I have been wearing glasses since the third grade – that’s the last twenty-three years of my life, approximately, which is a number so frighteningly large that I think we should all just forget that I said anything about it. Over the years I have had, as you would expect, a number of extremely stylish, high-fashion frames the likes of which would make you extremely jealous, bitches.
For example, my very first pair of glasses were round, rose-pink frames with little springy portions on the ear stems that caused them to be flexible and able to grip your face securely as well as to look, like, totally hot. I still remember my chest swelling with pride when one of my teachers told me they made me look very “uptown.” (I KNOW. CAN YOU JUST ENVISION IT.) From there I moved on to what I will call my Sally Jesse Raphael frames (use your imagination on these), my green tortoise wire frames, my John-Lennon-esque silver wire frames, and then finally my thick black horn rims, which I have been wearing since 2000.
Those black horn rims have been amazing and completely indestructible. I have tried to replace them twice, but the new frames I tried never worked out. I had (and still have, actually) a pair of translucent, candy-apple red rectangular frames that I have worn all of twenty times. More recently, I tried a pair of translucent black half-frames, but due to various structural problems, they just aren’t tough enough for the kind of abuse I dish out.
I need glasses that can be accidentally slept in, sat on, possibly chewed on by a dog, and can still come out intact. They have to have frames all the way around the lens, I learned, to prevent the lenses from popping out or breaking when I inevitably drop them on my ceramic tile floor. (I am too embarrassed to tell you how many times this has happened with the half-frames I have now!) They can’t have those little plastic nose pads attached with wire to the inside of the nose area. OH HELL NO. Those things not only get disgustingly encrusted with nose skin and oil (UGHHHH) but they also get bent out of shape if you even look at them sideways. I HATE THOSE THINGS.
As you can see, I both love picking out glasses and am also very annoyingly choosy about it. If I am spending hundreds of dollars even after insurance on something I am going to wear, ON MY FACE, EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE, it had better be worth it. (What’s this “glasses are supposed to help you see” nonsense I keep hearing? Please. Glasses are a fashion statement first and foremost.) More than that, I really want the whole experience of choosing and purchasing to be pleasant. I really loved the optometrist I went to in Zembla, where I was seated on purple velvet couches and served lattes while I shopped. Let’s say it’s not so posh around here. In fact, my optometrist’s office has proven to be not only utterly devoid of lattes, but also intolerably incompetent.
Their crimes have ranged from minor annoyances like ignoring customers in favor of gossiping and giggling behind the front desk for 20 minutes at a time, telling people rudely to go sit down in the waiting room without even getting their name or finding out what they were there for, clumsily repairing my glasses, taking approximately eighty-seven years to get lenses made, to their most recent and irksome scheduling debacle (which some of you have already heard about from me). When I was supposed to go in for my annual appointment last month, they had managed to schedule an appointment on a day when their office was closed for a cross town move. The day of my alleged appointment I spent 30 minutes driving around looking for the new office, trying to call them, and finally went to the old office only to be greeted by a sign saying they were closed that day for the move! Of course I couldn’t get them on the phone because their voicemail wasn’t working that day. OF COURSE.
I was beyond infuriated, let me tell you, and I vowed (loudly, to everyone who would listen) never to go back. I looked at my insurance and found the two other places I was allowed to go and checked them out so I could make a switch. Place number one: Wal-Mart. Yes, that Wal-Mart. Did you know that the following persons, brands, or entities make eyewear: Randy Jackson, Wrangler, and NASCAR? And that their designs are sold at Wal-Mart? Well, now you do. The other place on the list wasn’t much better – just one tiny cramped room with a few frames to choose from and about fourteen children running around with their fingers up their noses. No velvet couches, no lattes.
To make a long story slightly less long, I figured that my largely incompetent optometrist was actually the best option in town, so I had to return to them, tail between my legs, prepared to accept further abuse on their part. As it turned out, though, they seem to have improved things a bit. The new receptionist actually acknowledges people when they come in the door, calls people by name, and doesn’t sit around gossiping behind the desk while ignoring customers. The woman in charge of frames actually helped me find and order the kind I wanted, remembered me when I called about them, and had gotten them delivered and in the office and ready for me by the date of my exam. A million things could have gone wrong there, but they didn’t. I was shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU, at their surprising ability to exhibit basic competence. How long will this last?
One more helpful tidbit the frame lady was able to tell me (which no one had told me before) was that the reason they usually take so long to make lenses was that my insurance company requires that the lenses be made in their own lab, so my glasses have to be sent off to them to be made. Which explains a lot. So, while I think I have finally found and ordered the perfect new pair of glasses, it’ll still be another couple of weeks before I get them. These are the ones I went for:
Will they be the pair that finally unseats the black horn rims, reigning champions since 2000? Only time will tell. I mean, you know, assuming my optometrist isn’t just waiting until I am sufficiently resigned and lulled into a false sense of security before they find yet another way to fuck me. Assuming that I actually receive them, time will tell.
Those look like some awesome specs! Hard to tell from the picture, but are they more white than brown?
And I have the same problem as you – I have needed glasses for most of my life as well which, as a kid, subjected me to ample ribbing. And I can’t stand those nosepads! Ack! I usually go for rimless, circular lenses with metal nosebridge. You are not alone – I take HOURS and HOURS to choose my frames. HOURS, I tell you.
I had a pair of glasses that I liked back in my undergraduate years. I was attending university in the most loneliest of lonely frozen wastelands and walked to the university one morning in -38 degrees celsius. Upon entering the warm, warm academic building, my lens shattered from the thermal shock. I was the most unexpected thing ever. I wondered for a moment if I had been shot, or something. Now I go plastic.
I’ve had glasses since I was 18 months old, so I know what you mean about the need for them to actually *look good*. My first pair were little Lennon-like steel rimmed ones with hooks to keep them on my lil ears … and then I got stuck with the huge glasses that were the only things available in the 80s. I drool with envy when I see the cute and stylish ones available for kids now!
My current optometrist is *the best*, if you ever fancy a trip down under. He’s actually picked my last three or so pairs … by which I mean he has a pair or two set aside when I come in that he thinks are right for me, I proceed to try on every. single. pair. in the shop just to be sure … and then I pick one or both of the frames he’d suggested at first. At a reasonable price (but then, mine have always been $400 or more with lenses, so ‘reasonable’ is relative!) Skilz – he haz them. And he bulk bills. I hope he never retires!
I knew I wouldn’t be alone when it comes to being picky about glasses! I mean, we do have to wear them on our very faces, right?
J – They’re more wheat-blonde colored than brown. The actual color name is “cashew,” but I think they’re a bit lighter than what I think of as cashew. I decided I didn’t want big, dark frames after wearing those for so long.
TPO – Oh, man, if I could jet off to Australia I certainly would go see your doctor! That sounds like a good enough excuse for a big vacation, right? I wonder if my insurance could be convinced it was a medical necessity…
I’ve got a good optometrist here in Tejas as well, which might be at least on the same continent as New Wye. I don’t carry vision insurance for a reason – what I can get screws me over at the price point. If you have medical insurance, see if you can get the eye exam billed to them. My eye doc bills Blue Cross for me, I have to pay for glasses out of pocket, but they cost less than the eye insurance would.
Also – have you tried contacts? I did for awhile, you may have seen facebook photos of same, but I ended up going back to glasses full time. It turns out that I’ve been wearing them so long, over a decade now, that I feel naked without them.