Men often get grief from women because of the easier time we have with fashion choices. I can certainly appreciate this. From skirts and dresses, pantsuits and blouses, and the dizzying array of bracelets, earrings, and necklaces, women do indeed have far more to consider when they dress.
We men have it far easier. A shirt, a pair of slacks, possibly a jacket. We’re ready to roll.
I had to laugh when President Obama decided early on in his presidency that he would wear gray or blue suits only. He said he had enough on his plate and that he didn’t want to have to think much about clothes too. Seriously? Having a houndstooth or a chalk stripe in the occasional mix is just too much, huh? Perhaps those facial expressions Michelle makes when they’re out together are starting to make sense. The man clearly needs to mix it up a bit.
I found myself thinking about all of this recently when I went out shopping for a new pair of eyeglasses. The choices were numerous and I found my patience beginning to wear thin by about the fourth pair I had to try on. Unlike the president, though, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to think about the choices. I just hate shopping.
The thing about getting new glasses is that it should be all focused on the intricacies of the lenses only. The lenses are why you buy new glasses. From that standpoint, I do like all the many different options that are offered. Bifocals, trifocals, progressives, transitions, anti-glare, high-index, UV-blocking treatments, etc. Those are all features that I can wrap my head around. The more bells and whistles offered, the more I can begin to pretend that I’m really getting a laptop, a tablet, or perhaps even a vintage turntable.
But, of course, eyeglasses are not an electronic device. And in spite of the fact that we buy them to preserve our eyesight, they are also an agent though which we exhibit at least some aspect of our personality. So as I’m getting the required eye exam, and trying my best to read the lowest lines on the chart, I was fully aware that the next part of the experience is the one I hate the most: choosing frames.
I have a hard enough time buying cargo shorts and wondering just how idiotic I look in them. Glasses are where we separate the wheat from the chaff on the universal nerd chart.
To make sure I was duly protected from vanity calamity, I brought Gorgeous with me to the optometrist’s office. My thinking was that a certain aspect of self-preservation would be at play here: in addition to hopefully making sure that I look as presentable as humanly possible, my wife would have to be looking out for her own interest too. She has to be seen with me while out in public, for God sakes. Surely she wouldn’t allow me to look like a nerd. Right?
Your humble blogger was way overdue for an exam and a new prescription. My most recent pair were now five years old, and in their weak state they were starting to mock me. Just as our parents and grandparents did as we were growing up, I too was starting to discuss a collusion between over-the-counter medicine packaging and the eyeglass industry. In addition, the length of time it’s been taking to write blog posts wasn’t completely due to my life-long struggle with the correct usage of “affect” and “effect.” I was just struggling to make out all the letters on the monitor.
I have to additionally admit that I was tired with how my old pair looked. I wanted a new image. I’m no longer that clock-watching commuter who wears a starched collar shirt. It was time to trade in the faux-studious office look for a bolder Sean Connery vibe. Because, you know, there are like tons of mental images that everyone has of Sean Connery wearing glasses, right?
I also decided that I wanted larger frames. Progressive lenses are fantastic and I’ve grown to appreciate their many conveniences. But with a smaller eyeglass frame, people over a certain age are actually depending on a lot of tiny vision miracles to happen without realizing it. A larger viewing area, at least for me, will take advantage of what progressives can offer. The trick was to find something bigger than what I had, but not so big that suddenly I’m looking like Swifty Lazar or Harry Caray reincarnated.
This is where in my mind Gorgeous’ role was crucial. She was my insurance policy that would prevent my staying away from a demarcation line separating nerddom from Sean Connery. It’s admittedly a challenging task, but I had every confidence in her abilities. I was placing myself in very safe hands. Right?
With the help of a very gentle and non-pushy eyeglass salesman, we eventually settled on a pair that gave me the larger viewing area I was looking to have.
“Ah, yes, the Takumi. This is a very popular model right now,” he said. ” Lots of people are wearing them.”
That either means I’ll be in style or I’m going to blend in with society at large. I am fine with both of those scenarios. I still tend to look at things and wonder if it’ll make walking into study hall any more challenging than usual. Some angst just never leaves you.
A week later my new glasses were ready and I eagerly went to pick the up. Normally it takes me a couple of days to get used to new glasses, but I was delighted with how quickly I acclimated to this pair. Pretty much within three hours I had already forgotten I was wearing them.
At happy hour that evening, we toasted my ability to again read the directions on the Tylenol bottle. Life was good. As we clinked glasses I chanted, “Ah, yes, the Takumi.”
Later that evening we sat down to watch TV and I noticed that Woody Allen’s “Love and Death” had been recorded on the DVR. We laughed and laughed. I hadn’t seen that film since it came out in 1975.
Gorgeous commented on how ironic it was that we watched it on the same day that I received my new glasses. Searching for the irony and not finding it, I finally asked her why this was so.
“Oh, because now you look like Woody Allen,” she said. “That’s who I was thinking of as soon as you tried on these glasses. I love them!”
And it is all very ironic indeed. In the end, the line of demarcation couldn’t have been more clear. I just wasn’t able to see on which side of it I was standing.
Goodbye, Sean Connery.
Until next time…