Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.
In fifth grade I thought glasses were cool.
I told my mom I was having trouble reading the green and white exit signs on I-95 as we drove each day to Bangor for school. I may or may not have been exaggerating, but when she took me to the eye doctor, I did, indeed need corrective lenses for my near-sightedness. I loved my glasses.
For about a day and a half.
This was the eighties. My glasses had over-sized, pinkish-brown rims. They would quickly become smeared with fingerprints as I couldn’t stop touching them, pushing them up the bridge of my nose, just making sure they were still there. I don’t remember testing my newly clear vision on the exit signs. My glasses became a part of me, another thing to keep track of along with my school books, homework papers, and various Bonney Bell Lipsmackers.
By the time I entered seventh-grade, I hated the way I looked. Skinny, no curves. Crooked teeth, no braces. I’d had my long, dark hair chopped off for some reason, and the cowlick which had stopped sticking up when I grew my hair long and heavy now created a natural part which left a big, open expanse of oily, pimply adolescent forehead shining beneath a boyish cap of feathered, eighties hair. Pretty picture, huh?
Junior high was an awkward and ugly time for me. As Dorothy Parker wrote, girls with glasses don’t get much male attention. So I stared at boys across the classroom, daydreamed while gazing out the window of the car on our daily commute to town, and began to keep a journal, write stories, and wait for the day when I’d grow out of my awkward stage. It took a long time. Years, really, but I learned to make the best of things and kept on writing in those journals and writing those stories and daydreaming. My skin cleared up a bit. I got some curves. A boyfriend, even. I took my glasses off for pictures and for playing sports (looking back, I wonder if I might not have made a few more baskets if I’d worn those specs. Sorry, Coach Frost!)
By the time my senior year in high school rolled around, I acquired contact lenses, soft ones that were supposed to work for a week without cleaning. Soon my eyes were gunky, runny, sore, and red. I was allergic to my own eye secretions. Lovely, right? So began a span of years when part of my daily routine included putting in my contacts in the morning and taking them out for a good cleaning with Bausch & Lomb solution every night. I grew my hair out. My braces came off. I gained confidence, and a little bit of style. Off to college I went, hiding my “girl with glasses” persona.
Well, sorta. By then, I knew something about myself. I knew I liked to read, to write, to learn. I knew I didn’t want to be much of a party girl. I made friends with people who were interested in theater and writing and education and movies (and watching reruns of MACGYVER whenever possible). I wanted to find true love, and I did. I gave up sports and embraced poetry and prose. I traveled. I ate an incredible number of times at the Farmington Diner, usually accompanied by my future Hubby. Glasses made appearances. They never held me back.
When I sat down for my yearbook photo my senior year of college, you know what I did? I ditched the contacts and wore my glasses . . . really over-sized, dark-rimmed glasses.
I continued to put up with contacts for years, spending a fortune on yearly exams, prescriptions, gallons of saline solution, and tiny, over-priced bottles of lubricating drops. One year quite a long while ago, I decided I’d had enough. I would go back to glasses full-time.
And I’ve never looked back.
Do I like the way I look in my specs? Not really. I keep hoping one day I’ll find the perfect pair that makes me look like a sexy librarian. I’m also having trouble seeing up close with my glasses on, so they spend a fair amount of time perched on top of my head. Soon, I suppose, I’ll succumb to bi-focals, and won’t that be a trip?
And what of that Dorothy Parker line about men seldom making passes? Doesn’t bother me in the least. Hubby seems to like me just the way I am, bespectacled and all. Plus, this year he acquired his own pair of reading glasses. We match. He still makes passes now and again. Take that, Dorothy Parker!