In the popular youtube series Epic Meal Time there is a character named Muscles Glasses because he has muscles and wears glasses. I haven’t any muscles so I am simply glasses.
I wasn’t always glasses though. I only began to wear glasses around the age of 15, about 7 and a half years ago if memory serves. I was having trouble reading the sheet music for my upcoming RCM examinations and decided to get my eyes checked. Turns out my eyes needed correction so I got myself a pair of understated glasses to wear while reading music and anything else that seemed blurry. Here’s my first ever pair.As you can see, they were small, simple, and didn’t make much of a statement. They also bent when I sat on them, were not comfortable on my nose, and had a narrow field of view. After a couple years my eyes had changed and I needed a new pair. I knew what I wanted: I wanted the Elvis Costello glasses, but I didn’t know where to find them. I found some wayfarer sunglasses in a store and asked my optometrist if he could knock the lenses out out of them and make some clear prescription lenses for me. He did just that and the result was these.Only later did I find out that it was an enormous fad and an epic hipster cliché . I also learned later that to deny knowledge of the fad was another epic hipster cliché. The fact remains that I had wayfarer glasses before even ray-ban was manufacturing them. I do despise looking like everyone else, not because I want to be special or different, but because life is more interesting with diversity of opinion, thought, and style. I wish every pair of glasses was unique. When I realized that I was a member of the least exclusive club that eyewear has ever seen, and when I busted my tortoiseshell wayfarers, I started looking for something different. My goal was to keep the general style, after all I liked how my wayfarers looked, but to find something that wasn’t likely to become pervasive. The result was the glasses I wear today.The original glasses were clear with red temples. To ensure no copycats I replaced the original red temples with black. This meant that unless some other obsessive glasses-elitist had created these very same franken-farers, mine would be one of a kind. To this day I have only seen one other person with the same glasses as me and she was at least ninety.
But something happened between my first pair and now. At some point I changed from someone who wears glasses to just glasses. They have morphed into me. Without them I am someone else. It’s not a self imposed identity either. Every time I have gone out without my glasses, people who I have known for years don’t recognize me, people with whom I’ve shared a good part of my life, admittedly only the part where I was wearing the glasses in question. Beyond just being a part of my identity, my particular glasses have defined my identity in various ways. They have been described as making me look nerdy, geeky, stylish, hipsterish, smarter, older, stupider, even professorial.
Now you may say I brought this on myself by trying to be unique, trying not to be another sheep and I take full responsibility. One ought to fight his own preconceptions about others based on their appearance and understand the preconceptions of others based on one’s own. On the whole, I think I can live with being glasses.A coworker very kindly and artfully rendered me in dough and icing and, no surprise, when boiled down to my essence I am glasses. The good news is, people are not their essence. People are rather complicated and surprising. The fun part is finding out just how wrong you were in the first place.
My question to you: what about your appearance leads people to the wrong conclusions about who you are?