Except then I started noticing it wasn’t quite so perfect anymore. My boyfriend (who also wears glasses) and mother would be able to read signs of in the distance faster than I could. Mom had never been able to do that when I was a kid! And when I saw Juno last year, that note that Jennifer Garner has framed on her wall at the end, I had to seriously squint to read that on the big screen.
Okay, I rationalized, so maybe my perfect vision isn’t perfect anymore, but I'm sure it's still good enough. My mom was not so sure. “I’m sorry, but you just have really bad genes when it comes to vision.” (And acne, thanks Dad, and annoyingly wavy hair, thanks Mom.) Since I’m quitting my full-time job with the swanky state benefits including free vision insurance (my last day is tomorrow! You can read about all my angsty decision-making process on my blog here), she convinced me to go to the eye doctor while I could still do it for a mere 10 bucks. So last Saturday I went to my local Pearle Vision.
They sent me in with this doctor who, before he did anything, asked me if my last name was German and what it meant. I didn’t know what it meant, so he proceeded to get a German dictionary and look it up. No surprise, it wasn't in there. I mean is Smith in the English dictionary? It doesn’t mean anything, why would Kuehnert? As my mom would say he was a bit of a kook.
So he flashed lights in my eyes and everything was great except when I got to the very last line of the eye chart. Do it without squinting? Umm, no I can’t do that. Suddenly a thing is down in front of my face and he’s flipping little glasses lenses around. “Can you see better now? How about now? Say one or two.” With each “one” or “two,” my voice got a little bit more high-pitched. This guy was going to try to say I needed glasses just ‘cause I couldn’t read that freakin’ last line without, wasn’t he? I’ve never seen letters so small out in the real world. I shouldn’t need glasses just for that! But I had a horrible sick feeling that much like I’d been forced to learn useless forms of math that would never help me do real world things like taxes, I’d be forced into glasses.
Sure enough at the end, Dr. German Obsession declared that I was slightly near-sighted, but with no other problems, so I should go pick out some glasses.
“Uh, but I have no problem seeing things up close so I only need them when I’m driving or at the movies or something, right?”
He sighed with irritation, “Why does everyone always ask me that? These will only effect your vision when you’re viewing things a few meters away. I don’t know if that answers your question, but it’s technically correct.”
I want to scream at him, “No it doesn’t answer my goddamn question. I'm 29 years old, I've never had glasses and never wanted them. This is a dramatic change for me and I want to cry.” Instead I just eeked out, “What?”
He proceeded to define “technically correct,” but I cut him off and repeated my question. “Do I have to wear them all the time or only when I’m driving.”
“You should wear them when you’re driving, but of course I’d like it if you wore them all the time. I don't know why nobody ever wants to wear them.” he said with irritation.
I wandered out of his office in a daze and immediately the salesgirls descended. “Do you need frames?”
“I guess.” I explained the situation to her and said, “So I only need them for driving right?”
“Sure,” she agreed and then herded me over to the frame selection. I’m hardly able to focus on them, I’m trying so hard not to cry. I know it sounds silly. I know they say “Smart girls wear glasses,” and I know many smart girls who do and I kept trying to focus on that, but I'd finally become mostly comfortable with the way I looked and I didn't want to adjust to this. I didn't want people to notice my glasses, I want people to notice my eyes and my makeup and my hair and my smile . Basically I felt the way I assume most kids do when they are told they need glasses.
The salesgirl worked really hard to try to encourage me. "What sorts of styles do you like?"
"I don't know. I never considered this." I looked helplessly at the glasses. None of them were fun big sunglasses, those are the only glasses I like. If I wear glasses all the time, I can't wear them. It's only for driving and things at a distance, I reminded myself, but still I was basically sucking back tears the entire time. Even after the salesgirl told me I reminded her of her sister's roller derby girl friends (I wish I was roller derby girl cool!). She helped me narrow it down to two pairs that she felt suited my personality. A pair of Candies' cat eye glasses and a pair of Lulu Guinness glasses that looked like sparkly fishnets along the sides. I leaned toward the cat-eye because that is a sunglass style I like, but I was unsure. The salesgirl got a colleague. They both thought I should go with the Lulu Guinness because there was less unnecessary frame hiding my face. They also said they were envious of me being able to pull off black frames. I didn't think I could pull them off or any other glasses for that matter, but I handed over my credit card (my stupid state insurance didn't cover that much so I still paid 250$ and that's why I didn't get a contacts exam because it didn't cover that at all). These are the glasses, but in black.
When I went outside I called my mom and cried. Yeah, I know pathetic, but there it is. Mom reassured me that I really do only have to wear them when driving, it won't hurt my eyes or anything (and she's a nurse so I trust her). The next day my co-worker Kathy was actually excited for me. She said, "I love getting glasses! It's a new accessory!" She also reassured me that she had the exact same condition as me only used them for driving, when she even remembered to do that.
I'm still up and down about it. But here I am in my new frames, expressing my initial feelings with a pout:
My boyfriend says I'm cuter when I'm not pouting though, so here I am not pouting, but I gotta say I don't feel like I look like myself in this pic at all:
I'm sure I'll get used to it and come to think of it how Kathy does. What about you guys, do you wear glasses or contacts? And did you react like I did when I first got them? (though probably most of you were kids, so the childishness was more acceptable. My poor boyfriend probably wanted to strangle me for whining so much the first couple days) If you don't have glasses, did you ever have to go back to school sporting a new look you weren't so sure about?