Shirley Harring

writer, farmer advocate, madwoman

Eye See

October 18, 2009

In all honesty, I knew that eventually I would end up here. I mean, it happens to everyone they say, at some stage. It just depends on whether you give in to the signs and do something about it, or ignore it completely and live in the blur that you pretend is reality.

So. Here I am I am looking at racks and racks of  wire and plastic and marvelling at the options. Bling or no bling?  Trendy or conservative?  Make a statement and go with purple semi framed, or smoulder in understated class that always accompanies tortoiseshell brown and gold.

It would help if I could see.

I know. I have been putting it off. It happened quite fast and at first, I could find excuses – something in my eye, the light was bad, it was the wrong time of day, the moon was in Jupiter instead of Saturn… but of course eventually I had to cave. The defining moment? When I had to get up out of my chair at the restaurant and walk over to the bar on the pretext of reading the blackboard specials because I couldn’t read the menu. Enough was enough.

So here I am.

When the skipper came out of denial and accepted that he may need some type of assistance in reading the newspaper- assistance that didn’t involve holding it 2 meters away from his face with his toes – I chose his frames within a few minutes. I could tell the shape and colour that would suit his face, and they look great. When geek boy, who needed seeing eye dogs by the time he was 10, was in this position, I had him framed and spectacled within minutes – again, trendy specs that look kewl.

Who’s here to help me and give me an opinion? Not a bloody soul, that’s who. I look around hopefully, but apart from the staff and harassed looking mother with an out of control toddler on the loose, no one looked like they would care what type of frames I chose.  At reception, a woman with tattooed eyebrows and purple spikes offers a second opinion. She is adorned with trendy frames that look great and suit the eyebrow/spike combination. I, on the other hand, display neither tattoo nor spikes.  When the mumsy blonde with plain janes also chimes in and offers a third opinion, I nearly leap on her and drag her to the display rack. I am distinctly more mumsy than spike.

Holysnappingbatshit, who knew.

It’s veritable who’s who of the catwalk. Guess, Fendi, Elle, Prada. Nike, St Laurent, Dolce & Gabanna.  Dior. Oroton. Kelvin Klein. Armani.

Then there is the colour. The shape. The size. Arm height. Bridge design. Red? Blue? Silver? Black?  Irridescent? Pearlescent? Opalescent?  Round? Square? Oval?  Tilted? Long? Short? Nose lugs? Etched and plain and laced and shiny and matt and understated and overstated and tinted or polarised and low slung and high rise and titanium and lithium and kryptonite and  would you like fries with that?

Blimey. I just want to be able to read a menu, get lost in my book at night and remove splinters from small fingers without stabbing the kid in the eye by mistake – or worse, spend 10 minutes trying to remove a freckle from my son’s butt which I swear is a tick because I can’t see.

I could buy a degree for less money than it takes to buy the frames.

But pride wins. A consolation prize of sorts.  (I am being consoled by spending, yes?) I choose the frame I like sort of bestish – a middle ground choice that sits somewhere between ‘lookamelokkamelookameee Kimmy’ and ‘I am a distant relative of Nana Maskouri’ .

Then I look at the price. Close my eyes, and pay up.

I can’t afford a Fendi handbag, but I’ll  take the frames. Thanks.

*You’ll note I manage to write this whole post without the use of the word ‘glasses’ in it at all. Not in denial much am I?


  1. Oh I feel your pain!

    As for choosing the ones to take home, why don’t I look as glam in horn rims like that girl on the ad? Why, instead, do I look like a twat who is trying to be Brian Henderson in a skirt?

    So I settled for frameless.

    But don’t kid yourself. Being able to see again won’t help you find the bloody things once you put them down somewhere!

  2. Ah, I am laughing here (with you of course!) Because I’ve had to choose frames for myself since I was in Year 4, so I have been there, multiple times! (OK, I got help till I was approximately 18.) But also because I WAS THERE!!! when you walked to look at the blackboard!! You really acted fast once you’d decided you really should go and get tested!

    (Pssst – I couldn’t read it either! – problem is, my non-multi-focals optimised for computer wouldn’t have helped.)

  3. Heh… having been there when the lightbulb moment took place, I feel very much part of this post!! I too have specs – bought about 10 years (and I suspect, at least two necessary but unheeded prescription upgrades) ago. Luckily the cows don’t care whether I wear Fendi or retro plastic. Or boring metal frames which were considered quite trendy (a decade ago).

    Sooo…. where is the photo of these new glasses (sorry, specs)???

  4. Still giggling over the tick/freckle confusion.

    I must go and get tested again shortly. I’m thinking that after about 12 years I might go with new frames, too. (yep, I’m a cheap dag) What do you want to bet that this time when I WANT new frames I won’t need to change my prescription (or only need one new lens)?

    Have you noticed how much all your friends age once you have glasses? or is that just me?

  5. Sometimes I wish I was going blind (sorry) so I could choose some trendy specs. Lyndon wears specs and they ‘must’ be Ted Baker. It seems every designer out there has their fingers in the optic shop. And then charge a small fortune for them.

  6. First pair I had to buy I took my friend to help me select frames. She wouldn’t let me have one style because she said they made me look intelligent – never did quite understand what she meant. The initial phase is to wear them just when you need to and try to feel stylish getting them out to read say a menu, eventually you end up wearing them all the time. The bottom of this downward spiral, where I am at present, is to tape up the stems when they break and go round with the repair on display. I am booked in to get a new pair, honest (and I never mentioned the dreaded name either).

  7. Too intelligent? Huh? My new frames were chosen specifically because a total stranger in the waiting room said they made me look that way. :)

    I had a male employee at an optician’s center try to pick out my frames for me once. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say, “tried to bully me” into picking out the (ugly, black plastic) frames he thought I needed. I was fairly young and looked like someone who could be cowed, I guess (he wasn’t the first person to make that mistake). When being polite but firm didn’t work and I was on the edge of using unladylike language, I went off for a “second opinion” (above the guy’s protests) and returned with my 6’5″ husband. End of problem.

    Gary’s been helping me pick out my glasses ever since, mostly by agreeing with my expression when I look at myself in the mirror.

  8. I have been blindly flinging my lack of style around in optometrists since the dawning of time (well, since I was about 12) and the results are NEVER pretty!!

    I even once wore contacts to chose frames – total bust, because I then realised I would no longer have an excuse.

  9. Just updated my old glasses with uber-new trendy ones and, thankfully, the assistant and optometrist helped me out cos my early-90’s look was sooooooooooooooo ancient!

  10. LOL, I am *supposed* to wear glasses but I hardly wear them. But I do wear my prescription sunnies all the time. I did splurge and get Prada, cause those babies are the only Prada thing I will ever own. I don’t wear them because I can see, out of my right eye. Its only when I close that one I realise just how bad the left one is. Putting eyeliner and mascara on when you can’t see is an interesting experience.

  11. I sympathise. Sincerely. I’ve been wearing those things all day every day since my late twenties. Prescription sunnies, too.
    I don’t look like me without them.
    And the price! Ye gods. They wouldn’t cost as much if they were made from solid gold.
    But, at the same time, I figure that if it’s something you have to wear on your face all the time, pay up and get the very best. Or sell a kidney/firstborn and get two pairs so you can wear one pair all day and then change looks if you have to go out and want to look different.

  12. rofl.I have just been through the same thing………….
    who knew specs could cost soooo much!!!!

  13. I expect that you will have made a good choice, and that you will quickly get used to the look. You have done well to get away without glasses for so long.
    Wouldn’t you think that some clever clogs could have invented something that takes a photo of the person, enlarges it to face size, and then manages to click and drag the spectacle fames onto the image of the face? And that the clarity of the image could be manipulated so that the spectacle-less person could see it?
    Surely there is a demand for such an invention?
    The last time I had to choose frames, the selection was so trendy and so totally unflattering to me that I had to opt for the same frames. I go for thin gold metal on top and no frame underneath. As unobtrusive as possible

  14. I’ve been wearing glasses pretty much on a full-time basis since I was 18, so I too have had the dilemma of what to match it with.

    My prescription didn’t chnage much for years, but after 10 years of tragic red/multi frames with enormous lenses my best friend took me aside and said ‘Laura, new glasses, NOW’ You look very outdated.

    I took her advice and changed them every two years for a while, and my frame choice has been getting smaller and smaller. I have 3 prescriptions in a multifocal, so it can be a tad tricky…but when you find The Ones! Oh the joy!

    My eyewear is part of my ‘look’ and I feel naked without them, and as I dress in a lot of colour I am increasingly going for bolder choices again. 2 years ago I got some great mauve metallic frames, that go with EVERYTHING. I avoid Mumsy styles, browns and golds, and interesting side details a la Sophia Loren, although when I bought my latest pair 2 months ago I noticed they are coming back into fashion.

    I invested , as Lesley suggested, in getting a second pair with the same prescription, one in my fave mauve frames, and a new pair with deep red metallic half-frames (top, slender line) with….diamantes! Discreet diamantes inset into the outer edge and a few around to the sides as well.
    I am loving having a red AND a purple option! And of course there is always a lipstick to match or tone.

    People have noticed them, in a positive way, and people at work look disappointed when I wear white or black. There is a definite expectation that Laura = colour.

    Have FUN with them.

  15. Glasses are just part of me these days. Like Laura, they are my ‘look’. I tend to spend up to get the frames I want – luckily the cost is amortised over several years. (that’s how I justify it anyway).

  16. I bet you look fabulous. I go to the optometrist every 5 years or so, convinced I MUST need glasses by now. I always come away without an excuse to have those gorgeous frames I was eying off! So, I live vicariously through my girlfriend who has a wonderful selection, and my mum (otherwise she’d be wearing granny glasses instead of those gorgeous Prada ones I wanted)!

  17. My dad hates shopping for frames! “The ones I like I can’t afford, and the ones I can’t afford make me look like Oswald the Owl!”

    My sympathies, but at least you got a great post out of it!

  18. Hmm, that should be, :…the ones I CAN afford make me…”

    Maybe I need some visual assistance, too?

  19. My last new ones are a little blingy. But they are half frames, so not too obtrusive. I hate the trend to narrow frames which tend to give folks a very shifty eyed look. Or necessitate peering over the top.

  20. Bah! I haven’t been able to see myself out glasses shopping for decades! I have to trust on the reliable assistance of the optical shop staff. Thank goodness that my shop has trustable people! They seem to consistently steer me right! Enjoy your specs!

  21. I Know that it is nice to read a menu..aaand it is great to be able to read a book without getting a headache..even recognise a freckle, but why, oh why, does your mirror turn evil…..

  22. The freckle/tick thing was funny. Those usually are, when they aren’t happening to you!

    I am blind as a bat, only in the opposite direction. I CAN see one foot in front of my face (okay six inches), but after that, it gets fuzzy…. FAST! I can’t tell if you have eyeballs in your head at a pace of 10 feet or more. Hell, I can barely tell if you have a HEAD. I dread the day I need bifocals, or God forbid, TRIFOCALS, like my father requires.

  23. hahaha…I knew you were on about glasses the whole time… Ooops, sorry to use the “g” word! ;o) Seeing is good… I’ve needed glasses since I was 10 so got over it pretty quick. Been wearing glasses all my life… Can’t do contact lenses, I feel naked! My hubby just had to get bifocal glasses… This I must confess is one aspect of aging I’m not looking forward to…among others–LOL! Hope you’re seeing clearly now. :o)

  24. I luvs me specs. My friends buy themselves jewelry. I buy nice specs.
    …and my health cover pasy for most of them every 2 years :)

    Next time you want a bit more service and great advice on style and a good price let me know – I’m not far from you and there’s an excellent optometrist with great assistants here.

  25. LOL you are crafty Ruby…I’d go for fashion and style too.

    I don’t need glasses I have contacts …said the woman to the policeman
    I don’t care who you know but next ‘eye see’ you , you better be wearing your glasses !

    When I update my specs every 2 yrs or so I go cheap because I rarely wear them …contacts are in 16hrs + a day.

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