I Suck at Seeing: Or, How I Got (and Actually Wore) New Glasses

Alas, at the ripe old age of 23, I found myself squinting at computer screens, getting massive headaches at my day job, and unable to read things like the price of cheese on those little yellow tags at Jewel Osco without putting my face practically on them.

“But I don’t WANT to wear my glasses,” I whined to no one in particular, meaning no one would be able to tell me I had to.

The thing is, I already had glasses. I got awful nineties frames with the square tops and round bottoms as a third grader, and I was mortified. We have already discussed how very not cute I was as a child, and how very small and attitudinal I was. So putting specs on me, when I already had buck teeth and a terrible case of Early Onset Acne (which had nothing to do with early puberty, as I was something of a late bloomer, which I guess now I’ll have to discuss later…) only made tiny little not-cute Me feel very bad. So I refused to wear them.

I do not recall being especially vain at that age, but I do think the sheer size of those weird reddish-tortoiseshell frames overwhelmed me, and having to push them back up my nose all the time interfered with my fun activities, like climbing trees by myself or reading All the Books All the Time–although now I could see them a little easier. I was only mildly nearsighted, so I was quite functional without them, and I soon ditched the glasses altogether.

When I was 20 I started having trouble with road signs, and as an already abysmal driver who wanted to remain alive, I trudged to the nearest vision center and got two new pairs (the beauty of parental insurance! Le sigh). I hated them. Then I went off to my summer camp job and I remember, bespectacled, looking up at the night sky: I saw stars as sharp and definite things rather than little dotty lights in the inky blackness. The night sky had color! Texture! My mind was blown.

This revelation was short-lived, however, so I soon stopped wearing those glasses except to read. Fast forward to 2012, two weeks ago in fact. My day job requires me to gaze fixedly at a computer for long periods of time and does not allow me to put my face close to the monitor. I started wearing my old glasses. I still had to squint. Sigh. So I gave into the sensible part of myself and scheduled a Lenscrafters appointment. After all, I don’t live in Wicker Park or Bucktown, no one is going to think I am an insufferable hipster, right? Right?

By 23 I had definitely become vain. Hey, I’m an actor! So I googled “actors in glasses” hoping to make myself feel better. I discovered that the internet exclusively uses “actor” to mean “man who is in movies” rather than my unisex definition. I also found a lot of weird glasses fetish blogs made by women who love bespectacled dudes. So I adjusted to “actresses in glasses” and found:

My spirit animal Cate Blanchett looking amazing, because DUH, she is Cate Blanchett


my “Gives-Me-Butterflies-Always” crushes Liv Tyler
& Keira Knightley. Especially Keira.

Then, after all that, I thought, Who gives a fuck? (I’m only swearing because that is literally what I thought.) Glasses are not a big deal. They won’t make me less pretty–or more pretty, or look older, which I also feared. They may fall down my nose. But I will be able to see, and work and read without being uncomfortable, which HELLO IS KIND OF IMPORTANT. Plus my boyfriend loves them, even though he is nice and would love me in basically anything; it’s still nice to have that reassurance.

After all that, here I am! I’m a chick with glasses!

Boom! I guess.

And nothing really has changed except now I can see things all the time, because I am an adult who is responsible enough to actually wear my glasses. Milestones! I WILL report that patrons at work seem to take me more seriously, but I could be projecting.

It’s weird how something so trivial that so many people do could have me hung up for so long, but I’m happy to have embraced it! Have any of you made similar molehills into mountains?