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Scream Sexy: Peter Buys New Glasses
Peter Tatara - March 24, 2009

I think I've made a terrible mistake. I went shopping over the weekend for new glasses, and while I went into the process wanting something bold and powerful, now that it's done, I'm feeling kind of ridiculous and powerless.

The last time I got glasses was two years ago. It was from a little place in Union Square with maybe 50 frames to choose from. Now, I grew up in the suburbs and am used to barn-sized eyeglass chains, so shopping for glasses in Manhattan was a jarring experience. Instead of 50,000 frames I could see myself wearing, there was now less than a dozen. Actually, less than that, as with my vision plan, I could only afford a quarter of them. Nonetheless, I picked out a pair that was decent and didn't make too big of a statement. And I hated it.

I've always hated my glasses. Going back to my youth, all my glasses -- like all my haircuts -- have brought me only endless second guessing, self-doubt, and a pitifully poor body image. So, two years ago, to attempt to break this cycle, I brought my girlfriend with me to go glasses shopping. She'd be looking at them every day, and she wants me to look good, right? So, she sat with me as we went through the frames. What did she contribute? I don't want to be here. I don't care what you get. It doesn't matter to me. Just pick something! I was pretty taken aback by her lack of support and have told her that she earnestly hurt me that day. Her reaction whenever I recount this story is a roll of her eyes and flip of her middle finger.

So, here we are, two years later. Time for new glasses. I, wanting a warehouse of frames, did some research and learned that there were LensCrafters, Pearle Visions, and the like in Manhattan, but this joy was short-lived as I summarily discovered my vision plan didn't cover these chains. The plan claims this is to assure we get the best service, but I've gotta guess that's hogwash, and the chains simply ain't going to play by my insurance's rules.) Some more Google got me to a short list of recommended stores that accepted my plan, and I made an appointment with Manhattan Eyeworks -- the one which sounded least likely to inadvertently blind me during an exam. Sorry, Budget Eyeglass Depot.

I recruited my girlfriend to go with me again and begged her to participate in the process this time. She said she would, and to lock her in, I bribed her with a launch at Momofuku. Lunch was good. Hell, lunch was great. I got ginger scallion noodles, and my girlfriend went with a bowl of pork ramen. We shared a spiced horchata, too. I was then tempted to go with some shiitake mushroom buns, but the waitress -- awesomely inferring that I was a vegetarian because of my noodle selection -- let me know there was meat in the shiitake buns. She let me know that it was hidden, and I'd never know if she didn't tell me, but she wanted to make sure I was cool with it. I wasn't. I was, though, cool giving her a very nice tip. Oh, here's an odd fact. Momofuku doesn't serve tea or any hot beverages at all. They do, though, have RC Cola.

With lunch over, we headed to Manhattan Eyeworks. I was immediately greeted by some friendly faces and an exciting display of rimless frames. Beyond them, though, I was a bit crestfallen by the total selection, again not a metric ton of eyeglasses. C'est la vie. The exam went smoothly, quick and with a soft-spoken doctor whose voice was always on the verge of dissolving into the Wagner blaring in the background of his office. Once back out front, it was time to pick my frames. As I alluded to previously, I wasn't here to pick the same, old, safe glasses. No, I wasn't going to be content with some milquetoast frames fully covered by my plan. This time, I wanted something that screamed stylish and sexy, something that would get the girls' heads turning and my own girlfriend, fearing I might stray because of my newfound magnetism, putting out on more than two occasions each calendar year. Could glasses actually do this? I hoped to God so and was willing to throw a lot of dough at a pair that promised it. My unhappiness in the bedroom aside, I'd be wearing these things every day for the next 24 months, and they'd be a large part of first and any impressions. So, I should want to invest in them.

I asked my girlfriend what pairs she had eyed while I was getting my checkup. She made the same noises as last time and then tepidly threw a finger at a random frame. I love you, too, honey.

I shook my head and asked one of the workers for his advice. Quickly, very quickly, he had me in a chair and, with octopus-like arms, a flurry of frames on my face. He along with another worker giddily threw glasses I could never, ever fathom wearing on me. And, you know what? I liked them. I trusted them. This is what they do. This is what they know. While, sure, they were steering me toward more expensive pairs, they knew they couldn't make me look too stupid or I'd never be back. At various points, my girlfriend tangentially made a comment or two, but she wasn't part of the decision-making process, but neither was I. The two fashion gremlins were calling the shots, and before I knew it, I plunked down half a grand on a pair of fierce Mikado frames and some fancy pants lenses that I'm not even going to pretend to understand. I signed the receipt, was told they'd have the glasses ready in a week, and then I was out of the store.

Walking home, my girlfriend, sensing she completely let me down inside, chirped about how she loved me and that my glasses didn't matter. Cute, and sure, she tried a bit to be involved this year when last time out she flatly refused. But if she doesn't care what I look like and says it's nothing else, either, what's with the total absence of nookie? Maybe she's a lesbian. I wouldn't have a problem with that. I'd just want to watch.

After 20 minutes of imagining my girlfriend making out with another chick, I set to wondering that the fuck my new glasses looked like. I didn't know. Apart from the color, I couldn't recall a thing about them. No, I couldn't even remember the color of the frames. There were some obtuse angles that I didn't really like and the lenses were too long. Fuck! Why'd I get them? I got to wondering if I'd made a terrible mistake. Could I wear these to formal occasions? Weddings? What if I got laid off? Were they appropriate for a job interview? Jury Duty? Would I look like a dick showing up with them at a funeral? Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!

What's the resolution? I don't know. A week hasn't passed yet. I've never liked my glasses, and if I don't like these, at least it'll be for a different reason. Plus, as I've already spent stupid money on them, what's a little more? If I absolutely can't go out in public in them, there were those elegant rimless frames I saw when I first walked in. I went into Manhattan Eyeworks wanting something that screamed stylish and sexy, and I think that's what I got. I just don't know if I'm going to be stylish and sexy enough to pull them off. I spent some time putting gel in my hair today to work my way up to being the rock star I'll have to be to pull off my glasses for the next two years, and I'll have to get a new wardrobe, too. Maybe snakeskin.

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