guy_interrupted's blog

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How a pair of specs turned me into a time traveller

with 16 comments

Image: boy with clock

Like Michael J Fox, but without the car.


I looked in the mirror at the red-eyed quasimodo squinting gunkily back at me and shuddered. Not because of my reflection — I’ve seen myself in worse states — but because I knew what this meant.

Now, before you start branding me a hypochondriac, I’m not so stupid as to think conjunctivitis is a serious condition. Fear of blindness wasn’t responsible for the quiet dread that crept over me as I crossed my bedroom and opened a drawer.

It was the fact that until the infection had cleared, I would have to wear what was sitting inside.

My glasses.

I hate my glasses. They have the ability to instantly transport me back in time to when I was a chubby, gawky kid with no real friends, constantly teased because he never quite fitted in. They were a constant companion right from the age of four, all the way up through my teenage years.

As soon as I put on my glasses, I’m transformed from a confident, strong-willed man, into a shuffling, self-conscious little boy again. I’m once again freezing to death on a school sports field, waiting to be picked last, because nobody wanted to have a kid with glasses on their team.

I have the most invisible pair ever: two frameless bits of glass held together with one piece of wire, with two longer pieces fixing them to my face, but to me they feel gargantuan. It’s like they weigh a ton as well, pulling my head down to my neck so I’ve got no option but to stare at the floor.

Going without them isn’t an option. With both my eyes boasting a prescription of -4.75 (that’s ‘really fucking short-sighted’ for all you non-optical people), I’d be run over before I even made it to the tube station.

At fifteen years old, after bludgeoning my mother into getting me contacts, she relented.

I stood in the bathroom, tongue out, eyelids stretched, fiddling with this slimy little bowl of plastic for ages, because I was damned if I wasn’t going to get this thing in my eye.

When I finally got them in. I looked at myself and burst into tears.

Most people take their own reflection for granted — but I’d never seen my own face clearly in a mirror.

Shuffling round the gym on Tuesday night, looking at all the hot guys with their spec-free gorgeous faces, it felt like I was back on that playground, looking at the bigger boys standing together in a corner, sniggering at me. Their voices shouting, “Oi! Are you that Su Pollard?” and “Look! It’s Timmy Mallett!” echoing round in my head like a cheesy flashback scene from an 80s movie.

Later that night, tired and sore-eyed, I poured out my misery on Twitter and posted a picture of myself as a bottle-ended nobody.

No amount of you-were-adorables or aww-how-cutes were going to make me feel better, until I noticed something: all the lovely folk of Twitter had begun posting photos of their own childhood di-glass-ters.

I suddenly realised just how many of my fellow Tweeters still wore glasses in their profile pictures.

These were gorgeous, confident men and women — proud of their bins. Were they shuffling around in the background, hoping they wouldn’t be noticed? Hell to the no!

The tweet that finally dragged me out of my needless self-pity and made me realise just what an idiot I was being came from @bishbashboshjosh, who said:

Okay, @guy_interruptd campaigns against the stigma about HIV, but needs therapy for wearing glasses?”

Hmm…well, erm…. Yeah. When you put it like that.

So I’ve decided that tomorrow (well, when I get some money anyway) I’m going  to harness my inner geek.

I’m going to take that self-conscious little boy by the hand, march right into Specsavers, (because apparently a lot of people regret not going) and get myself a funky-chunky black pair. I’m going to grab my four-eyed counterpart by the bollocks and be an out and proud speccie.

Well, some of the time, anyway.

The next morning, I dressed in a crisp white shirt and grey suit, and strolled to work with my bespectacled head held high.

Standing at the counter, waiting to pay for my usual breakfast roll, the woman behind it looked up, blinked and said, “Oh! It’s you! I’ve never seen you in your glasses before! You look really handsome.”

“Thanks.” I beamed.

And as I walked out of the cafe, smiling to myself, I thought: Maybe I’ll keep these on for a couple of days after my eyes have cleared up.

You know — just to make sure.

Written by guy_interrupted

January 6, 2011 at 9:47 pm

16 Responses

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  1. Told you last night you looked gorgeous with your glasses on. 🙂

    And yes, I know the feeling… not quite -4.75, but close enough for government work.

    So yeah… give your eyes a rest from the contacts once in a while just to make people take a second look 😉

    Stefan P.

    January 6, 2011 at 9:54 pm

  2. L-4.75 R-5.75 here & the glasses get a public outing once every, oh…never. Instantly transported back to adolescent hell as soon as they go on…
    Maybe it’s time for all of us to face this particular demon head on. Bet loads of gym hotties are secret speccies!


    January 6, 2011 at 10:00 pm

  3. I am getting my glasses at some point next week after visiting the opticians, trying on a millions to pairs to find ones that don’t remind me of my bespectacled past (having not worn then since I was 15 – eye sight getting worse!) so hearing another grown man worry about being “Su Pollard or Timmy Mallet” is quite relieving!!

    When I get my specs – I’ll send ya a pic and we can compare our new framed looks!!!


    January 6, 2011 at 10:13 pm

  4. I wear glasses, and get a hell of lot of compliments when I have them on. It’s all down to picking the right frame for the right face. Lots of people get this soooo wrong and just got for the ‘on-trend’ pair. Not good. The right pair of frames on a guy can look so HOT. Although I can see where you’re coming from because when I do go out on a night or at the weekend, I will put contacts in. Or, if I’ve run out, risk just go out without anything – which is never advisable.

    I would advice maybe going to Vision Express tho. They do have a way better selection than SpecSavers. Or, you could do what I do and find a pair you really like and ask at any opticians if they would order them in for you. There are lots of online sites that provide the serial numbers, sizes, etc, so it’s simple. Costs a little extra but if you’re intended to wear them a lot as in every day, then they kind of pay for themselves really.


    January 6, 2011 at 10:28 pm

  5. I’m a bit moved actually because this is *exactly* me. I hated my glasses, and they were NHS ones when my parents thought I was too young to be self aware enough to care (there is never such an age). As soon as I have glasses on I feel awful, but I’ve been considering conquering this nonsense for a while, at least to give my eyes a break from the contacts. It’s as good as any New Years Resolution.
    Here’s my terrible speccy pic –


    January 6, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    • yet those glasses would now be considered bang on trend, the ‘wayfearer’ style. i actually think they’d still suit you now tbh.


      January 7, 2011 at 8:25 am

  6. For adults certainly glasses can… are now almost a fashionable accessory. For you… a confidant, good looking well known man the history you speak of is now just that. You are known for the person you are, what you have achieved and stand for…which is tremendous. My fella wears glasses mostly and looks great, the times he chooses to use the contacts changes how he looks, and I have to admit it is lovely and sexy. This may seem a trivial matter, but I am glad you have raised it…for some young people, gay kids as much as any it will no doubt been viewed as just another hurdle in life…the more sexy, intelligent role models in life who are happy wearing them … when they wish, the

    Vincent from Belfast

    January 7, 2011 at 8:48 am

  7. I used to feel the same sweetheart when I had to wear my specs instead of my contact lens. Vanity can do some dreadful things, but remember that beauty comes from within not from this false visual world we all live in.

    I remember so well all that you are saying, your confidence grew the day I bought you your first pair of contact lens and you were “glasses free”, but you still didn’t get picked for the football and rugby teams you hated playing sports!!

    I now get a light tint on my specs which somehow makes them feel a bit trendier and don’t mind wearing them one bit because as you get older you realise that people judge you on who you are, not on what you wear on your face!! xxx


    January 7, 2011 at 11:47 am

  8. Glad I could help! x


    January 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm

  9. at -4/-4 I wore glasses from age 12-19 and lenses from 19-29, then at 30 I took the plunge and had laser eye surgery – an absolute revelation.
    I now open my eyes every morning – and can see the alarm clock, I can go clubbing all night (which I frequently have to do for work) and not have to chip my dried lenses off my corneas in the morning, and I can go scuba diving and swimming and open my eyes underwater. Absolute bliss.
    Also on a practical note, as a biker, getting glasses inside a helmet can be a nightmare.
    Having said all that, I actually like glasses and often choose to wear them when suited and booted for certain occasions, and have even been know to snog the face off blokes with a nice set of bins 🙂

    Chris J

    January 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

  10. Great post! I love how you’re able to portray your emotions (past and current) on a blog. I wear glasses now, but never had to before. I wore mine proudly the first day I got them, but not having to deal with mean kids teasing me when I was younger, glasses carried no negative stigma to me. I also think the right glasses make a guy look incredibly sexy, and you look just as handsome and confident in yours.

    It’s good to see you are letting go of what was holding you down, it’s a process but you seem to be going in the right direction.

    I also wear contacts from time to time, mostly when riding my bike since as Chris said, glasses and helmets don’t mix well, but I wear my glasses every day 🙂


    January 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm

  11. Hi=0)
    I may not need glasses but I know how it feels to go back in time just by doing something: to see something, meet someone, or whatever it is.
    To a time, like yours, that was not a pleasant time in my life. No glasses, but a fat fool .. idiot or someone that has dyslexia .. (it depends who you ask.) Still am, I suppose.
    Anyway .. I just wanted to say: glasses would not change who you are..not for a second and after reading your blog .. that person..he seems to be a kind,funny and sweet person and that do alot of good in the world…and there are alot of cute glasses out there..Go try them all and you will find a pair that you just love..=0)


    January 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm

  12. God, my whole family has worn glasses all their lives and I’m the only one who hasn’t… until 28. It’s been four years now and I love them. Men (and women) can look bloody sexy in them. Nothing wrong with Specsavers models… and I get designer pairs for dirt cheap in Hong Kong. Not bad. You should wear them more often. And don’t forget how many ways you can express yourself with them too… a thoughtful gaze into the middle distance while chewing the arms on them usually works.


    January 17, 2011 at 1:02 am

  13. I have to admit – I actually don’t need to wear specs at all, I have 20/20 vision.. but i love the look of them so much, I bought a pair from NY… you know the thick black frame ones that cool geeks (excuse the oxymoron) wear. I’ve had so many compliments since.. but when people ask to try them on to see how they look on.. they realise there is no strength in them and call me a muppet!!

    Well.. maybe I am a muppet for getting something I don’t need but I still love wearing them 😉


    February 21, 2011 at 10:43 pm

  14. You twat. Glasses rock. Hence why all the best people wear em. And thinking that you change just because you have a piece of plastic over your eye or a permanent scar on your nose proving that you wear a picture frame around your vision, is dumb. Although I appreciate that you get morphed back into being that geeky kid that noone liked much in the playground (least the kids didnt hate you so much they would hide your glasses whenever you took em off, and leave needles on your chair for when you failed looking for em and went back to your desk to cry), we’ve all got childhood trauma that needs sorting – sometimes it never does. Just be glad that you are in a position now where you can look back and laugh.

    Oh and if you think -4 is bad, Im -8 in one eye, and -6 in the other. I havent met a person (other than my mother) who has worse sight than me. When friends have asked to try them on, I have successfully made 4 throw up (one of which was drunk anyway), 8 get dizzy, and 1 girl who just stood there like she had been on the waltzers for an hour.



    December 28, 2011 at 5:28 pm

  15. The two most important people in my life (my boyfriend and my Mam) both prefer me in specs!


    January 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm

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