I’ve been wearing glasses for, phew, probably 10 years now. I started with the reading glasses you get in Boots etc and self-tested on the reading card to get the right lenses. Once I got beyond 3x magnification I realised I had better get my eyes tested at the opticians and invest in some proper glasses. By this time I’d developed the habit of wearing the specs for close attention work; reading, using the computer etc, then shoving the glasses to the top of my head to speak to people and so on as I didn’t need the specs for distance viewing. Like this:
But I also developed the habit of taking the glasses off and putting them down – often leaving them somewhere, frequently losing them. This wasn’t such a bad problem when I was paying £10 for the reading glasses, but prescription glasses were considerably more expensive. It didn’t stop me losing them.
I bought my first expensive pair whilst we were on holiday in Miami. I’d not found anything that suited me at home but in Miami there were dozens of glasses shops with limitless choice in frames all offering one hour service to make up the lenses and fitting. Brilliant. I need to try on a lot of frames because most glasses make me look like a cross between Himmler and Bodkin Adams, as my good friend Mike R liked to remind me. But I was able to get some boxey, shallow frames which were a little pricey, looked ok even though they were in two tone green. Bit Timmy Mallett but I liked them.
I lost these within the year at some restaurant. I wore some ridiculous light blue reading glasses for a while then got my next prescription pair in two tone grey. Bit more in keeping with the colour of my remaining hair. I left these in the handicapped loo at work where I’d taken them off to change for an evening do. Of course they weren’t there the next day although there were no users of that loo so far as I knew. Why would anyone nick some glasses which are tailored to your particular eye weakness?
More crap reading glasses for a while then I bought a new pair of specs in black/grey. Now I never lost these glasses but I did seem to drop them a lot and everytime I did, it broke the glasses at the knuckle between the lenses and the arm. So I started to superglue them back together. These glasses went with me when we left for Italy. Over time the specs got mended and re-mended so many times that the glue build-up was starting to look like the specs Jack Duckworth used to wear on Corrie. Eventually even I had to concede that glasses were getting beyong repair.
Realising that it had probably been 5 years since my eyes had been tested, we found an opthalmic optician in one of our local towns in Italy and made an appointment with Dr Barbara. She was lovely but spoke very little English which didn’t really matter during the test. It turned out I needed some stronger lenses. The one thing that differed from the test over in the UK was this yellow stuff that Dr B put in my eyes to dilate the pupils. The dye lasted for 24 hours which made me look even more sinister than usual. Plus it really made it hard to focus – it was like driving with a smear of vaseline over the eyeballs.
Anyway there was no problem with choice of frames. The Italians love accessories and glasses are regarded as serious fashion items. The choice of frames is a real style statement and it’s difficult to find anything in simple black or brown say (not that my previous track record suggested this was likely). Every optical shop seemed to be staffed by beautiful assistants too so of course it was necessary to have a good look round. I was happy to try on every pair they suggested but struggled to make them understand that most of them made me look like a sheep worrier. What is the Italian for that when you need it?
Eventually I found a pair of specs that I kind of liked. The style was quite popular – boxey lenses and big solid arms. All the major brands seemed to favour this style. But they’re the sort of glasses only seen in the UK on Maurice Saatchi. Plus they are bold blue and white in colour. I know it sounds ghastly but they look OK, well they do in Italy where everyone likes the bold statement. Trouble is over in the UK I think they make me look pretty camp.
Ah well, I’m sort of drawn to the Italian nature to be bold with colour. You should have seen the colours of the men’s clothes this summer – it was all lemons, lime greens, dirty orange and vivid pink. You could get any items in these colours and individually one of the colours looks great on the guys here. The tragedy is when the ageing Romeos try the jacket/shirt/chinos/jumper combo with each of the colours. I resisted the temptation to swoop for one of the lime green jackets or lemon coloured chinos all summer but I do fear my English reserve is weakening and I suspect I won’t hold out for much longer. I’ll let you know when I turn into Camp Freddy.
Oh just one more thing on the glasses front. C got a new pair too – hers were also two-tone – in vivid green and purple! I tried them on first and they made me look like a paedo. On C they look great. And her dilated pupils were pretty good too…