I’ve been wearing specs since I was 8 years old, and yesterday I got what must be my 10th or 12th pair of frames. I hunted through my drawers but could only find a couple of my old pairs to line up for this photo. My brand new pair is at the bottom.
I kind of wish I’d hung onto the entire spectacle archive, as choosing a new pair is always such a fraught undertaking, and often coincides with other changes in my life.
I remember the horror, as a very short-sighted 15 year old, of picking up my new frames, which had looked so hip and cool when I peered at myself, inches away from the optomitrest’s mirror, but once my thick bottle-bottom lenses had been installed, made me look like just the loveless nerd I knew I was. My parents were merciful enough to put me out of my teenage misery not long after with a pair of contact lenses.
Also missing from this archive is the pair of specs with dried blood between the lenses and frames. I’ve always had a bit of a horror of being in dangerous situation and losing my glasses. The day when a car hit me from behind, smashing my head through the windscreen, and landing the bleeding me on the laps of the driver and passenger, my glasses did come off, but they landed on my chest, unbroken, so I was able to survey the extent of my mangledness with perfect clarity.
Missing, too, are the frames I bought in Singapore airport, with uncharacteristic decisiveness, as well as my tortoiseshell pair from the ’80s, which would (I like to imagine) be awfully hip these days.
Included in this lineup is one pair of specs that never made it onto my face in a serious way – the result of a rash internet purchase. My decision to buy the vintage Dutch frames second from the bottom, was based on having Photoshopped the frames onto a photo of my face, as well as some encouragement from Twitter friends. I won’t be doing that again soon.
Anyway, in commemoration of all my glasses along the way, and my lifetime of peering dubiously at myself while trying to pick my latest fashionable prosthetic device, I made this little eye chart illustration: