by Chris Van Orden
I write you today with a plea. Please, please, please – enough about the glasses. You see, my day has consisted of a steady stream of passers-through, -by, and -along, commenting on my choice to wear glasses instead of my usual contacts. Every single person I’ve ever met, seen, or punched apparently feels compelled, almost obligated, to make mention of my spectacles. I have to ask: “Why? Why is it necessary for you to inform me, the wearer, that I am indeed wearing glasses?”.
The normal form of the useless comment is a statement, a recognition: “You’re wearing glasses”. No input, no opinion; just simple factual information. I don’t know how to respond to this. All I can ever come up with is a pat on the head or a tickle of the tummy accompanied by a sing-songy “Who’s a smarty pants? You are!”. This does not go over well.
More involved versions of the inanity are no better. “I didn’t know you wore glasses”. I don’t, actually. I was recently diagnosed with ‘glassfaceitis’, a horrible and highly contagious infection of the facial region. Thanks for mentioning it.
And then there’s the old standard, the “I’ve never seen you in glasses before – do you wear contacts?”. Logic would dictate so. The coke bottle lenses that I sport imply a strong prescription, which serves to correct an otherwise debilitating near-sightedness. Think Mr. Magoo with pink eye. I couldn’t live my life sans-spectacles unless there was some other magical form of vision rectification. Contacts to the rescue.
Finally, a common permutation of the frame acknowledgement has cropped up in recent years. I speak, of course, about the ‘sophisticated’ line. Every time I don my specs, someone inevitably tells me how urbane or mature I look. My objection to this is not over any worries about their evaluations of the contact-sporting version of myself – although this might imply I normally come off as young or (God forbid) gauche. No, I object because these ‘compliments’ come even when I have consciously decided to look as unsophisticated as possible. Tonight, I chose the cut off Bruce Springsteen Tour of ’84 shirt, sweatpants, and the old horned-rims, but still the ‘sophisticated’ kudos come. Glasses, no matter how stylish, do not have the power to overcome such classlessness. I know that and so do you. A little sincerity is all I ask.
So please, friends, acquaintances, and people whose names I always forget yet who consistently remember mine, keep the glasses comments to yourselves. It’s tautological, it’s trite, and it leaves me feeling like I have to reciprocate. Somehow, “Thanks. So you wear shoes, huh? I didn’t know you wore shoes” always fails to hit the mark. Thank you in advance.
Chris Van Orden