whilst am Stateside maninly cos it's sooo much cheaper over here than at home in England. Buuut, am being big chicken about it so far. Like potty mummy i have friends here who loved the life-changing laser, just not the smell of the burning eye flesh! I'll take a peg for my snozzle when i go!

Tinkle said...

Must see on your actual face. Amphibians almost always look poorly in glasses.

Waffle said...

Z - that is an extremely eccentric thing to do. I like your friend a great deal. I want a picture of your eye with a monocle now too.

Mr F - You are right, I do look just like Fungus the Bogeyman. The resemblance is uncanny - the glasses are clearly the least of my worries. Looking forward to your Ivy based fete entry.. [chivvy chivvy nag nag]

Debi - Ok, I need another lie down at the thought of cornea flattening side effects BUT thank you for the warning. Do the zebra stripes affect your behaviour? I am overwhelmed with a desire to kick things today. It's the glasses.

KSV - right I just looked at a picture of eyeball slicing surrealist high jinks and vomited in my handbag. And it is ALL YOUR FAULT. However you are forgiven on account of saying lovely things and photgraphing an orange salamander.

Mom/Mum - oh dear I expect to see your spectacles turning up in some unfortunate piece of small child craft. Get your shouty voice ready.

Tinkle - you are not wrong. That alligator is totally emasculated by my glasses isn't he?

#Debi said...

The zebra stripes do not affect my behavior. The behavior was there first, and the glasses chosen to match... :)

Rosie Redfield said...

Slate (or maybe Salon?) just posted an article about buying glasses online VERY CHEAP! So cheap you can afford lots of pairs.

Fat Controller said...

JustMe hit the nail on the head when she said she didn't know any ophthalmic surgeons who would have the operation. I would go one step further and say that I know of one leading authority on laser surgery at Moorfields Eye Hospital who said very forcefully that he wouldn't have it done on himself or any members of his family.

The new specs definitely look better than the old, but to make a final judgement we'd have to see them on you!

Kate said...

Jaywalker, I totally want to be in the fete. I bake bread. Can I do that? What section does that fall under? My current job is draining me of all creative impulses. I'm trying to think of something fun to make bread into. All I come up with is vulgar or boring... I knitted a diaper... hmmmm. I want to enter something worthy of your celebration.

Waffle said...

You really must participate. Did you really knit a diaper? I am rather awed.
Bread is a good medium. I think I would put it in the cake category and thus entitle it to be judged by JEN FROM CAKEWRECKS. Anything you can come up with will be magnificent. We aren't judgmental. Rude is fine too.

Sinda said...

Hi - I am the aforementioned best friend / office worker referenced by Peevish back in Ausgust. I followed the link in today's post because I did, in fact, purchase glasses years ago, which the opto guy said made me look mean. To be fair, I purchased two pairs, one non-mean and one mean.

These days, I only ever buy one pair at a time, and they are always MEAN.

Waffle said...

Sinda - I have totally come round to the mean glasses. Mean is a compliment, I think. Now I want to see your mean glasses!

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