Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Four Eyes... With Style!
When that man, one of the world's greatest athletes and a man who will go down in history as one of the 10 best hoops players of all time, walked into a press conference wearing thick black plastic-rimmed glasses as a fashion statement, my immediate reaction was, "Well &@$# me gently with a horn rim."
I've worn prescription glasses off and on since high school. In those miserable adolescent years, and even into college, I fought it. Glasses were what my father would have, in his old-fashioned way, called “character building,” because there was nothing about them that aided or abetted an adolescent in identity crisis.
My sporadic contacts phases have been regularly curtailed by a (an?) astigmatism. For a few adolescent years, I mostly went out without any corrective vision assistance, but by college I learned that Beer Goggles + Bad Vision = Danger Will Robinson, so I wore glasses a lot.
A few weeks ago, I arrived early at the current higher-scale hipster bar of choice to meet a friend out for drinks.
I got there early but stole a stray seat at the bar and waited. Feeling a bit muddled, I ordered an Old Fashioned and took measure of my surroundings. The crowd was very young. Most of them were in their 20s. The women were dressed nicely in a wide variety of styles and colors; the men were mostly in untucked button-downs with a checkered or plaid design and mostly jeans with a few slacks.
The dudes were all wearing glasses. “All” is an exaggeration. But because I was alone and bored, I decided to count. Of the first 40 gentlemen within easy view of my barstool, 28 of them were wearing glasses. Almost 75% of them.
What. The. Hell.
Up to a few years ago, when you wore glasses, you just accepted what it meant in regards to your appearance. Glasses were function, not form and fashion. Big lenses or small, square or oval, you didn’t wear them by choice.
This is the life of First Worlders. We fret over what brand and style of tiny plastic or metal frames we put on our face. We pay hundreds of dollars for titanium glasses. We hem and haw about which color of Beats headphones look best. The number of choices we’ve added to our repertoire, as a culture, that mean nothing in substance but apparently much in self-esteem, or identity, or whatever they’re calling it tomorrow, is depressing and mindboggling.
Meanwhile, the discount glasses store where I was able to purchase prescription glasses for $35 and prescription sunglasses for $50, went out of business last year. The next time I get glasses, I’ll have to sift through The New World of Important Frames.
No one ever asked me what brand I was wearing. I’ve never asked anyone else what brand of glasses they were wearing -- although the big DG on the side saves the effort at times. But thanks to Lebron, Steve Jobs and hipsters everywhere, I’ll have to pay thrice as much as I used to for an item no one will ever see and say, “Wow! Those frames are amazing!”