“Just buy readers,” my eye doctor advised. “They’re a lot cheaper than a prescription.”
Cheaper, indeed. Sets of five or six pairs of readers can be found on Amazon for $10 or $15. With our Prime membership, I can notice a scratch on my spectacles du jour, spend three minutes on my phone, and two days later, have a brand new assortment of glasses waiting on my doorstep.
This is the exact scenario that led to the box of 13 unusually ugly sets of readers currently sitting on my dresser, as well as the hideous pair resting on my nose as I type.
I decided to change it up, and order a different style. The frame style is actually fairly popular: round lenses with pronounced end pieces, a keyhole bridge. They’re sophisticated and attractive — until I put them on my face.
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It took me a while to form an opinion of them. Are they ugly? So ugly they’re cute? Stylishly nerdy? Funny “ha ha” or funny “eesh”?
I wore them, deriving clues from my family.
My son spied them in the rear-view mirror when I picked him up from school.
“Mom, did you get new glasses? Turn around. Turn around so I can see them.”
“I’m driving, I can’t turn around,” I said.
When he got a full view, he offered his opinion. “They make you look like a bird. An owl. A creaky old owl.” He also uses the word “creaky” to describe the feeling of body aches when he runs a fever. So, not a good thing.
My daughter gushed, “Oooooh! They’re cute!” Although, I mused, she is the kind of girl who might issue a compliment to save feelings.
It was my husband’s reaction that sealed my opinion of my glasses. He offers honest, if understated opinions. A shrug, an “it’s fine,” a “why are you asking me?” all point to fashion choices they may not wow, but don’t offend.
“My new glasses came,” I finally said.
“I see that,” he said.
“So, what do you think?”
He stared. “They’re not great,” he said. See? Understated.
I decided to wow him with my bargain-finding skills. I like to make him guess what I paid for something when the price tag is ridiculously low. “Guess what I paid for them?”
“Hopefully they were free so you can just throw them in the trash.”
I laughed. This was by far the sassiest negative reaction he’s ever had to my appearance.
I did not take them off. In fact, wearing them was suddenly much more entertaining. I knew for certain that they’re dreadful — and there’s something je ne sais quois — about defiantly sporting something unflattering.
This must be how he felt wearing that T-shirt with Dr. Dre’s face, huge on his chest.
What’s the beauty in a lack of beauty? For one thing, if you ask me, it’s hilarious. But there’s something deeper. It’s a reminder that I can be unapologetically whoever I want to. I can do/wear/say what I want. They still love me, talk to me, have my back, and acknowledge me in public — even if I look like a creaky old owl.
Reach Overland Park mom Emily Parnell at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter:@emilyJparnell.