I am A Girl Who Wears Glasses.
Moreover, I am a girl who wears ‘Personality Substitute Glasses’. All my young life, I was referred to as ‘That Mousy Girl’ or ‘The Walking Wall of Beige’. It comes from having the colouring of a brown paper bag and never bothering to make cosmetics my friend.
The glasses, therefore, do all the work for me.
My most recent frames even have a bit of ‘bling’ on their arms, as is the fashion these days. When people aren’t bending to my will, I dazzle them with my bling. Or rather, I turn my head to the side and they think “Why is she turning her head to the side?” and they temporarily stop not doing what I want them to do. So, in a way, it works. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I go to sleep at night.
Anyway, glasses have been part of my daily life for about 15 years now so I don’t really think about them much except to occasionally say things like “Girls who wear glasses rock!” (profound, right?) and “Where the fuck *are* my glasses?” (usually in conjunction with a hangover).
I was kind of surprised – and yet pleased – when The Pixie said she wanted to get glasses so that she could look “pretty like mummy”. I said she’d have to have her eyes tested first and so she began to hassle me for an optometrist appointment like other children might hassle their parents for an ice cream or for $2 to put in one of those supermarket rides or to “stop piss-farting about on the computer and take me to school”.
So in the end, I caved in and took her and it turns out she’s long-sighted and needs glasses.
You may as well have told The Pixie she’d won a trillion billion zillion dollars, such was the look on her face when she heard the news. In fact, she was so excited about it she started telling everybody we met that she was getting glasses and started counting down the sleeps til those hot little frames are on her face.
But then one afternoon, I found her crying in the school yard.
“I’m worried that people will laugh at me and call me square eyes!” she sobbed.
I chose to overlook the fact that the term ‘square eyes’ is normally reserved for people who watch too much TV and that glasses wearers are more likely to be called ‘four eyes’ or ‘coke bottle face’ or have people say to them ‘Nice glasses. Did you make them yourself? or ‘Those frames make your bum look big’.
Instead, I got down to her level, looked her straight in the eye and said “If anybody teases you about wearing glasses, I’ll punch them in the nose.”
Nope, there was none of that ‘sticks and stones’ wisdom for me – not when it came to people being mean to my little girl. Because in that instant, I recalled all the rejection, hurt and loneliness that I myself had gone through in my life in the name of “character building” and how I hadn’t even worn glasses for most of it. And the thought that there might be any extra impediment on the road to happiness, confidence and love for my daughter was more than I could bear.
But then I remembered that it’s a different world for the bespectacled these days. That old adage ‘Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses’ is as outdated as ‘Cider before beer makes you feel queer’ because we all now know you can’t ‘catch The Gay’ from having your drinks in the wrong order. And I went back to my original premise: “Girls who wear glasses rock!” For one thing, they can see properly and that’s got to be a good thing, right?
And so last Saturday, we picked up The Pixie’s new glasses – red frames that she chose herself – and her life as a Girl Who Wears Glasses began.
As she put them on for the first time, her face all lit up with pride and excitement, my heart ached a thousand different ways at once. But my overriding feeling was this: Those glasses won’t wear The Pixie. She’ll wear them.
And then some.