Revenge of the Bespectacled
February 19, 2003 11:06 AM   Subscribe

"Rad, wicked, bad, barry, and definitely not sad". Amazingly, James Runcie is talking about glasses. He also describes his own endearing misadventures with NHS specs and how he's changed his opinion from glasses as stigmata (used by "the shy, the gangly, the awkward; people whose voices had not yet broken; the pyromaniacs, the mummy missers, and worst of all, the people who actually liked classical music") to the joy of myopia ("we look in a concentrated manner or not at all, for we cannot bear very much reality"). As to Dorothy Parker's famous dictum, the obsessive, often unsafe for work BBS and links on eyescene should offer some evidence to the contrary.
posted by 111 (12 comments total)
"But now they are almost as important as babies as fashion accessories"

a few weeks ago at a party i found some utterly non-prescription emo-glasses that had fallen on the floor, no one would claim them. thank god i didnt find someone's baby!
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 1:25 PM on February 19, 2003

i just got new glasses today and they're my favourite ever! great article. and i have to say i'm more affectionate towards my lenses than as a child, and yes, there is a fashionista aspect to them these days. and it's true, i do like the world to be soft and blurry sometimes. then again, i'm a mere -4 on the right and -4.5 on the left. i'd guess those poor -9 sods that have to shower with their specs on are all still considering laser surgery.
posted by capiscum at 1:48 PM on February 19, 2003

(used by "the shy, the gangly, the awkward; people whose voices had not yet broken; the pyromaniacs, the mummy missers, and worst of all, the people who actually liked classical music")

Woah! When did pyromania cease being cool?

i found some utterly non-prescription emo-glasses

Gawd - at least the owner had the decency to stay quiet. Of course my emo-glasses are hip, if only because they're strong enough to melt aluminum if you shine the sun through 'em...
posted by jalexei at 1:49 PM on February 19, 2003

Thank God that Elvis Costello never got contact lenses as a kid.
posted by riviera at 2:08 PM on February 19, 2003

I know what you mean capsicum. I am at this moment saving every spare cent for my new titanium rimless glasses to replace the pair I am currently wearing that were given free as a spare pair when I last bought new glasses. Anyone who wears glasses as a fashion accessory and does not need them should try wearing them all the time instead of just when they feel like it. They would soon realise that glasses as fashion makes about as much sense as stiletto heels if you are the one who is wearing them.

I must say, I do like to soften my view of the world at times and am fortunate that I can see to do most things (drive etc) without them. I really feel for those who cannot do anything without them.
posted by dg at 2:31 PM on February 19, 2003

Amen, dg. I've worn glasses since the 11th grade, and I cannot get contact lenses because of my prescription (I've got prisms in my lenses). There are many times when I'd prefer not to have to wear the pesky things, but overall I was fairly ambivalent.

That is, until the past few years and the spate of TV and radio commercials for Lasik surgery...all of which go out of their way to point out what a LOSER you are if you still wear glasses. Hmph.

I remember one occasion during a job interview, the pock-marked interviewer paused during his questioning and asked me "have you ever thought about getting contacts?" I replied, "No, I haven't. Have you ever thought about dermabrasion?"

I didn't get the job, but I no longer wanted it anyway.
posted by Oriole Adams at 5:59 PM on February 19, 2003

Hah! There's no way I could ever be sexy in glasses. I'm -13, -12.75. Which approximates to *really* bad, for all those who don't know what the numbers mean. I cannot see clearly further than an inch or two. Which sucks.

capiscum-I'm bad enough I can't even get LASIK, although there's another surgery I could. But it's damn expensive. I don't know anyone who's -9 or lower that doesn't think about LASIK. However, all the -9's are pretty much related to me, so I'm probably biased.

Oriole Adams-It's not the idea of being a loser that bothers me. I just like the idea of being able to wake up in the middle of the night and see what time it is without having to get out of bed.
posted by stoneegg21 at 7:43 PM on February 19, 2003

I can relate, fact, my husband is nearsighted as well, and one of the items on our wedding registry was a digital clock we'd seen at Target - the numerals are about three inches high.
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:05 PM on February 19, 2003

I've worn glasses most every waking hour since fifth grade, and while I could get Lasik, I don't think I ever will. I like the way I look with glasses. Especially since I splurged on a really nice pair 2 years ago. And it is nice not to have to deal with the world in 20/20 clarity all the time.
posted by halonine at 9:38 PM on February 19, 2003

Lately, I've been wearing really crummy plastic dime-store fake glasses in order to ruin my vision so that I can finally get REAL glasses, just like the ones all the cool people wear. It's not working.
posted by faustessa at 12:25 AM on February 20, 2003

Woah! When did pyromania cease being cool?

1983, apparently. Although some people didn't realise it until well into the grunge era.

(sigh) If only Weezer had been around back in tenth grade when I had a pair of huge plastic birth-control glasses held together with copper wire. Why were those homies pickin' on me, why did they gotta front? What did I ever do to those guys, to make them so violent?
posted by arto at 1:25 AM on February 20, 2003

Runcie doesn't mention one of the useful aspects: the point of taking your glasses off is not to make the world fuzzy, but high mag mode for fine print. I'm about -9 and had been thinking on and off about of surgery, but since high-refractive index lenses became affordable, I'm not bothered.
posted by raygirvan at 12:37 PM on February 20, 2003

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