Look. Do I need glasses? No, I do not.
Do I want them? Obviously I do, because they are cute and trendy and I think they make me look smart.
Can you make me feel embarrassed by trying on my glasses and saying "these are so weak! Are you only pretending you need glasses!?"
No. You cannot. I don't care what you think about why I'm wearing glasses. Want to know why I don't care what you think?
Because I look cute and trendy and smart.
Also, why should you get to decorate your face in ways that serve no utility purposes? Do you need those earrings to hear better? No. You don't.
Well my glasses are just earrings for my eyes.
Ones that are cute and trendy and smart.
It took me years to build the eye confidence I have now. I wasn't always this incredibly inspiring almost-godly figure you see before you today. I used to go to eye appointments periodically, resisting the temptation to intentionally perform poorly on the various tests so the doctor would tell me I needed glasses.
At the end of the appointment he or she would say my eyes were fine. "Perfect" even. They would say it like this was good news. Like they weren't crushing my dreams. Like they weren't telling me I would never be cute and trendy and smart.
I would walk out disappointed, but also feeling guilty for not being grateful for the fact that this relatively helpful sense, of which I only have about five, was functioning well.
And maybe that made me a garbage person. I still don't know.
But the point is, I just really wanted glasses.
I was like those kids in elementary school that wanted to break their arm just to get the cast. Except I was a twenty-something-year-old man. One who was constantly told by medical professionals that I didn't need an eye cast. Because my eyes were fine. Annoyingly, frustratingly, fine.
Then, finally, mumble mumble years ago I concluded an eye appointment with Dr. what's his name wheeling his little wheely stool to me, looking at me, and saying, "well, your eyes aren't perfect--"
"GO ON" I said more loudly than I intended.
"But," he said, starting to knock the wind out of me, "they're almost perfect."
"So you think I need glasses."
I didn't believe in Jedi mind tricks, but I figured it couldn't hurt to throw it out there.
"No." He said. But then he read the room. "Wait. Do you want glasses?"
I paused. I had never admitted it to anyone outside of my immediate family. I had always been too ashamed.
But with Dr. whoseitswhatsit looking at me from his wheely stool, I finally summoned the courage.
"Yes. I want glasses."
He nodded, like this wasn't his first rodeo, scribbled something on a piece of paper, and handed it to me, already forgetting my name and existence before even standing up.
A few weeks later, my new frames arrived.
I was cute. And trendy. And smart.
Over time I started admitting the facade to other people.
"It's a weak prescription," I would say. "Sometimes they help me see better when I drive at night. But mostly I just wanted glasses because they're cool."
It was liberating, being so terribly me out in the open like that.
Finally last week I decided it was time to update the frames. If I'm really just doing this for fashion, I probably ought to keep up with fashion trends.
So I wandered into a glasses store near my office on a Tuesday afternoon and told the sassy gay man who greeted me what I was looking for.
"Ok" he nearly hissed at me. "Here's the deal. You tell me what you want, and then I'll figure out what you need."
I thought I had already resolved this conflict. Why was this man who sells glasses trying to get me to revert in my progression?
But a moment later I discovered that he didn't mean he was going to force me to grapple with the insecurity of desiring glasses for fashion when others need them for utility.
He placed a pair of circular black frames on my face, winced, yelled "FAT," and then threw them into a bin.
Sassy gay glasses salesman wasn't there to shame me for faking a disability. He was there to find the best earrings for my eyes.
Suddenly he was no longer a middle-aged man wearing suspenders and a pocket square; he was an elderly woman in a blue muumuu using her magic wand to turn a pumpkin into a carriage.
A slimming carriage.
Fifteen minutes later he had found the pair. "Professional but fun. Youthful." he called them.
Cute. Trendy. Smart.
"My work here is done."
He ordered them for me. The next few weeks of waiting already feel like an eternity.
~It Just Gets Stranger