Monday, May 03, 2010

Challenging the New Morality

By All4Eyes

"Good afternoon, everyone" said the tall, sixtyish man, balding but still with a pretty good physique under a simple blue business suit and amber-green hazel eyes behind thick minus lenses set in slim silver rims, so that they stuck out of them front and back. "Since we have a new member here today, I thought we'd go around the table and introduce ourselves. My name is Ron, I'm the moderator of this group, my script is right -9.75 with 1 D astigmatism, left -10.25 with .75 D astigmatism, and a +3 add. Yes, I know you don't see it, aren't progressives grand? Oh, and I'm homovisual, of course."

A young man in his early 20's with an almost delicate slimness, curly brown hair and deep, chocolate brown eyes stood up. He bore a striking resemblance to Buddy Holly, right down to his heavy, black horn-rim frames encasing lenses whose power rings seemed to swirl hypnotically into infinity.

"I'm Max and my script is R -8 and a half, L -8 and I have 2 diopters of astigmatism in my right eye and 2 and a half in my left and I'm a homovisual."

Then a fellow in his late 30's, with strawberry blond hair, a sprinkling of freckles and turquoise eyes surrounded by gold-rimmed John Lennon glasses said "I'm Parker, my rx is right -4.00 with .50 astigmatism and left -3.75 with no astigmatism. I'm bivisual."

Next came a woman of about 30 with shoulder-length golden ringlets, a sweet rosy complexion and pale ice-blue eyes behind large, squareish rimless specs with little cut-in but a touch of edge thickness, owing largely to the size of the lenses and the fact that they weren't high index.

"My name is Karen, I'm -3 right and -3.25 left and no astigmatism, so I'm a pure myope" *proud smile* "and a bivisual."

Then "I'm Carl and I don't have any astigmatism either, but I do have 3 and a half diopters of hyperopia in each eye and I'm homovisual." This from a pleasingly plump, teddy bear built young man, a little younger than Karen, with sleek, shiny black hair, creamy smooth, café au lait skin and long-lashed ebony eyes surrounded by what looked like reading glasses (though he wore them throughout the meeting) in a bold blue plastic frame.

"My name is Vanessa" announced a short, fine-featured woman of around 40 with long auburn hair and brilliant green eyes, which looked huge behind glowing lenses with a clear-cut bifocal line clean across in round tortoise shell frames.

She continued "I have enough astigmatism to make up for both of you: 3 D in my right eye and 3.25 left plus a spherical correction of right +4.75, left +5.75 PLUS an add of +2! That's me, plus, plus, plus! But I like it, in fact I like it so much I'm homovisual. So, new girl, what's your story?" Vanessa asked the tall, curvy girl, even younger than Max, with long dark blonde hair with lighter streaks and dark blue eyes that were sharp but tiny behind lenses even thicker than Ron's, but with their thickness partly concealed by a chunky, funky plastic oval frame, in a deep burgundy red, of all colors.

Slowly, the young blonde stood.

"Hi, uh, everyone. My name is Julie and I, uh just want to say that I, uh, I'm a little scared here. I mean, you grow up seeing "normal" couples, one nearsighted partner and one farsighted one, all around and from the time you were little people would point out little kids with plus glasses to you and say "Wouldn't Billy or Joey or whoever make a nice boyfriend?"

Her voice, at first soft and timid, grew stronger as she unburdened years of feeling misunderstood and oppressed.

"At school, church, in our families it's constantly drilled into us how myopes are better at some things, like reading, while hyperopes are better at some, like driving, so it's natural and right for a myope and a hyperope to marry and unnatural and wrong for myopes to love each other. But it's me" *Big Sigh* "I'm a myope who likes other myopes. My name is Julie and I'm a homovisual. Oh, and my script is -12.25 both eyes with a half diopter of astigmatism both eyes."

"Hi, Julie!" said the group.

"I know that took a lot of courage. By the way congratulations on being the most nearsighted person here. I guess now I'll just have to settle for being the most nearsighted man." said Ron. "But, you know, all those people who get carried away telling us how "unnatural" our feelings are, seem to have forgotten how recent the idea of pairing off by refractive status is. Why, it hasn't been that long since the myth of emmetropia was revealed. At one time, it wasn't known that everyone is either manifestly or latently hyperopic or myopic or at least astigmatic, however slightly, that a "perfect" eye is purely theoretical. I think, if we want to examine the subject, let's not ask "Why are some people attracted to their own kind?" but rather "What are the fundamental differences between hyperopes and myopes? What unique attractions does each have that the other does not (regardless of what the status of the person feeling the attraction is)?" Does anyone have any thoughts on this?"

"Well" said Vanessa "I've always heard that "Because plus-wearers tend to be older while minus-wearers tend to be younger, hyperopes represent the wisdom and stability of maturity, while myopes represent the openness and fertility of youth". "But then, what about Max, whose wife is twice his age and triple his minus diopters? Or Carl, who laments how hard it is to find young, homovisual hyperope girls?“

Max offered his pet theory:

"Since myopes tend to be more dependant on their glasses than hyperopes, myopes symbolize submissive, "feminine" energy, which explains why men are attracted to myopic women". But that doesn't explain why Max's wife was attracted to him, nor does it explain Karen's situation as a bivisual and bisexual myope, who loves women of both optical persuasions but can only feel turned on by a man if he's a high myope.“

Julie jumped back in:

"I think with me it has a lot to do with the fact that I love being nearsighted myself, so it just seems the most comfortable and natural thing to me to take what I like best about myself and cherish it in others. It's like, I was watching this talk show once and they had a lesbian on there who said "I love women because I admire the beauty in the bodies and hearts and minds of all women (including myself). It's not just about who I sleep with, it's about building my life around women, being woman-identified." Now, I'm not gay, but I agree with everything she said if you substitute "myopes" for "women". I think I live a myope-identified life.“

"I feel kind of like that sometimes" said Parker "but then those hyperopes..." *sigh*

"Oh, I know! Don't you just love those huge, magnified eyes looking out at you from behind those softly glowing lenses?" said Vanessa.

"Yeah!" said Carl enthusiastically. "I feel about hyperopes and being farsighted exactly the way Julie feels about being nearsighted. I like hyperopes because I like being hyperopic and I love my glasses because I feel sexy in them because I'm attracted to other people in glasses like mine - it all works together. I just wish I was more farsighted. I mean, right now I can walk into any drugstore and find glasses with my prescription. This is cheap and convenient, of course, but it makes me feel almost like I don't really need them, you know? I wish my script was a little stronger or had some astigmatism or something so I'd have to go to an optician's for my specs. I know, I could do that now, but that's not the same as really needing to, you know?"

"I wish I was more nearsighted, too." said Karen. "I do the best I can to make my lenses look impressive: I ask for low-index material, I wear a rimless style so every bit of thickness shows, I even debated with myself whether to have the lens edges polished or not- on the one hand, it makes them look so pretty and sparkly but on the other hand, the unpolished edges look a little thicker, I think."

Which explained why her lens edges had a "frosted", whitish look, as opposed to the clear, jewel-like glitter that one usually sees on rimless glasses.

"But I don't wish I had astigmatism. I really don't understand it, anyway, all that geometry stuff about light coming to points in different planes or whatever. So I guess it's a good thing I don't have it. Or maybe that is why I don't understand it."

"That's the only thing I'd change about my script, is maybe get rid of the astigmatism" Julie said. "It just seems like an unnecessary complication, especially when it's such a small amount. I've tried having glasses made with just the sphere, but it didn't work for me. It wasn't that I really couldn't see things, it was just that things weren't quite crisp. I like crispness."

Parker said:

"That's how I feel, especially since I only have it in one eye. But I tried the glasses-with-no-cylinder thing, too. Without my glasses things are just kind of too generally blurred to see much difference, but with the no-cylinder-specs, it was like double vision almost. I think only having astigmatism in one eye actually might have made it worse. I had that, what is it called? Ghosting, I had ghosting pretty bad. I know what ya'll mean about wishing you needed stronger lenses, too, and sort of feeling like you look like you don't REALLY need anything at all. I've felt that way, but once I was on vacation and I broke my glasses and didn't have a spare or a copy of my rx with me. I'd just had my eyes checked and gotten a new script, so I didn't want to have to pay for that all over again. So I wound up spending the better part of a week bare-eyed and let me tell you, during that experience it was quite obvious to me that I really do need my glasses! Any of you ever try driving with 4 D of uncorrected myopia?"

Jaws dropped around the room.

"Parker, YOU DIDN'T!" exclaimed Ron.

"Yes, sir, I did" Parker said with more than a hint of pride, enjoying being the center of attention.

"Wow!" said Karen.

"Even I wouldn't try that!" Max cleared his throat, a bit jealous. "I tried that once back when I was about -5 and a half. Didn't get in a wreck or any kind of trouble. When I told my wife about it, she just said "I wonder what it's like to only be -5.50?" kind of wistfully, you know."

"Really, how myopic is she?" Julie asked.

"It's the most amazing thing, really.“ Max answered „She's -22 right and -24 left and she wears myodiscs and she has almost perfect vision with them. Her myopia is almost entirely in her lenses, her retinas are hardly stretched at all, plus she's got no astigmatism. You pure myopes have all the luck."

He gave Karen first a jealous sneer and then a friendly wink to show he didn't mean it.

"The thing that bothers her is being so "blind and helpless" without glasses. I keep trying to tell her it's not that much different for me, especially with my astigmatism, that makes everything at least a little fuzzy no matter how close, but she won't hear it. And she thinks the myodiscs make her look weird. I love her myodiscs, though, in fact I wish I could wear a pair myself. I tried GOC, but I can't seem to stand the contacts for more than a couple hours. Not that I wouldn't do it all over again if I had to, but my eyes were in agony during our wedding. In order for Max and his wife to legally wed, Max had to wear minus contacts under plus glasses so they would look like a "straight" couple (luckily, they lived in one of the few states where it was still not required to have a public pre-marital eye exam done on both parties).

"I don't know that I'd want to wear myodiscs myself, I'm pretty happy with my glasses just as they are, but I do think they're very interesting on other people" said Julie. "But you hardly ever see any. Has anyone else ever met anyone with myodiscs?" she asked.

"I dated a girl,“ said Ron, „a long time ago who was almost -40, but her corrected vision was very poor, she was almost legally blind with glasses, and I'm afraid that is a turn-off for me. I've never personally known anyone else with myodiscs and I can probably count on one hand even the number of people I've just walked by who had them."

"Well, how does this figure - I once had a girlfriend who was nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other!" Karen said. "Doctors tried to pressure her parents into letting them operate to make both eyes the same, said she was "optically ambiguous" , but her parents said "Let's wait till she's old enough to decide herself". She was teased horribly, kids used to say, because she was myopic in her right eye and hyperopic in her left, "I guess you'll have to find a guy with a big right eye and a little left eye!" Of course, they didn't know she was gay, she was tightly closeted, didn't need another thing to get teased about. But she still decided to "stay the way Mother Nature made me" as she said. Very brave girl, she was, but she had other problems. But to me it was the best of both worlds- I could see a cute little tiny eye in a cut-in face and a big, round doe eye in a lens filled with light at the same time! Vanessa, didn't you say your new boyfriend is nearsighted in one eye?"

"Well, technically, he is. But his myopic eye is so lazy it's essentially blind, so he sees like a hyperope and has a plus lens on both sides so he doesn't look lopsided. No offense to those of you who like that sort of thing".

"None taken" Karen said with a smile.

"Well, it looks like our time is up for this week" said Ron. "Good sharing, everyone, and Julie, it was a pleasure to meet you. I hope you come back to next week's meeting."

“I certainly will." she replied. "Hey, Max, next week can you talk a little more about your wife's myodiscs?"

"Sure, Julie.“ said Max. „Like, the other day she was telling me about this time back in high school when she tried to... But like the man said, we're out of time for today, so I guess I'll just have to hold it till next week. Maybe I can get her to tell me some more about it between now and then."

As the group dispersed and went their separate ways, Julie walked out to her car in the parking lot, feeling empowered and no longer so alone, with lots of interesting food for thought running through her head. "Who knows?" she thought. "Maybe one of these days I'll work up the nerve to "come out" outside of this group, to my family and friends." This day was certainly the start of a more honest and interesting phase of Julie's life.

To be continued ....

By All4Eyes, November 2006

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