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Wearing Glasses: Are You Really There or Do I Just Think I Can See You?
by Marjorie Dorfman

Are you one of those who insists that they don't need glasses and that fine print is getting smaller and smaller with each passing day? If you are, read on; that is, if you dare.

Dorothy Parker once said: "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses." Her acerbic pen often betrayed the whole and painful truth, but would her statement be the same, or rather, worth the sum of all of its parts if turned around? Do women make passes at men who wear glasses? It's a moot point, but perhaps the truth is that they would if they could see the men approaching in the first place! I'm one of those who held out until the last moment, swearing to the optometrist that some unknown force was really making the print smaller.

I've been wearing glasses for about ten years now and have long adjusted to whatever stigma is attached to them. I often think about people who have had to wear them all of their lives and never have to adjust from the sudden shift in what I'll call: "youthful status." Glasses have become a symbol of middle age in our culture, despite the machinations of Clark Kent and his ilk to appear intellectual and soft spoken, and the fact that today they come in as many colors as the rainbow. Older eyes need more help for even patriotic causes. Newspapers print the words of politicians because their words sell newspapers. It has nothing to do with who will vote for whom. Words are merely ammunition for the American political gun that always seems to shoot from both sides of the barrel.

The biggest problem presented by my glasses is that I can never find them when I need them. This is true in spite of the fact that they are usually on top of my head or around my neck and that I own FIVE pair, each of which is usually in a different part of my house. They're like the police; ubiquitous until you need them. I don't like to think about how dependent I have become on them. I only need them for reading and yet I am still the not-so-proud owner of one pair that always remains with me in my hand-bag, another that I keep in my office, one in the kitchen, one in the bedroom and still one more in my boyfriend's home in New York City.

I've never worn contact lenses, but they seem to present less of a problem, at least as far as one's personal vanity is concerned. Over the years, they have almost become a fashion statement. I once knew a woman whose eyes changed from black to blue and then to green, depending on her mood and what she was wearing. Frames come in all colors too, but they are always there, like a hangnail or an unwanted blemish.

But in the end if you need them, it's like trying to fight City Hall. The situation might also be compared to turning back the tide if you could see it coming. Like death and taxes, wearing glasses is inevitable for all of us who have eyes. I dread the day my needs expand and I have to have them for distance as well as reading. Will I then be able to find my reading glasses when I need my distance glasses? Will both pair fit comfortably on top of my head at the same time? Will I have to coordinate their cases with my wardrobe and will I need different colors to tell them apart? (If I can't see, what's the difference?)

What if my memory goes as well as my sight? I can't find my extra pairs of glasses now and my mind is more or less intact. All in all, the picture is grim and not growing older seems the best solution. Does anybody out there know if Ponce DeLeon still has information on the Fountain of Youth? Could he still be listed in the phone book? If he is, please help me find my glasses because I can't read the fine print without them!

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