Thursday, September 4, 2008

Eyes only

I finally picked out a new pair of glasses the other day. I doubt you realize what a BFD that is. I hate picking out frames as much as I hate buying pants. I am not good at it and I should never ever be allowed to do it without assistance. But as Lovely Daughter is across the country and unavailable for consult, I had to tough it out alone.

I've worn glasses for over 40 years. My lenses got pretty thick pretty quickly -- a good way to be popular in school, no? And you know what? High-index plastics aside, lenses generally do not get thinner as you get older. The lenses I have now would probably be great for setting ants ablaze on the sidewalk if I ever felt the need. If my lenses were made of glass, they could probably function as shot glasses. (Ha! Shot Glasses -- get it?)

In real life, this means without my glasses, I can barely see to shave my own armpits let alone see myself in the mirror when trying on frames. Compound that with my complete lack of fashion sense and it's pretty clear I am a disaster waiting to happen. The only thing that saves me is that I know it. And I'm OK with that.

I've had to slide my current glasses further and further down my nose to the point where a good breeze will send them flying. I'd been carrying around my new prescription for 6 weeks. I'd already been told I couldn't re-use my current frames a third time or they'd turn to dust. It was time. I was going to have to face The Wall of Frames.

Did you know that 90% of the frames out there look exactly the same? Dark, small, and fairly rectangular. And even though that's what I wanted, there were so many minute variations that I went into total analysis paralysis. I stood there for what seemed like hours, hands flapping uselessly at my sides, making little whimpering noises deep in my throat until the cute little girl optician's assistant came over and asked if I needed help. I almost wept with gratitude.

I told her my sad tale. She nodded knowingly and after a few questions about what I was looking for (uh... small, dark, rectangular?) she walked briskly around the room and had probably 30 pairs of frames in hand in less than a minute.

She pointed at the chair. "Sit."

I sat.

With the guidance of a trained professional, it took mere moments to put on each pair, peer at them in the little mirror, look up at her for a thumbs up or down, and drop them into the Yay or Nay pile. The Yay pile was a manageable 4 or 5 pairs, one of which was almost exactly like Sister's. In the absence of any more meaningful criteria, I chose that one. I know you are surprised by that.

With the wonders of vision insurance, for which I am eternally grateful to my employer, what would have been a $600+ pair of glasses* will probably cost me less than $300 all told.

Bonus points: The new frames are metal so I should be able to enjoy them for many, many years to come. I can only hope that small, dark, and rectangular continues to be not completely un-cool.

On a related note: After my eye exam at the military hospital, I was told I was eligible for a free pair of computer glasses. Free glasses? Score! Then they showed me the choice of frames.

Gulp... Anyone here familiar with the term BCG? As in Birth-control glasses?

Caution: May trigger uncomfortable flashbacks to childhood for those of a certain age.

Nope, sometimes free ain't worth it. If they're hideous enough to make Young Son look anything less than totally adorable, I don't stand a chance. He thought they were joke glasses and wanted to play with them but I wouldn't let him wear them for more than a moment, for fear that the concentrated light beams might burn out his retinas.

I can't think of a single instance when I would wear these things. OK, maybe one. If there was, like, an earthquake? And all of my other glasses (reading, computer, prescription sun, and backup pair) got demolished? And I happened to have these in my purse, which happened to be by my side? Then, and only then, might I wear these. If it was dark outside.

I won't even try them on in front of Mr B, for fear of never getting laid again.

Those of you with good vision should be sending thanks to the deity of your choice right about now.

I strongly recommend it.

* This is true. $140 for frames, and over $500 for progressive lenses with anti-reflective coating made of high-index plastic for over -10 diopters. I so wish I was making that up.


  1. 47, crazy bad eyesite and just went through all of this. Luckily I have contacts for sports, so can wear those to try frames on.

    Also, you might try buying through the internet next time. I saved about $50 even with my crappy insurance!

    Enjoy your blog very much.

  2. I'm widja. I hate picking out glasses and I hate picking out sunglasses. Try having a big square head and 95% of frames not fitting you. They don't have a special blockhead section.

    Those computer glasses are hot though. I bet you could score all the tail you wanted wearing those bad boys.

  3. Look, I'm crass about sexual matters, but not in that way, in the OTHER way. It'll take more than a pair of gummint issue spectacles to protect your virtue.

    Maybe we could play 70s Boss n' Receptionist. Wear the glasses and I'll stick on some sideburns...


  4. Holy Crap,,,
    You better go look at our wedding pix. Look familiar huh?
    Great story

  5. OMG - you're right! I thought they made him look strangely familiar. Those look way too much like my glasses circa 1979!


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