The frames suited my face and seemed suitable for that hiatus — only it’s now been a decade since I bought those frames (I have no idea what happened to them), I currently rotate between several modern models, and the dryness has not improved. I’ve come to own my glasses. They’re my trademark accessory, but it certainly took some time to make peace with my bespectacled self.
When I first started wearing glasses full time, I was single and dating up a storm on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I was about to go on a blind date one day when I had a flashback to an old boyfriend — from my contact days (one who hadn’t seen me in glasses) — who had stated adamantly, “Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.” I turned to a good looking guy in my building hallway and asked, “I’m about to go on a date, should I ditch the glasses?”
“Are you kidding?” he replied. “You look great in your glasses!.” Then he winked and while the date didn’t go well that evening, the hallway guy later tracked me down and we went out.
Unattached again a few months later, I asked a male friend, one who always told it to me straight, “Do you think glasses will be an impediment? You know how guys can be so shallow… “
“With some girls maybe,” he said, waving away my concern dismissively, “ but glasses really suit you. I would trim your hair a bit though. It’s really getting too long and scraggly.”
And then one day, I ran into the old boyfriend (!), the one from my contact lens days who had quoted me the famous line about men, glasses and their passes.
“You look great! So good to see you,” he said. We engaged in a 30-minute conversation about life, how much had changed since we last spoke. As we said goodbye, he said “It was really great to see you and again, you look fantastic.”
“But I’ve got to ask you,” I said, pointing to my eyes, “I remember something you said.” I reminded him of the line, the line that had stuck.
“Oh that! Nah, I don’t know what I was saying.”
Now, those are the positives. There would be male friends who advised me to take a photo for Jdate, the Jewish online dating site, sans spectacles. There was the male friend who said “Yeah, I definitely like you better without glasses” and then there was the Seinfeld episode. I forget whether it was George who asked Jerry or Jerry who asked George, while pointing to a window of an optometry center “Do you think these women are attractive?” One of them replied “They would be without the glasses.” Is that how men think? I wondered.
So I tortured myself. I wore one contact lens on dates and let me tell you, my prescription is pretty horrific. What ensued would usually be a day long migraine from the resulting vertigo. Beauty — or mere shallowness — certainly came with a price.
By the time I met my husband, a man who had spotted me in a crowded room years earlier without glasses, I was wearing my glasses all the time and had given up on that one-contact gamble (although I did end up doing it again for our wedding). On our first date, the rapport was easy and the conversation flowed. Glasses, no glasses, it didn’t matter and of course, that’s really how it should be, but as recently as last year, when I took a picture I turned to my husband and asked, “Should I remove the glasses?”
“No, the glasses make you look cool.”
Conversely, when I took a passport photo recently I was told I MUST remove my glasses and when I took a professional headshot for business purposes, I was also told to take them off so people “can really see your blue eyes.”
Just yesterday a woman in synagogue approached me and said, “I’ve met you before, I remember you from those glasses.” Do I want glasses to be my identifying feature, I thought for a moment, something that is not even a part of my anatomy? I’d love it if people remembered my God-given baby blues…
“I LOVE those glasses!” She added. “Love them.”
I decided, hey, why not?
And if you think men won’t make a pass, they’ll take a pass, you can kiss my a —
I’ll keep my glasses.
At this point, I feel naked without them.