Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Men Don't Make Passes...

The unforgettable Ms. Parker 

I hated Dorothy Parker from a young age. Long before I learned about the Algonquin Round Table or who she was, I knew she wrote, "Men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses". I was ten and had just gotten my first nasty pair.

Glasses should not have come as a surprise. My mother told me childhood friends called her "Four Eyes". My older sister's eyes were so bad she was put in "Sight Saving" class in elementary school. By fifth grade, although I had memorized the school nurse's eye chart (F E L O P Z D was the tough line), it became apparent to all that glasses were my destiny.

Few photos exist of me in glasses. I always took them off for the camera. As a teenager I never wore them on dates (except when the lights went down at the movies). I begged for a pair of prescription sunglasses and wore them way past sundown. Yet I was always afraid to wear contact lenses. My Aunt Sally had tried unsuccessfully for years. Plus the thought of putting something in your eye...! By the time I got up the courage it was 1982, soft lenses had been perfected, and I was lucky enough to have a really patient nurse-practitioner for a teacher.

Flash forward thirty years. I have not been able to wear contacts for almost six months due to a lingering eye infection. I fear I'm known at the Lovely Boutique where I work as "the lady with the short red hair and glasses". My nice earrings are getting dusty in the jewelry box as I now only see fit to wear little studs. I have bought six pairs of eyeglasses since October (including the all-important prescription sunglasses). Instead of being grateful I can SEE, I am grumbling and ashamed of myself at the same time.

What is there about glasses— my glasses at least— that so irritates me? My husband looks way better in glasses than without. He morphs from Michael Caine to John Lennon to Cool Italian Art Director with his choice of eyewear. There are many women I know who look great in glasses, and some I couldn't tell you if they wear them or not. I've even gotten many compliments on my wardrobe of frames. I probably can see better with glasses as well— none of this one-eye-for-near-one-eye-for-far stuff. And if I want to thread a needle, I just take them off instead of squinting. Glasses hide my non-existent eyebrows and my tres-existent bags. Am I being all too human in wanting what I can't have? Persistent or stubborn in the goal to get back into contacts?

I do have another eye doctor appointment next week.

Dorothy, glasses would have hidden your bags...


  1. i have worn glasses off and on since i was 2 years old. and while flesh colored glasses supposedly " didn't show" when i was a kid--big round glasses in my late sixties hide a constellation of problems. when you decide to go back to contacts, michelle, you may miss the detail of glasses on your face---and think of what you save on makeup wearing glasses!!!

  2. JarmilaPolte@google.comApril 25, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Suddenly, one morning after I turned forty something, I needed those longer arms that are required to read menus, newspaper, labels in supermarkets.... As someone who had better than perfect vision all her life (Yes, I can see that street sign half a mile away, and it says...) I was astonished to be limited. There are two sides to the eye glass story: The one about someone who sleeps with her eyeglasses on the nightstand all her life, and the one who all of a sudden has to keep looking for her misplaced eyeglasses so that she can read the small print on whatever she picks up.... Probably this comes under the category of the "White Girl Whine..." but discussions are comforting.
    And, Michelle, a woman who thinks that her husband resembles Michael Cain, John Lennon and an Italian Art Director--well, he is a very lucky man to have you .... btw, did you read my message on your FB page? (Look at the top under "Messages" )

  3. Did you try testing different designs and brands for getting your eyeglasses? I guess your "destined" eyeglasses has yet to appear in front of you, huh? Anyways, how did your appointment go?