At age eleven, upon witnessing a classmate wearing glasses for the first time, my best friend turned to me and said, "We’re better than he is now." I shook my head in agreement but knew that wasn’t true. The notion that someone is inferior simply because they have less than perfect vision is ludicrous. Mike, our classmate, had not been the first to get glasses nor would he be the last. But he had been thrust into that awkward situation where the teacher directed everyone’s attention towards him because of his new glasses. That must have been extremely embarrassing for him. I had never been particularly concerned about anything related to optical matters until that incident occurred. It triggered something in my psyche and since that day I’ve never been the same. My name is Logan and this is the story of my obsession.
The numbers for adults seemed staggering. Was it true? Did every second person really need glasses? Was that what we as kids should expect as we grew to adulthood? It appeared so. Half of my classmates would wear glasses, ultimately. Driven by that comprehension, I delved into the reasons for their conditions. In other words, why did they need glasses? What was wrong with each person’s eyes? I began to observe that each of them used glasses in very different ways and wore them at different times.
Children were most often intimidated into wearing glasses full time. How many of us have heard a parent say, "I spent a lot of money for those glasses and I want to see you wearing them at all times"? It is as if the parent can only measure their value based upon the amount of use the glasses are given. The habits of adults were significantly divergent, though. Some people wore glasses always. Others kept them on chains around their necks or in pockets to use only when they needed to see at close range. Some removed their glasses to read. Others removed their glasses and wandered about, in places such as the office or classrooms, even when it was obvious they could not see well in the distance. Most of the older adults used bifocal or trifocal lenses, though I had seen them on younger people on rare occasions. It was apparent that there were many kinds of visual conditions and people responded to each in very diverse ways. It was also the reason why each person’s eyes could look very dissimilar behind the lenses. I even encountered a few individuals whose two eyes did not seem to match each other.
What I quickly surmised is that in spite of their shared need for eyewear, almost all people who required visual assistance functioned normally most of the time. Despite the differing conditions each of them did not share, eyeglasses resolved their problems somewhat equally. Granted, glasses required extra care and effort but they obviously were not a total hindrance. It seemed that glasses created more solutions than restrictions. So, what was it that gave my friend the impression that he was superior for that reason alone? Because he didn’t wear glasses, was he a smarter student? Did he think he was more attractive? Was he a better athlete? What was it that he was actually better at doing simply because he did not wear glasses? I could think of nothing. And the only difference I had seen in our friend, Mike, was that he now wore glasses. He did everything else about the same as before. I hoped that wearing them would help him do some activities better.
Notably, there were a few professions that required perfect vision such as being a military pilot or an astronaut. Beyond those few exceptions, however, there seemed to be little reason to be concerned about being left out. Did a lot of people share the opinion of my friend? In time I learned that some did. But I also learned that others didn’t. Most people were more like I had been. They didn’t care too much about it. It occurred to me that in certain ways, people who were visually impaired may actually be unique. It was not something they could control and the only way to resolve their problem was to wear corrective lenses. They deserved empathy. They dealt with the unmerited dependency as well as the unjustifiable opinions of people like my friend. The rest of us were more fortunate. Despite my feelings of compassion, however, I had reached a keen awareness of a stark realization. I, too, could become part of the fifty percent that needed glasses. As I grew older, would I join that half at some point? The odds were good. A fifty/fifty chance seemed incredibly frightening to me.
That revelation added a new element to my search. Why did I fear that possibility so greatly? Was I really afraid of not being able to see well? I didn’t know that sensation. The closest experience I’d had was when looking through water while swimming. It was too temporary to be scary. No one can see well underwater without a mask. So, was it the fear of being imperfect? Quite possibly; at that age, just being different is a major concern. Most of us deal poorly with peer pressure. I had never been especially popular at school but I didn’t want to be considered defective, either. If thought of as an imperfection, one thing is certain. Glasses can’t be missed. They are probably more obvious than anything else short of having a disfigurement. For a child they require extra care and unwanted effort. But worst of all is their perceptibility. No matter how hard you try, you can’t hide your face. The idea of being singled out and having all attention directed towards me, as the teacher had done to Mike, seemed especially terrifying. I was particularly worried by the thought of what it would feel like having to wear glasses in public for the first time. And yet, since I had perfect vision my fears were unwarranted.
One evening I came across Ellis, a neighbor who lived nearby. He was wearing those goofy cardboard sunglasses having just returned from an eye exam. Finding that he needed glasses, he had willingly picked frames that were the color "Gunsmoke" which happened to be the name of a very popular TV show at that time. Even at that young age, it occurred to me that the color of his glasses was a fairly shrewd marketing plan geared towards the interests of young boys. Sure enough, within days, Ellis was wearing his new glasses that were a translucent color of brownish gray. They looked remarkably similar to the ones that Mike had gotten just months before. Ellis seemed satisfied with his state of affairs. I never considered his lack of alternatives. At that age he had no other choice but to accept his fate. Doctors, parents, and teachers would coerce in tandem to make sure of that. Selfishly, I was thankful that it happened to him rather than me. I didn’t want Ellis to suffer because of his unfortunate circumstances but I didn’t want to trade places with him, either. I knew that the next day at school, at least one teacher and a dozen kids would be happy to draw attention to his new development.
With the onset of puberty, I acquired more curiosity and interest in the opposite sex. Unlike many boys, I had never found girls to be distasteful. Some had been great friends and playmates. But suddenly, I was feeling chemical reactions within my body that seemed to urge me into doing strange and unusual acts. I found new reasons to enjoy friendships with girls. The term playmate had definitely taken on a new meaning. Like everyone, there were certain assets that I found favorable.
I listened when my buddies discussed their preferences. For very different reasons I often liked some of the same girls. As I gained more insight, I realized that eyes were the first characteristic I noticed. A pair of eyes wearing glasses was the best. It wasn’t the only facet I favored, not by far, but it was the most desirable. I eventually worked my way down to check her legs especially when she was wearing a short skirt. But in a group, a girl with glasses caught my attention before all others. In a crowd, I spotted the girls wearing glasses. It’s not something that I could explain and it certainly wasn’t anything that I wanted to share in discussions. Though it didn’t seem normal, it certainly felt good. I knew of no one else that had a mutual experience. At least they never spoke of it. They talked about a girl’s breasts or her hips. I spotted her glasses. Was I the only person with that perception?
My fascination at first was simply over the vast array of frame choices. It was almost overwhelming. I found the colors, shapes, materials, and textures to be remarkable. I slowly learned that those factors added considerably to the appeal. Frames that looked exceptional on one girl might appear awkward on others. I soon acknowledged that styles were driven by fashion and were constantly changing just like clothing, television shows, and popular music. Sometimes, what had been old became new again. Technology continuously improved. But most significantly, I recognized that glasses concealed facial flaws. A large nose could seem reduced, narrowly set eyes could appear more normally spaced, thin or colorless eyebrows could go unnoticed. Skin tone, eye color, and hair color could be enhanced. There were even a couple of girls in my school whose misaligned eyes were straightened when wearing their glasses. Chosen wisely, glasses improved imperfections and helped a pretty face become even prettier.
Honestly, there were some electrifying styles to enjoy in the early 1960s. It was a fabulous time for an observer. Most frames were made of plastic and the ones for girls were distinctly feminine. Cat-eyes were very popular but were by no means the only shape worn. And, colors ran the gamut. Black, brown, and tortoise were common but so were brightly colored frames such as white, baby blue, and even pink. Translucent blends and decorative rhinestones were prevalent, too. Frames could vary in size but ones that were large were predominant. It may have been a difficult time for "shrinking violets" who wanted to remain unnoticed. But it was a wonderful time for girls with a sense of adventure that wanted to be bold. I enjoyed their unique selections.
Appreciation of the lenses, however, is what separates an optical obsessive from a casual observer. In that time, there were few options regarding lenses. Since most were still made from glass, they were thick by the standards of today. Almost everyone’s prescription appeared somewhat strong. And before long, I began to recognize the variations. Most girls looked through lenses that seemed to intensify the loveliness of their eyes. The rest had lenses that magnified, exaggerating the radiance of their eyes. Initially, I preferred the look of the former because the eyes of those girls seemed less distorted. The girls with lenses of the latter, however, eventually seemed much more exotic most likely because of the infrequency of a sighting. I had concerns about those exotic eyes, though. Would looking at the sun while wearing their lenses burn their eyes like a magnifying glass? That probably sounds like a rather stupid question but that’s how little I knew. I needed to learn more about everything.
I searched for information at libraries. There, I found factual data in encyclopedias and textbooks. But, it was often related mostly to mathematics and science. There was little that explained the issues I wanted to understand. Then I remembered a "self-help" book at home that was about nothing except the human eye and eyeglasses. In fact, my father had used it to eliminate wearing glasses by practicing the principles of the Bates method. It included diagrams, illustrations, and charts. I read that book from cover to cover and consulted it for years. It became my treasure map.
After reading the book, I understood much more about the mechanics of eyes and lenses. I knew what the difference was in the two lens types that I had identified. I learned the conditions they corrected, too. But I also discovered that there were further lens types and variations to correct additional problems. That explained how glasses helped to correct the crossed eyes of my classmates. The author presented his facts to show that myopic and hyperopic conditions were caused by tension of the eye muscles. The tension, in turn, forced a misshapen eyeball to be improperly focused. Most of this was caused by stress, abuse of the eyes, and their overuse. He even demonstrated how different personality types progressed towards respective conditions. Gregarious, outgoing people often become farsighted while people that were withdrawn and inward often tended towards nearsightedness. His terms for them were hyperopes and myopes. Initially, those tendencies seemed to be somewhat true based upon people that I knew.
The book demonstrated how to prevent and correct visual problems and eliminate the need for glasses. Daily exercises and relaxation techniques were provided to reduce the tension and restore perfect vision. It seemed plausible. There were exercises to relax the neck and back, a meditation technique called "palming" to relax the mind and eyes, a "sunning" technique to build strength in the eyes, and many other exercises. I was skeptical when the author suggested that the best results would be obtained only when glasses were completely discarded. That didn’t seem practical but then I couldn’t know for sure since I had never worn glasses. I had never even tried on someone else’s glasses not even a friend’s. What would it feel like to discard glasses if your vision was less than perfect? For that matter, how did it feel to have blurred vision? Should someone drive a car in that state? Could they function throughout their daily routines?
Unfortunately, the information from that book left me even more afraid of having imperfect eyesight. Being somewhat shy and introverted, it was easy to imagine that I could fit the myopic stereotype. If the teachings of the Bates method were correct in any way, I might become nearsighted. Was it only a matter of time before I should expect visual difficulties to arise? As a preventative measure, should I begin doing the exercises and techniques?
The main point I had learned from the book was that glasses were an unnecessary medical device thrust upon an unwary public by an unscrupulous group of medical practitioners. Once those doctors and other members of that industry got their hooks into someone, that person was destined to a lifetime of "addiction" while the providers raked in their profits. According to the author, glasses were merely a crutch for people who were visually challenged. Those people accepted wearing glasses only because they were too uninformed to question their doctors and not motivated enough to free themselves.
Based on that information, my empathy changed more to feelings of pity for people with imperfect eyesight who had chosen to wear glasses. I thought that they had been cheated from living wholly and without restrictions. As a child, I was searching for answers to the best of my ability. Unfortunately, I had no idea if my main source of information was unbiased and sound. My capability to interpret the information was immature at best. Eventually, I would come to realize that I placed people in their personality categories based on the lens type that they wore, being nearsighted and farsighted. Then I recognized only the personality traits needed for justification. In other words, everyone myopic had to be introverted and everyone hyperopic must be outgoing. Ridiculous, but I hadn’t figured that out yet. For many years, I would wrestle with those misconceptions. When I met a girl at a party that was extroverted and fun, I would wonder how it could be possible that she was wearing glasses for being nearsighted. Conversely, when I saw someone at school that was shy, quiet, and sitting alone in a corner, it was hard to understand why his eyes were magnified behind plus lenses. Those people did not fit the proper character traits. There had to be something I misunderstood or oversimplified.
And in spite of all of this newly found information, I still had no idea as to why I found girls with glasses and visual problems more attractive either. I was only aware that I found those girls to be out of the ordinary. Their visual problems were unfamiliar territory even to other visually impaired people. There was no one that I spoke with that had any real understanding of the issues. The prevailing thought was usually something as pedestrian as "She has bad eyes so she needs glasses". In what way were they bad? I found most girls with glasses to have the most beautiful eyes. There was nothing bad about their eyes other than their inclination to be over or under focused. In fact, I found the contortions those girls made during their unfocused moments to be rather erotic. The descriptive adjectives I would use for them and their eyes would include "mysterious", "interesting", "glamorous", and "sexy". Personally, I thought everything about their eyes was unsurpassed. Nothing put a girl to the top rung faster than to be visually needy. I know that doesn’t sound flattering but it was meant to be. Without doubt, girls wearing glasses even seemed to be more "mature" and "worldly" as though they had seen or experienced events that less challenged girls hadn’t.
Just perusing photos in my yearbooks proved what I meant. There was Rachel who was rather tall and had very dark and distinctive features. Wearing her dark brown frames made her nothing short of sensuous. She had a mystique that was further dramatized by the serious looking lenses that minimized her eyes. And, Connie wore large white cat-eye frames that really accented her brown hair and devilish smile. Her eyes were warm and inviting. Joy was rather odd looking. But when she wore her unique dark blue frames, with the lenses enlarging her deep brown eyes, the only thing I could fixate on . . . . . well, was her eyes. One of the prettiest girls in my school was Paula, a cheerleader one grade older than me. Her subtle yet gorgeous small-sized black cat-eyes were exquisite. She was living proof that boys made passes at girls who wore glasses. Best of all was Ellen. She was the type of girl who was quietly attractive. Her light gray translucent frames were gender benders. They almost looked masculine like boys’ glasses yet somehow were the most feminine of all. Her eyes danced behind those glossy lenses.
All of those girls were so appealing. I knew that they were, in fact, more "mature" and "worldly" simply because they had accepted in an adult manner to correct their visual troubles. It surely had not been easy for them. Had they been fraught with disappointment when they were told they needed glasses? Or was it possible they were inspired with the good news of that expectation? I would have loved to have known their private stories. Were they overwrought with fear the first time they had to be seen with glasses? Maybe they possessed the confidence to wear them worry free. Perhaps the prospect of needing glasses was only terrifying to me, personally, and not so much to them.
As I became more intrigued, I began to wonder. Could I put myself their place? What was it like for them to need glasses? How did it feel? Could they feel attractive wearing something like that on their faces? Did they feel as sexy as they looked while seeing through lenses? Did they understand what they were doing to growing boys like me who were generously producing male hormones?
Since both of my parents had worn glasses at one time, there were pairs discarded in various places around my house. I remembered seeing my dad’s in his nightstand and retrieved them. The color and shape of the tan plastic frames didn’t fit well at all. Worse yet, I could barely see anything at any distance through the thin glass lenses. At least I learned that lenses for correcting farsighted eyes did not work well for mine. For the first time, though, I understood the feeling of being visually impaired. It did not occur to me then that I was experiencing the sensation of being nearsighted. I found my diminished capacity to be arousing. I imagined being a girl with vision that poor and pleasured myself until I reached a climax. That act was very confusing. Was it odd? Was it perverted?
I continued experimenting that way for a while generally after arriving home from school. Though the experience was interesting, not being able to see at all became tiresome. So I searched for more. That’s when I found the most recent pair of glasses that my mom discarded in her dresser. They were a cat-eye shaped metal frame in odd two-toned silver and chocolate brown colors. The moment I put those glasses on, I knew the hunt was over. Though a bit heavy, they fit comfortably on my nose and ears. Most importantly, I could see well through the relatively thick glass lenses. I was surprised by that. I had no understanding of the powers of accommodation. I just knew the lenses seemed strong because I could feel them tug at the muscles in my eyes. Concerned about damaging my vision, I removed them and discovered that I could see about the same with or without the glasses.
I put them back on and the tug quickly returned. Nervously, I waited to find out what would happen. I was too excited to stop. Depth perception made walking and reaching for objects feel a bit off. That didn’t last long, though. Soon the tug at my eyes subsided, too, but I never noticed when. I was too spellbound. I was wearing glasses with a relatively strong prescription without feeling impaired. I would be able to use them while doing activities in the house. Then I realized I could feel what it was like to be a girl wearing glasses and I was aroused by that. The fact that they were a very feminine style made it seem even more perfect. And just that abruptly, I understood that wearing glasses was not anything like my perception had been. It wasn’t painful or distressing in any way. It was rather pleasant, perhaps even soothing.
I started to wear that pair of glasses often when I was alone at home. Since I had no siblings, there were few restrictions because both of my parents worked. That’s when the discoveries began in earnest. Within the confines of my house, I learned about the affects of glare, bright sunlight, viewing lights in the dark, slippage, and the soreness your nose and ears feel. I learned that your peripheral vision is sometimes obscured by the temple pieces. At times you lose perspective of the extra space required about your face similar to forgetting to account for the brim of a hat or the bill of a cap. I discovered, too, that my eyes could easily look past the lenses outside the frames and assumed that would result in an unfocused view if my unaided vision had been unfocused. But, I also found that eventually you get used to all of the inconveniences. Your eyes learn where to look within the frames and your head learns to assist. Together they create "work-arounds" and develop solutions to see past smudges and glare no matter what the obscurity is. I even found cleaning the lenses to feel sensual to my fingers.
Glasses begin to seem reassuring as though they become part of you. And I found seeing through lenses to be exhilarating. The view is more polished and richer. I was overwhelmed by the sensations and I had become consumed. Knowing that the glasses were waiting for me in the dresser drawer became addictive. I could not wait to get home and put them on my face. I knew it might seem like the wrong thing to be doing. But there was no other victim besides me. Was that really so bad? I could only hurt myself. In truth, I could only hurt my eyesight. It was too late, anyway. I couldn’t stop. I was too fixated.
Most baffling of all, since I strongly preferred girls with glasses, was why I was not ready to join them? What did I fear? I completely enjoyed the experience of wearing glasses in private. Why did I feel such anxiety about the mere possibility of the demise of my own eyesight? Was I really bothered by the idea of being seen wearing glasses like so many others? Then it hit me. For years I had been watching friends and classmates suddenly being prescribed to needing glasses. One day they didn’t, the next day they did. Obviously some of them knew it was coming. They had become aware that their vision was inadequate. But that was the thing. There was nothing they could do to stop it. The progression ensues with or without your approval. When you realize your eyesight is no longer perfect, it is already too late. If that happened to me, could I be saved by practicing the methods in the Bates book? Or would I be bound to the commitment of needing glasses like everyone else? Despite my belief in that book, I feared being incurable.
I especially could not understand my feelings of arousal, either. What made the experience of wearing glasses seem so pleasurable and sensual? Was I stimulated by my thoughts of the opposite sex, struggling to see with poor vision, seeing through the lenses, or the pleasant sensations of wearing glasses? Maybe it required combinations of those components? I continued searching for the answers for many years. I was never comfortable enough to discuss those questions with anyone. Not a therapist, not a close friend, not a confidant. It was always my secret obsession.
And I remained very confused about what I thought to be valid. The Bates book had been written by a published authority on vision. His theories seemed to be accurate. Was the author right about glasses being unnecessary? My dad had quit wearing his glasses which provided the proof, correct? Yet my mom had always worn glasses without complaint. I had even heard her comment how she felt lucky to have glasses. They allowed her to see normally and to be able to do most anything without limitations. Using her point of view, could glasses be nothing more than a legitimate medical device to correct known problems of the human eye? Was the answer that simple?
I was unable to resolve the divergent schools of thought; the one most everyone believed and the one that I wanted to believe. I leaned towards the theories of the author but was glad to have perfect vision. I really didn’t have to choose a side. Sure, I obsessed about visual correction for others but not for me. I didn’t want to be recognized or "singled out in class" for wearing glasses. I was unimpaired and uncorrected except of course, in the privacy of my home. But I did notice by the age of thirteen that I was becoming more preoccupied with glasses in general, not just as they related to girls. As the percentages of my classmates increased, I was learning more about the realities of eyewear. I wanted to know more about glasses period; even those for my gender.
Watching girls deal with eyeglasses had always been an absolute turn on. There were so many things that girls did with them that were nothing short of provocative. Even watching girls without glasses was exciting when they squinted and strained to see. I found myself instigating games with girls just to enjoy those pleasures. I would point out people or objects far away knowing that a girl might be forced to squint. Better yet, was watching her admit defeat and being forced to return her glasses to her face. Best of all was finding a girl that, after squinting profusely, asked to borrow someone else’s glasses. That was sheer bliss. I knew then, that I had found a diamond in the rough. It was only a matter of time before she would join the festivities. The anticipation could be breathtaking. What frames would she choose? What color? How would her lenses look? How often would she wear them?
My favorite sighting occurred when I was on a blind date with a girl named Morgan. She was a gorgeous blond with bluish-green eyes. She was outgoing, self assured, smart, and fun with which to talk. While waiting for our friends outside the theatre after a movie, we were looking at the posters of coming attractions through the windows on the street front. Besides watching the movie, it was one of the few quiet interludes of the entire evening that didn’t include conversation.
After several minutes, Morgan turned and asked, "Can you read the small print on those posters?"
I replied questioningly, "Yes?" thinking she had turned the tables and had given me an impromptu eye test. As proof, I read aloud briefly.
To my delight, my "blind" date responded while squinting liberally, "I think I need glasses. I can’t even read the titles."
Mind you, the posters were not more than six feet away inside the windows. I wondered what she had been staring at during those silent minutes. I supposed she had been straining to read. How had she watched the movie successfully? We didn’t sit near the front as she had never asked. She must have peered in frustration in the dark during the entire show. I was sorry I had missed that. I would gladly have "offered assistance" in some way. Due to an age difference at the time, we never dated again and I completely lost track of her since we went to different schools. I dreamed of Morgan’s pretty face wearing new glasses for months . . . . . no, years.
At that time, few people could afford the cost and complications of contact lenses. That was especially true for preteens and young teens because of the unwillingness of their parents to commit. The only option was hard lenses which were difficult to use and not considered totally safe and practical for physical activities such as sports. Rachael, the tall dark beauty, was the only person I knew at the time that got contacts in junior high school. What a shame. I didn’t see her wearing glasses again until after we graduated from high school. There were no surgical procedures for vision correction back then, either. Discussions of that weren’t even on the horizon. When it was determined that someone needed corrective lenses, it was a life sentence. From then on the only options were to wear glasses or contact lenses, expectedly forever.
Glasses for boys were more functional than stylish. There was variation but seldom flamboyance. Though mostly plastic like the frames for girls, the color range was conservative; black, dark brown, and translucent grays and charcoals. I began to take more interest in the glasses of guys I knew. By that time there were a lot of them that had surrendered to reliance. Their percentages were increasing as we strode towards adulthood. My statistical assumptions were proving to be relatively correct. And, some of the most popular guys at my school wore glasses. Most of them looked fairly stylish, too. They were still popular, had friends and a good number of them played sports. But most importantly they still had girlfriends so wearing glasses hadn’t completely ruined their social lives. A lot of my friends, too, seemed comfortable in their specs. How did they do that? How did they accept something that was life altering without question or concern? I had an unreasonable fear of that finality; the life sentence; the submission to being broken. They simply chose a nice pair of frames and went about their business. No worries. To them, glasses were nothing more than the solution to remedy a fixable problem.
I’ve never been able to understand why some of us can consent to the idea of wearing glasses without fear while others fight it kicking and screaming. Like my mom, some are perfectly happy with acceptance. There are ones that even wish and hope to wear glasses. But like my dad, others will do anything to avoid that outcome. They will struggle to see without using their glasses. They will choose to endure the many inconveniences of using contact lenses at all times of the day and for all activities. Worst of all, in the present day, they will submit to having surgery done to their eyes. I find all of that incredibly amazing especially the surgery. Is it vanity? Are eyeglasses really such a nuisance? How does one reach the point of gambling with their eyesight over all else?
I know there is some middle ground. It is not all black and white. But there are risks involved when placing pieces of plastic directly on the cornea of the eyes. There are even greater risks to having surgery of any kind. And honestly, everyone must face the reality of wearing eyewear at some point in their life if they live long enough. Everyone will become presbyopic sooner or later. Even those that have corrective surgery still must face presbyopia and will have to use either reading glasses or some form of monovision. For older people, I guess they fear the statement that glasses make them look older. Never mind that most of them already look old. Young people seem to fear that glasses make them look too imperfect. Never mind that no one is perfect. But when we are young, we do have a tendency to believe that some people are. We all wish to be perfect in some way.
As I continued learning about optical matters, I became keenly aware of the implication that vision conditions might be hereditary. That was something that had not been addressed in the Bates book. If that was factual, both of my parents wore glasses. Strike one. My dad had recently succumbed to wearing them again, having given up his fight to "see without glasses". That began to worry me. Was it time for me to reverse my thinking of what I had learned from that obtuse book and accept what was considered to be common knowledge within the medical community? Obviously my dad had chosen that path. And I realized that the myopia gene existed fervently in my family’s genetic makeup. Almost all of my cousins were nearsighted as were most of my aunts and uncles. I had done the math. On both sides of my family, seventeen of nineteen cousins were myopic. Strike two. I even had two uncles that had eyesight so severely poor that both had attended special needs schools for the blind. Strike three! I began to consider that there was a strong possibility that there was a likely chance that I would be a candidate before I reached adulthood. I still passed eye tests without difficulty, though. There was hope. I still had two cousins that were not myopic. I feared the worst. Yet, I could not make myself prepare for that inevitability just in case.
Toward the latter years of that decade, the styles of glasses became more subtle and arguably more attractive. It also seemed that wearing glasses had become more acceptable. Glasses were starting to be a smarter and trendier item with fewer stigmas attached. Frames were lighter and smaller. Bright colors went out of fashion but the textures and quality of the materials improved and looked richer. Blacks were glossier. Browns melded with oranges to create tortoise styles that looked more vivid. Wire rimmed frames came back into vogue but were available in a multitude of shapes. Plastic lenses were on the market making glasses with strong prescriptions lighter and more comfortable.
I had really begun to appreciate lenses. Though plastics had become more common, the CR-39 was not especially thinner than glass. It was lighter and perhaps safer since it would not shatter. But, it also required more care since it would scratch. Plastic lenses also aged and discolored. I swear, even as an observer, you could tell that glass lenses were clearer and had more luster. However, plastic allowed tints to be used for more than just dark sunglasses lenses. Slight tints for comfort and fashion were being made. It was at this time that I really started to notice how sexy lenses could look. I liked their sheen. I liked the way lenses were set in frames. I enjoyed seeing the magnification or the minimization produced and imagined how that would feel if it corrected my focus. I loved the distortion that was created particularly when viewed at an angle. I was fascinated by how the distortion changed when put into different shaped frames. I especially loved the focused view of looking through a girl’s lenses from behind. Doing that made me feel privileged as though I was getting to observe the outlook of the world from her eyes.
By the time I reached age fourteen, my mom had discarded another pair of glasses with black plastic frames. They were more delicate, lighter, and had smaller lenses made of plastic. The glasses were far more comfortable to wear than the outdated cat-eyes. The rectangular style was still somewhat feminine. They were trendy, on the other hand, even though the glasses were a few years old. I wore them often and for long periods of time when possible. Though concerned about the possibility of wrecking my vision, I was obsessed beyond reason more than ever. Perhaps, I subconsciously hoped to ruin my eyesight. I would question myself as to what I was doing when not at home. Yet, I couldn’t push myself away from the dresser drawer almost the minute I got home from school or at any other time when my parents were gone. The fascination was gripping and typically led to masturbation. What made wearing eyeglasses transform to sexual arousal?
As several of my closest friends wore glasses by that time, I began to fixate more on what it would be like to wear them myself. What would be the perception of others? Would they view me differently? Would I seem more intelligent or more intellectual or would they think I was a four-eyed dork? I had always been told that I had a nice smile and beautiful eyes. Perhaps glasses would divert attention to those assets. Could I seem more attractive or alluring? Were there girls who were as fixated on eyewear as me? Would they be as fixated on me as I was on members of their gender that wore glasses? How would I know them? How could I meet them? Would they be brave enough to reveal their feelings? I wasn’t, not really. Would they be the ones wearing glasses? I didn’t. Unfortunately, there was no one to answer my questions.
My imagination ran wild when I considered the physical aspects of wearing glasses. Not only to be seen, but to see. How does that kind of dependence feel? Would it seem amazing or frightening? How would it feel to have complete focus at one instant and be completely unfocused the next all by the simple act of removing glasses? I got a hint of that feeling from the opposite direction when I used my dad’s discarded glasses. But, how does it feel to put glasses on to create the relief? When your vision is inadequate, does squinting really help? Were there girls that would be driven mad by the sight of that? If so, I wanted to be one of those guys. That’s right. I had reached a point where I realized that I really wanted to be one of those guys. I wanted to wear glasses. I had come to that realization finally. But, first of all, I didn’t need glasses. And secondly, I still could not imagine myself stepping from the shadows.
One Friday evening my friend, Stephen, left his glasses in my room. I spotted them soon after his mom picked him up with the car. When he called a few minutes later to tell me, he asked me to keep them safely until Sunday. He would pick them up upon our next meeting and use his old ones until then. The safest place I could find was on my face. I wore his black horn-rimmed glasses well into the night after my parents went to bed. In my room with the door locked, I watched television quietly and read books and magazines. The glasses were more comfortable than any others I had worn before. Perhaps they just felt right. When I looked into a mirror, I saw how I would look. It was amazing. The glasses appeared ideal on me. I loved that.
I wore Stephen’s glasses as much as possible for the next two days. Taking walks in a large city park nearby, I avoided crowded areas for fear of meeting someone I knew. There was a business district on the other side of the park that included a large bowling alley. It was a perfect place to sit, watch, and pass the hours. I even chanced going into several fast food restaurants to eat. I felt wonderfully different, and yet, no one acted as though I was. I could have worn Stephen’s glasses anywhere because they looked like they were mine. It was the first time I had ever worn glasses in public and outdoors. The sensation left me breathless. I wanted it to last forever. Colors seemed darker and more vivid in the daylight. But what was remarkable was the focus after dark. Lights had a certain concentration with no unfocused rays. I could actually see the source of the glowing portion within each light bulb. The clarity of signs and objects was astonishing at night especially neon. I felt like I could see for miles like I’d never seen before. Not long after that night, I discovered why. I failed a vision test for the first time.
Go to the second part of Logan's obsession