I've worn glasses all my adult life. Ever since I was prescribed them at 17 (for short-sightedness), they became a part of me. I've never really seen them as something I wear - they're just there.
So when my friend - who I thought had good eyesight - turned up wearing glasses when I met her in the pub, I was really taken aback. The questions spilled out of my mouth. What optician did she go to? What was the diagnosis? She just laughed and said there was nothing wrong with her eyesight, and that the glasses were simply a fashion accessory.
I went from surprised to confused.
I'd never ever considered glasses to be fashion in any sense of the word. They had a purpose - they allowed the wearer to gain a clear focus on the world around them. Fashion was frivilous. I actually thought my friend had come up with some cover story, and that she might be ashamed of having poor eyesight. I demanded to try them on. Sure enough, they were clear glass. "For some of us, glasses are for life, not a trend". I thought I'd made a good point there. What happens when this fashion trend fizzles out? Will I be seen as unfashionable, the loser who didn't realise glasses were yesterday's thing? Even worse: do they think my glasses are fake and I'm just following a trend? Suddenly I became incredibly self-conscious of my glasses...and resented my friend for creating this awkward moment.
To lighten the mood, I joked "it's funny that so many people want to wear contact lenses because they don't like to wear glasses, and now we have people with perfectly good eyesight wearing glasses...it's almost like a grass-is-greener thing isn't it?". I think I came in with the joke too late, because my friend took off her glasses and said "that feels better...since we've met, I've felt so self-conscious about wearing these".
"That makes two of us", I replied.
However, I continued with the humour, unperturbed: "well, you could pretend to be someone wearing contact lenses now...that could be the new subtle fashion trend."
Finally, she laughed. "Not sure how that would work, but it sounds funny. Oh, and for the record...my eyesight isn't perfect. I do actually have some reading sunglasses
, but I never wear them."
"Let me guess, because you never read?"
We carried on with our banter, and thankfully, my glasses became a part of me again.