I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, but on a day where short-sightedness seems top of the agenda thanks to a disallowed goal (thank you, Mr. Ref-man, you helped me make a funny), I thought it was particularly appropriate.
A lot of you won’t know this, but I’m incredibly short-sighted. You won’t know this because you never see me wear glasses in photos. The truth is: I’m ashamed of the fact I need glasses. Now, I know that everyone that wears glasses and is reading this blog will currently be swearing at the screen and mentally crossing me off of their Christmas Card List, but let me explain.
When I was ten, my Mama took me to the optician because I complained I couldn’t see the whiteboard at school. The optician was genuinely shocked: during the eye-test, when he asked me to say what letters I could see on the board, all I could read was the great big shiny ‘A’ at the top. I needed glasses straight away, and quite strong ones too.
This was 1998, and in those days glasses were not fashionable: the ones we chose for me were big, round, gold-rimmed, and spelt the end of my self-confidence at school. At that age, glasses = swat. Glasses = geek. Glasses = four-eyes. In the kids’ defence, the glasses I wore were fucking hideous. At any rate, I’m not telling you this to elicit an ‘Awwww…’ (I was probably an annoying little shit as well), I am telling you to try and explain why I am writing this. And it’s not like I didn’t have friends, I just hated wearing glasses.
Obviously, at the time, I was too young to think ‘Hang on a minute, needing glasses is just a health issue, a physical defect – I didn’t choose to have bad eyes, so why should I be ashamed?’ (how could someone have such coherency of thought when they spent so much time thinking S Club 7 were ‘cool’?! Oh dear, 11-year old me. Oh dear.) No, I was just thinking: ‘GREAT! I’m going to secondary school next year, where people won’t have known me before I had glasses, so my self-image will just get worse.’ And it did.
I spent the majority of my secondary school years being ‘the geek’, ‘the ugly one’ – and that’s not necessarily what other kids thought, but it’s the image I brought on myself because of the insecurities wearing glasses brought. I thought it was how I was perceived, therefore I acted like it, therefore it was how I became perceived.
Around the time I went into sixth form, glasses suddenly became fashionable. Everyone started wearing funky, sharp-edged, black-rimmed numbers, and BOOM – we all looked like sexy secretaries. We all became geek chic. I even got some funky zebra-style ones, and everyone loved them (even me, clearly):
(Sorry, this is one of the few photos of me with these glasses on that I can find from my sixth form days. Isn’t it ridiculous? Frankly, this was one of the least posey ones. Shocking.)
So… I ‘blossomed’: I felt popular, I did musical theatre, I got lead parts and sang solos and was voted second or third in the ‘most likely to be famous’ poll in my year or some other utter nonsense. But I did all of these things not because suddenly the ugly duckling had some funky specs – I actually did them because I’d been allowed to buy contact lenses and had learned to use eyeliner, so I rarely wore my glasses any more.
For me, success became synonymous with contact lenses. My first boyfriend was even an optician (I KID YOU NOT. You literally could not make this stuff up) and very kindly helped me find contact lenses that I could wear for longer hours, and got me a nice discount too. I was still stuck in the mindset that glasses held me back, stopped me being attractive and stopped me being confident.
I’m afraid there’s no “But THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED!!!” moment coming up. The feeling has persisted to this day. I still wear contact lenses whenever I want to look ‘good’. I still won’t have my picture taken with glasses on. And I still don’t understand why I can’t dislocate this bizarre, overblown connotation that has developed in my mind – but I fear that is because I am not exactly alone in the ‘Glasses = geeks’ association.
So what can be done? I just bought two new pairs of specs (thank you, ‘Buy One Get One Free’ at Specsavers), and I chose different styles in a slightly pathetic attempt to convince myself I can match them with various outfits. (Yes, that might sound shallow, but do keep up, dear: this is a blog about how I look.). I even took a photo of myself in each pair, and I am going to post them below in a somewhat therapeutic attempt to convince myself I can be sort of at least passable-looking when wearing glasses. Let’s face it, if I don’t start changing how I view glasses, then they will be a waste of money because I will never wear them in public.
So, maybe this will kick-start a change in my perception of wearing glasses. Yeah… but maybe it won’t. Don’t worry, I am not going to do a cheesy perception/glasses pun OH DAMNIT I CAN’T RESIST HERE GOES – “Maybe it will help me see things a little clearer“. Fuck, I should be ashamed of myself. Oh well, at least I didn’t say something about making a spectacle of myself. God. Ahem. Aaaaanyway:
1. Tommy Hilfiger, £125 (Specsavers) – chosen because they sort of blend in with my face supposedly, so are more subtle.
2. Red or Dead, £99 (Specsavers – you know this, I have no idea why I’m typing it) – chosen because everyone that has seen them so far has gone “Ohmygod, they are just YOU.” I just thought they were pretty – the pattern is a mixture of tattoo-style love hearts.
Feel free to yell at me/convince me/ post photographic evidence of hot bespectacled men to disprove everything I’ve just said. I would genuinely like that a lot. Especially the bit about hot bespectacled men.
All photos are mine. Unfortunately. Still, you can’t have them, so naff off.