I have a confession.
I hate hipster glasses. I hate girls who wear fake, clunky, coke-bottle frames. I hate boys who wear fake hipster fake tortoiseshell glasses. If you don’t need your glasses or wear glasses without lenses I automatically hate you.
Glasses are cool now. Yeah. Now.
In Grade 2, glasses were a death sentence. They killed your social life. Even if they were fake tortoiseshell.
My mom noticed that I was sitting a little too close to the TV and that I tended to squint. I also tended to get headaches after reading. These symptoms meant a trip to the ophthalmologist and the epic cool sight test. I think my doctor realized pretty quickly that I was pretty bad.
My clearest memory of that trip to the doctor is of the hot air balloon. I sat down and placed my chin on a machine that vaguely resembled square telescope. I had to look into the binoculars and tell the assistant if I could see the balloon clearly. The yellow and red hot air balloon floated above green grass, fading in and out like movie transitions. The assistant in a lab coat tweaked it for me. All of a sudden the balloon popped out — utterly defined, so colorful I remember feeling shocked. I felt a sinking sensation in my gut.
Something really was wrong with me.
The first sign of my world changing were the steampunk glasses: heavy metal glasses that ophthalmologists place on their clients to test various grades. At first the world was a bitter blur as the doctor deftly placed in lens after lens.
“Is this better?”
“How about this?” She slipped another lens in and everything was illuminated.
I now had an intimate understanding of what clarity looked like. I understood that I had been living in a blur! The floor was tilted! Why did I feel dizzy? Plus, I could choose whatever frames I wanted! How cool was that!
I think I chose Mickey Mouse frames, cause you know, Mickey Mouse is the epitome of everything awesome when you’re 8. Or Snoopy. I was really into Snoopy.
My mom was asking if I felt okay and I said yes. My mom wears glasses too, you see. And my mom, even in her pajamas, manages to look fabulous.
At first, I was happy. I stared at our pine walls, fascinated by whorls. I saw leaves in detail. I was blind and now I could see! I could read without sticking the book in my face.
Then I went to school.
It was all pretty much downhill from there. Glasses are a sign of weakness. They were a sign that I, at age 8, would have been sabertooth food in the wild. I wouldn’t have been able to see the sabertooth, much less run from it. All the other kids knew this — and it didn’t help that in my memory, I was the only kid with glasses in the class.
Other kids automatically began to taunt me, to pull the glasses off my face, to pretend wear them.
“I’m blinnnnd.” One would say while he flailed his arms and pretended to run into walls. Whenever they pulled the glasses off my face, I would follow, because the lanyard attached them to my neck.
One charming individual placed his fingers in front of his mouth to imitate buckteeth. I don’t know where he pulled the image of a nerd from, but it was succinct and changed my social standing forever. From then on, my world shifted. It felt like the world was divided into glasses wearing people and non-glasses wearing people.
Glasses, in their small way, made me see the world clearly. It made me realize how easily your appearance can change things. I also realize that a lot of “hipster culture” is mostly about rediscovering retro or finding off-the-beaten path interests. Pabst beer, whatever, I really don’t care what you do with your clothes, your music and your life.
But I really draw the line at those glasses. I really do. Because if they’re fake, they are just fake. Hipsters (in my opinion) want the good stuff, the good memories without all the bad crap that comes with wearing glasses. They want their lovers to take off the glasses before the first kiss. They want their glasses to mist up when they cry. They want to give an impression of deep thoughts and late nights up reading thick books.
They want someone to say, “Oh, wow, you look…really different.” Because Clark Kent was right to use glasses as his only mask! People look different without them!
But they have never been teased because their glasses could be used as a magnifying glass. They have never been called four-eyes, bug-face or any variations of this term. They have never been late for appointments because they misplaced their glasses and were disabled and couldn’t see! Couldn’t see. Essentially disabled, until they realized it was under the pillow and thank the particular deity you worship.
These coke-bottle wearing fakes have never been hit in the face with a volleyball so hard the frame cracked in two. They have never gathered shattered glass lenses in their hands, shaking and crying in terror because mom’s going to throw a fit, the frames were so expensive.
They have never been called nerd, when it hurt to be called a nerd. They have ever walked around with the soft part of nose of the glasses missing, the tiny metal prong digging into the bridge. Never had to endure taped frames because they broke and well, the new pair wasn’t ready yet. This means they do not deserve the other, nicer things about wearing glasses. Like when someone who loves you takes them off because you feel asleep with them on.
Go subvert some other culture or pretend you like that really terrible indie band. Please. Just stop fake-wearing glasses. Just. Stop.