By Dave Barton
By LP Hastings
By Sarah Bennett
By LP Hastings
By Jena Ardell
By Steve Lowery
By R. Scott Moxley
By Joel Beers
Specs of the Devil
The other day, I was asked if the tortoiseshell, plastic-framed eyeglasses I was wearing were real.
I was taken aback: My eyeglasses. The ones with lenses so fucking thick they’ve been known to induce whirling headaches for those who dare to try them on. The ones I avoid wearing in public as much as possible. I had to choke back a biting, assholish response before I assured the gal that they were, indeed, very much real. And that without them, everyone and everything in my world would look like a blob. Short blobs, tall blobs, fat blobs, skinny blobs. Blobs.
A kid I knew in high school ruined his 20/20 vision by insisting on daily wearing of horn-rimmed reading glasses he purchased from Rite Aid. Yes, I laughed.
And then? And then, it got worse: The fake glasses got bigger. Nerdier. More colorful. And widely available. It’s become rare to go anywhere these days—I’m looking at you, Los Angeles and Manhattan—without spotting some obviously unnecessary eyewear on the faces of the late-teen and twentysomething set. All the bad eyewear from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s is cool again—in a self-consciously uncool way. Hot Topic started hawking the faker Rivers Cuomo frames almost 10 years ago, and a rainbow of Wayfarer-inspired frames with plastic lenses is in stores even today—for $9.99. American Apparel—of course—started retailing “vintage eyewear” not too long ago: $65 buys a thick, black, square-lensed pair, à la Spike Lee and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels (. . . or Carrie Donovan). And $75 can get you a pair of oversized plastic aviators with non-prescription lenses, the very kind that engulfed my father’s face in his high-school photographs. Or, to bring this back down to reality, the very kind my friend Daniel got made fun of for wearing in the third grade.
As a person who has to fumble around for her eyeglasses just to see what time it is in the middle of the night and can only hope to afford Lasik one day: Fuck you. Fuck you for wanting to appear visually incapacitated. Fuck you for taking an obnoxious trend to obnoxious ends. And fuck you for making my physical impairment your trend.
The sadly hilarious thing about all this is, you know, complaining and hating everything is all part of the hipster-scum agenda—but I had shitty vision before it was cool.