Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Narcissus and Glasses


Back in the day I used to wear Sally Jesse Raphael-worthy glasses. Big ole tortoise-shell resin frames that would leave creases on my cheeks. I did it because I thought it would be ironic, hip, fun (not funny). However, I learned quickly that Asian-Americans can't be ironic about nerdy glasses. It just makes us look, well, Asian.

Over the years, eyeglass-wear has evolved to shape more beautifully around all varying facescapes, and cosmetic topologies. Thank Jebus.

Next I got into wire-rimmed roundies. Much like the kind Ghandi wore. That was short-lived, as my head is so large the roundies had to be really large to rest reasonably within my head-width.

I learned quickly that the only glasses I could wear were obnoxious rectangular resins. The kind drag queens wear when they're pretending to be housewives. Rhinestone adornments, odd colors, exaggerated cat-eyes, etc.

In my perfect world, Oliver Peoples and Selima would have a kid and be forced to marry me. Then that kid would make me glasses every day. I secretly long to have a wardrobe of eyeglasses, but simply can't afford it. One at a time like any decent American, thank you.

Until recently I had couched under the protective ego-boost of my most perfect pair of glasses. Electric blue fades with medium voltage cat-eyes. Then one day, I did a cartwheel to impress a boy and kablewy - they broke beyond repair.

I've settled for a similar pair in sea green but it's not the same. I have a backup pair coated in rhinestones, but it's not the same. I've gone back to the original optical boutique and nothing there's the same.

Funny aside about the optical boutique: I picked out a pair of televisions in white (viz: Elton John), and the French manager said bluntly to me:

O, I dunn o eef ziss glassEZ ware meant for people like yu. It eez mar four eep-opp ra-pearz (hip hop rappers), you know? Eep-opp ra-pearz av many many glassEZ and zey like zee big ones like ziss.

Sigh. So I started wearing contacts more often than not. If I couldn't feel powerful behind my cool glasses, I would have to join the million-fish march and pimp my natural look. I started wearing foundation, tried a little harder to suck it in, and dare I say, CARED about being attractive. I missed hearing, "nice glasses!" What would it be now, "nice eyes!"? And Jebus if I weren't a friggin' narcissist. How frightening. My glasses baited people in to the world of number one.

It kind of sucked not having the bait so you know what I decided to do instead of give up and go the way of wallflower for good? I did the next best one-at-a-time existential wardrobe change: rockstar haircut.

1 comment:

ryan said...

One of my good friends actually had a job in Harvard Square at a cute frames boutique helping people decide what kind of glasses looked good on their faces.

It was basically simmering face shape + race + genetic leftovers from your wide-eyed (or hawk-nosed or low-slung eared, etc/etc) parents in a stew of premium costs.

My friend wasn't trained for the job or anything, but the boutique's middle-aged owner say her at a video store, liked her style and thought she could help people not look like dorks. And I hear it was really fun work :)]

I haven't had to make the choice, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't handle the weirdness of putting in daily contacts. I'd have to take the plunge into that pool of face shape + cultural communication via frame choices.