Choosing four eyes over two

From Marissa Walsh’s, "Girl with Glasses: My Optic History"

As a teenage, I didn’t have Tina Fey, Lisa Loeb, and Janeane Garofalo to emulate.  No Frances McDormand wearing glasses to the oscars.  No Lane on Gilmore Girls playing drums in her band.  When I first started wearing glasses, there weren’t exactly options.  You had bad eyes, you wore glasses.  There was no LASIK surgery.  There were no soft contacts.  Disposables? Colored? Please. The only option was hard contacts.  With an emphasis on "hard."  Now being bespeckled is a conscious decision, because everyone knows you don’t have to wear them. It’s a choice.  A choice about how you want to view the world and, more important, how you want the world to view you.

While I can tell the author has some years on me (I tried soft contacts in high school), the theme rings true.  I began wearing bifocals at five.  Choice meant gold or silver, large or medium-large.  My parents let me get new frames every two years because of insurance.  If I spent the last two years regretting my color choice, it was easy enough to choose the other color.  Ultimately,  glasses were merely a utility.   Fashionable?  Uh, no.

To some degree, this glasses purgatory of the 70s and 80s seems odd.  One only needs to look to high school yearbooks of the 50s and early 60s to see that glasses were, in times past, unquestionably cool.  Again today, glasses have a respectable place in culture and style (look no further than last night’s Oscar’s).  And most importantly, those of us who where glasses do so – as Ms. Walsh points out – by choice.

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