I believe that the wearing of glasses should be exclusive to nerds. Let me tell you what sparked this audacious statement:
Of late, I have seen many a photo of my elementary and middle school classmates doing their creepy sorority cult poses* and noticed that many of these obnoxiously pretty girls are wearing GLASSES.
When I see Facebook photos of those long-haired, long-legged, perfectly proportionate beauties accessorizing their Herbal Essences commercial-grade locks with a big pair of plastic frames, I am filled with INORDINATE RAGE. If I were to speak my feelings aloud, it would be in a sort of guttural, Exorcist-style grunt: “YOU CAN’T WEAR THOSE.”
They have undergone none of my struggles! They were never caught picking their collective nose in front Mrs. Bowman’s fourth-grade class, never to live it down! Nobody ever accused them of reading the dictionary! They were never dubbed “Dorky Dana” during the unfortunate first-day-of-school icebreaker game when you’re supposed to think of an adjective with the same first letter as your first name, only that doesn’t always work because there are no good adjectives that start with D, and someone will inevitably think of an insulting one before you’re even called on to speak! They have never been unceremoniously dumped via text message, nor puked in a parking lot! (I can tell, because they have perfect hair.)
When I was a kid, I was convinced that all of my struggles could be blamed on my glasses. I wished on stars and eyelashes and birthday candles and yellow lights that I would wake up the next morning with perfect vision. I was painfully different from most of my classmates and it drove me insane; I didn’t understand why I couldn’t be like them. Sometimes I read my old diaries from elementary school and that, for years, was the underlying theme of my existence: why, but why, am I not like everyone else? Why is my brain so noisy? Why don’t I like the same TV shows and games and magazines as everyone else? I could not relate and in my mind, it was because I wore glasses. They were the physical symbol of my geekdom, my nerdiness, my dweebery, and I was convinced that if I could only cast them aside, I would understand what was so fun about running around and shrieking on the playground, and “Rocko’s Modern Life,” and maybe I would be good at soccer, and everyone would like me and nobody would tell the class that I picked my nose.
I, and my fellow geek-nerd-dweebs, are uniquely qualified to enjoy the fashion benefits of glasses because we suffered the angst of wearing them when they were decidedly uncool.
I am 23 years old and it has been fourteen years since I, um, hypothetically could have been caught picking my nose in front of Mrs. Bowman’s fourth-grade class, but actually I just had this really atrocious itch somewhere on my sinus and maybe found some gold along the way, and I’m gonna quit while I’m behind, but suffice to say that I have not grown up to the point where I’m over my childhood. I’m still socially awkward; I still don’t find social interaction as comfortable as most people seem to; my brain is still so noisy that it regularly keeps me awake at night.
(I’m lucky here in Silicon Valley to be surrounded by many, many like-minded people. We are, generally, the meek inheriting the earth, and it feels great, especially since I don’t have to trip all over myself wearing heels and business casual. It’s oxymoronic, but here I feel I can be unabashedly socially awkward because everyone else is too. People here, like me, are earnest and curious and unconcerned with looking uncool. It’s a comfortable place to live.)
And so I still feel a residual bitterness towards people who seem to have always had it “easier” than I do. Their lives are hardly anything I desire; I have never wanted to be in a sorority and don’t have the energy to maintain Herbal Essences hair and I don’t want to work in fashion or PR or go to med school or do anything besides what I already do. Not to mention that my life is actually embarrassingly easy nowadays. I don’t even have to do my own laundry (thanks, Silicon Valley perks!). I can easily afford my rent and my car insurance and my cable and a couple new pairs of shoes every so often, and I have health insurance and voting rights and freedoms and privileges that many people lack. Frankly, nowadays, I only complain because it’s something to do.
But I remember being a little girl and wishing madly that I could spend a day in the body of one of the “popular” girls. They were pretty and easy and happy and sunny and I was bespectacled and moody and lonely and sensitive and nothing was easy. (I was unaware of the concept of “white privilege” at the time. Don’t worry, dear reader, I now know that everything is easy except trying to keep my uterus out of the hands of dastardly Republicans.) None of that is particularly true any longer; I work hard to be happy, and also I wear contact lenses, and I have a lot of really fantastic friends all over, and people generally like me.
But it’s hard to shake the nighttime thoughts that kept you awake when you were a little girl, especially if you thought them as hard and as often as I did, and for me, it’s still those damn glasses that kept me down, kept me from being happy and normal like the popular girls.
Perhaps these girls were once as geeky and shunned as I once was by classmates who watched Nickelodeon while they read Newsweek (RIP, print edition) in the corner. Perhaps they are actually nearsighted and need glasses, which is probably the most likely case, and I should maybe shut up and get over myself. But I maintain that the wearing of glasses should be a privilege held exclusively for the nerds of the world – for those who have suffered the shame of being outed as a non-consumer of Pokemon, of consistently missing the ball during four-square at recess, of knowing the capitals of every nation in the world but not the basic premise of “The Angry Beavers.” For if my Coke-bottle rims are suddenly going to give me an edge on everyone else, to set me apart in a way that makes me look special and glamorous instead of mousy and pitiable… I think that I deserve that one, don’t I?
I bought a new pair of glasses recently and when I wear them, I feel like I’m in a fishbowl. Analyze that, Freudette.
*I would like to take this moment to note that sometimes I can’t tell when my friends are posing facetiously. I have many friends from pre-college who are in, like, Delta Gamma Theta Phi or whatever, where you do the little broken wrist with the fingertips against the forehead with the jutting hip, and I guess it’s universal because I also have a bunch of Vassar friends who often pose like that as a joke. And the only way I can tell if they’re serious is if I look closely and see if they’re all wearing matching T-shirts that say something like “DELTA BETA KAPPA EPSILON BOYS VERSUS GIRLS FIJI ALPHA WET T-SHIRT FUNDRAISER PARTY.”
Also, we used to take pictures in dance company poses ALL THE TIME, so I probably shouldn’t make fun of sorority girls for doing it, but obviously we were pursuing the high art of Irish step dance/contemporary ballet/”walk eight counts and touch yourself” and can deservedly consider ourselves superior.