Janet (j4) wrote,
Janet
j4

Specs offender

I've broken the arm of my glasses. Again.

Okay, the last time I did this, I was 17, and was making a point about how rubbish Superman's disguise was, consisting as it did of just taking his glasses off. If only taking my glasses off could effect an instant transformation from smart geeky webmaster to dishy superhero(ine), rather than effecting a slower and less impressive translation from plain, bespectacled girl into plain, squinty girl who walks into doors slightly more frequently. As it is, the absolute best I can hope for is a gawky attempt at getting the lipstick-librarian effect, the taking-glasses-off-and-letting-hair-down moment, the why-Miss-McKnight-you're-beautiful. You be Bogart and I'll be Bacall. Or we could swap, if you prefer; I'm easy.

At seventeen, I had glasses the size of saucers, nearly-circular with dark frames, which were the closest I could get to "indie glasses" given that my parents vetoed Morrissey-style NHS glasses, Loz-from-Kingmaker-style octagonal glasses didn't seem to exist, and when I asked the optician if I could have a monocle he just laughed at me. In photos I can see that the big round glasses made my face look (more) bookish and (even more) chubby, but I don't remember ever feeling bad about them; maybe I figured the raging acne would distract people's attention from even such a spec-tacular fashion mistake. The next two pairs of glasses were variations on a theme; still round and oversized but with different colour frames.

After that I went through a fairly long period where my eyesight didn't seem to deteriorate much, and there was no way I could afford to have new frames just for fun. When my prescription was next updated and I got to choose my frames, I instinctively went to look for another pair of big round glasses. But fashion hadn't stood still for want of being watched: round glasses were over, and the new style was rectangular or oval, half-framed, slim glasses. Grown-up glasses. Sexy glasses. I was not only older but leaner and meaner, and it was time my glasses got with the program.

The first pair of frameless glasses had me squinting out of the corner of my eye for weeks, confused by the fact that I could see the edge of the framelessness in my peripheral vision. (In retrospect this probably ruined the "sexy" look, making me more louche than lush.) Two pairs later I've more or less got used to it; my glasses have even less metal surrounding the lenses, and the frames are thinner, more flexible and hence more robust. These days, on the whole, they'll bend rather than break -- a good stage to have got to, I feel.

So I was trying to twist them back into alignment like the optician had done only two or three weeks ago. (Whether due to a defect in the specs or a misalignment of my face, my glasses slowly warp to one side, sitting ever more crookedly on my face; I wouldn't normally care too much, but when I can see the top of the frames lurching drunkenly across my face as if trying to ski down my eyebrows, something is wrong.) I've done it before and it's worked as a temporary fix, but I must have twisted too far this time; the delicate hinge burst apart, beyond all hope of soldering, leaving me scrabbling about to catch the glasses, the arm, and several microscopically tiny fragments of metal, including a ball-bearing about the size of an 18-point full stop.

Now, I have a love-hate relationship with my glasses. I love being able to look up from my book looking coyly over the top of my specs; I hate having to squint over the tops of them into the rain when cycling in the standard-issue Cambridge drizzle. I like the way they define my face; I could live without the way they define my ears. I could also live without the permanent greasy patch on my nose where the nose-holding nubbins (recently fixed, as observant readers will recall) sit, but I like being able to push my glasses higher up my nose decisively, or thoughtfully, or abstractedly. Sometimes I even do this when I'm not wearing them, and the finger which is pushing the non-existent glasses has one of those I-thought-there-was-one-more-step moments, like stepping off a moving walkway. Whether I'm in a love-them or hate-them mood, though, these days I really can't live without them. I can read close-up without optical assistance, but if I'm sitting on the sofa, even the chunkiest Ceefax text is an illegible blur; and even if I was happy to hold my books two inches from my face, I couldn't drive with the road-signs similarly close. (The alternatives are a non-starter; to afford laser surgery I'd have to sell my internal organs on eBay, and as for contact lenses... Shudder. Let's just say we've tried that, me and my eyes, and we're not trying it again any time soon, thank you.)

So currently I have a choice between nerd chic, with surgical tape appropriately but ineffectually trying to bind the arm to the body, or wearing an old pair -- which means an older prescription (sufficiently different that I feel like I'm straining more to read things that I think I should be able to read) and slightly less flattering frames. I suspect the losing battle with sticky-tape will decide that one for me. Then there's the secondary choice between waiting weeks for them to fix this pair (only to have the other side break a few months later, no doubt, like with shoelaces) or getting new frames altogether (which will still take weeks, and will be more expensive in the short term, but would probably be a longer-term fix).

It's okay, there's no point to all this, really, apart from a bit of whinging and a bit of inconsequential rambling. I'll probably see what options the optician offers, and see how healthy my bank-balance is looking, and then get the new frames anyway. It's like new shoes -- for a couple of days you feel taller and sexier and better until you get used to the higher heels or the shiny patent leather or the chunky platforms or the colour. It's a drug, but a fairly harmless one. And, of course, I could stop any time I wanted. Yes.

But anway, if you see me squinting at you over the next few weeks, now you'll know why. It's nothing personal. It's just my glasses, and they're mostly armless.
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