I wear glasses and have done for the last ten years because without them, I’m blind as a bat. I’m short sighted and have an astigmatism in both eyes, which basically means that without corrective lenses, everything looks like a multicoloured blur of bluriness. I am quite fond of my glasses, however wearing them does come with its own set of stupid questions, bizarre assumptions and terrible frustrations.
Often I’ll get told that I look weird and completely different without my glasses. I understand the former because when you’re used to something and it changes, it can be a bit of a shock. But the latter baffles me. I’m not like Superman, where I take my glasses off and instantly become unrecognisable (and that never made sense to me anyway). I still look like me, and yet I’ve had experiences where the reaction to me removing my glasses is so extreme that I have to check and make sure I haven’t turned into a blue eyed redhead with a beard.
And then there is that ridiculous notion that glasses have magical properties. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been asked if wearing glasses makes me smarter. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t automatically gain 100 IQ points every time I put my glasses on. If that was the case, I’m certain everyone would – or should – be wearing glasses. Alas, my intelligence and my eyesight are not directly linked. I’ve met people who wear glasses for no reason other than to appear intelligent, though it seems rather redundant when you consider that the illusion is often shattered the minute they open their mouths.
Far from making me a billion times more intelligent, my glasses do only one thing for me, and that is allow me to actually see the things I’m tripping over or walking in to.
Unfortunately, unlike me and everyone else who wears glasses to prevent the perpetual squint that comes from not wearing them, a lot of people think glasses are some kind of fashion accessory. Like that strange fad from a few years ago where everyone wanted a tiny dog in a diamante studded handbag, suddenly I see glasses everywhere. I wear glasses for real and I’m a bona fide geek – with both the bad eyesight and intelligence to back it up – so the whole Fake Geek Revolution is a pet peeve of mine.
It basically comes down to people pretending to be something they’re not. That would be like me putting on a football jersey and pretending I dig football. It’s a pointless exercise. Girls are the worst offenders, sporting plastic frames without lenses because they think it makes them more attractive. Wearing glasses does not a geek make. And for the record, it doesn’t make you attractive. It makes you an idiot.
As with most everything, there is a fetish for Girls With Glasses. Once upon a time (you know, back in the 90’s) a popular misconception was that if you wore glasses,you were a nerd, whether you fit the description or not. And wearing glasses made you the victim of ridicule, not the object of desire. I was a nerdy kid in high school and I can guarantee you, I was the secret fantasy of absolutely no one. But then something happened and I went from being a dorky, uncool nerd to being a ‘sexy librarian’. I’ve never even worked in a library! Now, you can’t blame a person for what turns them on but the glasses fetish is pretty exclusive. Whenever you hear someone say “girls with glasses are hot!” they’re not just talking about any bespectacled female. They’re usually referring to a girl who wears glasses (real or fake) who also happens to have cleavage on show, a short skirt and a sultry expression. And girls buy into it, putting on glasses in the hopes of attracting attention. (see above paragraph). Yet another case of glasses being an accessory, though in this case something of a sexual one.
Of course, then there is the other end of the spectrum. I’ve been told that my glasses don’t suit me, that I look better without them and often get asked why I don’t ‘just get contacts’. My glasses are like a part of my face, so it’s like being told that my nose doesn’t suit me and that I should get a new one. Personally I don’t really care what other people think but that being said, I won’t deny that my glasses are inconvenient at times. I can’t wear sunglasses, kissing someone can result in face prints on my lenses and they are constantly in need of cleaning. Plus, when I wake up in the morning, I sometimes forget where I put my glasses the night before. I need to find them so I can see but I can’t see to find them. It’s a vicious cycle. And then there are the countless times I’ve had people waving their hands an inch from my face and demanding to know if I can see how many fingers they’re holding up. My response to that it’s usually flip them the bird and repeat the question back to them.
The truth is, my glasses are not a fashion accessory or a way to become smarter. They are not a disguise or a sexy costume and they have no magical powers. They’re just bits of plastic and prescription that make my world clearer. I wear them to correct my poor vision, nothing more. That’s what they’re made for, you see.