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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Color me confused (and frustrated)

OK, here's the deal.  As you know, I'm new to this whole eyeglass-wearing thing.  Not only that, I don't wear my specs all the time... just while reading.  This has raised a bunch of issues that I simply didn't anticipate, and have no idea how to resolve:

Issue # 1: Where to put the glasses when not in use? - When not wearing reading glasses these delicate instruments need to reside safely somewhere.  Where is the best somewhere?  On a librarian chain/lanyard worn around the neck?  Loose in a shirt pocket?  In their case (possibly to be forgotten)?

Issue # 2:  The damned case! -  My glasses came in a big rectangular case that is roughly the size of a coffin.  Even if it did fit in any of my pockets (which it doesn't), did the manufacturer really think I want to schlep around a fancy display case that resembles Fidel Castro's humidor to protect my specs?  I don't feel like having to carry a man-purse just to accommodate my glasses!

I went to every optometrist in a 20 kilometer radius and the smallest cases available seems to be the standard kidney-shaped model that could easily accommodate a large pair of 1970's-era aviator glasses.  Sure, such cases can be shoved (with some effort) into a pants pocket, but the resulting bulge is likely to raise some eyebrows with the ladies... not to mention making one persona non grata in the locker room down at the gym. 

Isn't there a place to buy small, slim eyeglass cases that will protect both my glasses and my dignity?

Issue # 3:  Endless fussing and unconscious fidgeting - Please tell me there will come a point when I will stop inadvertently touching (smudging) my glasses every time I go to rub my eyes. 

Also, I feel like I'm raising my eyebrows so much in an involuntary twitch ( intended, I'm guessing, to get my glasses to settle more comfortably on my nose), that it probably looks like I'm attempting something between a bad Groucho Marx impersonation and a leer.  If I had to look at someone doing this all day long I would probably start to think it was a lewd, interrogative gesture.  I think I need to have a word with my assistant.

Issue # 4: The 'What if' gesture - OK, this isn't so much an issue, but I wanted to mention it anyway.  What's that... you aren't familiar with the 'what if' gesture???  This is one of the big reasons I have envied people with glasses most of my life. 

Picture the following scenario:  A crowded conference room where an important project is being discussed.  There are several armed camps that have taken opposing viewpoints on how best to proceed... and as an impasse looms tempers begin to flare. 

Just then, a bespectacled individual who has remained silent throughout most of the meeting clears his throat for attention.  When people around the table start to turn towards him he casually removes his glasses in a smooth, one-handed gesture (holding them by the bow next to the hinge) and points the extended glasses at the now-attentive crowd while saying "What if...". 

It doesn't matter what comes after that gesture/statement... he has won the point before he even presents his full thesis.  Now that I have glasses I can finally get to be that guy!  :-)

Anyway, feel free to poke fun at #4 all you like, but I really need your help and advice with the first 3 issues.


Posted by David Bogner on February 4, 2007 | Permalink


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David - I think your teenagers have rubbed off on you their anxiety woes. : )

I can't help out here because I don't wear glasses (though, I do have a very cool bi-focal lens in my eye from my cataract surgery) but don't stress out too much. In time you will figure this all out and your only worry will be not turning red the next time you go to the mall to buy sunglasses.

Posted by: jaime | Feb 4, 2007 12:05:42 PM

You'll forget your eyeglasses. You'll leave them in strange places. You'll lose your temper and start thrashing around, looking for them. You'll blame yourself and your self-esteem will suffer. Then you'll begin to take it out on your family.

Avoid all this. Get a good neck chain or cord of the right length and weight for you. When not wearing the glasses, let them sit in your shirt pocket on the chain. Unless your cellphone is already there.

This means you won't be wearing pocketless shirts when reading or working at a desk. Only for sports or yardwork.

For pocketless shirts, you may be tempted to let the glasses swing under your shirt. This won't work.

Also, many eyeglass cases have belt loops. These work for some people. Especially if you're skinny.

Adjusting your eyeglasses: When and if the frame seems bent out of shape, go into any eyeglass store/optometrist and ask for help. They always unbend them for free. All over the world.

Posted by: Fred | Feb 4, 2007 12:11:56 PM

Issue no. 3 will disappear in time. As a permanent "mishkefoffer" I can't give you any advice on nos. 1 and 2, but here are a couple of others you should be prepared for:

No. 5: Whenever you open a hot oven or the lid of a saucepan full of boiling soup, pasta or whatever, your glasses will instantly steam up and you will be effectively blind for a few seconds. Much the same happens when walking outside in the rain, or coming in to a warm building on a cold day but I assume that one won't affect you if they are only for reading.

No. 6: After you get used to wearing glasses, you will find yourself pushing them up your nose every few minutes as they slide down. You will also find yourself doing this while not wearing them, which will make you feel like a right Charlie.

Posted by: Simon | Feb 4, 2007 12:21:58 PM

I am either a glasses or contact lens wearer full time... have trouble finding the bathroom in the middle of the night...even with lights on. So, I am not a great one to help with number one. As for number two, got an amazing pair of Chanel sunglasses...I swear they came in a small suitcase....it is impt to protect your glasses from scratching, so you should have them in something...but I agree that the size and practicality of glasses cases has become laughable.
In the states, I know they have soft, flat (pocket protector-ish, but in some type of fake leather) glasses cases. Ask a relative to send...

And I would recommend the chain idea. My father refuses and wastes amazing chunks of his life searching for his glasses...get a cord instead of a chain if you wish to be less librarian-ish. And with such funky glasses, imagine what the librarian image would throw into the equation for all those who are trying to "figure you out"!! :-)

You will evenually stop touching glasses. If Yonah is anything like my little viking, he will not...you will get greasy finger spots, the imprint of his cheek from an impromptu hug... carry a cloth in your pocket...make sure it's cotton.

#5 from Simon is a real pain. Look away when you open the oven or drain the water from pasta!!

And if your dr has adjusted your glasses correctly, you should never have to push them up your nose unless you are sweating profusely! I never do (this refers to pushing up, not to sweating!)

Good luck rookie!

Posted by: nrg | Feb 4, 2007 12:46:28 PM

Dave, I had the same issues when I was just wearing 'reading' glasses. Fortunately, the case fit nicely in my computer bag (the lesbian purse!) or on the weekends, in their case somewhere near where I'd be reading.
Now that I have bi-focals, I'm thrilled to have the glasses on all the time, as I usually know where they are (the kitchen table at home or on my desk at work) when I'm not wearing them.
I think they'd be ok out of the case and in your shirt pocket when you're going to work.
I have never seen a guy with a chain for their glasses - this option is purely for either librarians or women with big busts so that the glasses end up 'resting' on their shelf!
Good luck.
P.S. when do your readers get to see a picture of you in them?!!!! C'mon..... you KNOW you wanna show 'em off!

Posted by: val | Feb 4, 2007 5:29:34 PM

I have already answered these questions in an earlier post. Before you asked them.

Posted by: Scott Fleming | Feb 4, 2007 5:30:33 PM

I must use reading glasses, and here's my 2 cents: ALWAYS have a spare pair that never leaves the house. Ideally, have three -- one at home, one at work, one for travelling.

Men don't use chains or lanyards -- besides, I have damaged as many glasses having them swing into something when I lean forward or when catching the cord in a gesture and seeing the glasses fly against a wall... or drop out of the shirt pocket when you pick something up... never, ever, pants pockets, of course. When you are walking around with them, put them on your head. Yep.

Pick one or two places to 'set' your glasses at home and at work. Put a felt or velvet-lined cup in each spot there and you can casually dump them in w/o looking around every time or having to close something up. I have one on the way into the kitchen, and one by my computer. OK, and one next to the bed. Have one in the car, too.

Try reading stores, or craft stores, or women's accessories for smaller, thinner cases. Or try the internet! Best case I have ever had was from Japan, and it was covered in a vivid oriental-patterned fabric -- impossible to miss or lose, and the envy of both men and women.

Posted by: Pam | Feb 4, 2007 7:03:48 PM

The time will come when you'll go crazy trying to find your glasses only to realize that you are wearing them.

Eventually you no longer notice them.

Posted by: Jack | Feb 4, 2007 7:18:49 PM

I am blessed with mid-40s vision, which has improved (!) to the point where I need to wear glasses to see beyond 15 feet, but have to take them off to read.

As a teacher, this is therefore a daily dilemma.

I either wear one contact lens and go around as a "bi-cyclops," OR put the glasses down and accept the fact that I will lose them about 4 times a day on average, OR push them up onto the top of my head, like a knight's visor.

Now, I myself would be happy to wear a "leash" on my glasses -- which should prove to you how unfashionable it would be for a manly fellow to wear a glasses leash. One of the reasons I married was so that the missus could steer me clear of such decisions and keep me from looking entirely socially disconnected. I wistfully cast furtive glances at my female and homosexual colleagues, who ALL get to wear glass-leashes, no problem, and am secretly envious.

So I favor the glasses push-up-onto-the-head maneuver.

And now, the main point: not only can you gesture meaningfully and confidently with your glasses (see illustration, link),


you can also try this:

When someone is acting up in a juvenile fashion, you can grasp your glasses by the frame of one lens, and -- while sliding them slightly down the bridge of your nose -- peer OVER the frames of your glasses at the person in question. To be most effective, one should remain silent while doing this, and raise your eyebrows inquiringly in an ironic fashion, as if to say, "Hmm?"

This is why you've been semi-consciously exercising your Groucho muscles.

Posted by: Wrymouth | Feb 4, 2007 8:04:01 PM

I loved my case for my glasses, oh so many years ago. Now I just leave them lying on my dresser shelf, or near my computer at work, on top of my head, or hanging off of my shirt (by hanging one earpiece over the top button of the shirt.

Sadly, what this means, is: I take these modern miracles for granted. Ain't it always the case? :o)

P.S. -- rememeber the advice about glasses shops adjusting your instruments. It is one of the lovlier bits of communal life, like libraries used to be, before all the homeless vagrants moved into the computer carrels.

Posted by: Wrymouth | Feb 4, 2007 8:08:10 PM

Why did I know at the top of this post, that somewhere towards the end of it, you'd unbury your favourite What-if?... scenario?

I recall that last time, I added a link to a video ... but I can't find back the link. Help me out here? :)

About the case - my sleek Calvin Smallish glasses came in quite a handy and sleek case, about the size of a very modern and thus compact car cd-player front panel, so these cases exist.

If all fails...there are crochet glass pouches on Etsy. If the site isn't having one of its annoying blackouts, that is.
On a second thought...maybe that's not the way you should go... :)

Posted by: Account Deleted | Feb 4, 2007 9:27:25 PM

Issue #1: I would never put my glasses on my belt, because assuredly I would then bump into something, or lean on something, and <crack>. Pockets are risky too. Do you carry a backpack or briefcase? Maybe you should start. Then whatever other stuff you may need to carry around can also go in there.

Even at the beginning, I found it much simpler to just wear them most of the time, since they didn't *interfere* with my distance vision. And after many years, my distance vision is beginning to blur slightly, so I actually want them all the time now.

At home, I have to have a certain place for my glasses when I take them off. I'm very scatterbrained, so I MUST put my glasses, my purse, my keys, etc in their special place when not in use, or I'll spend hours of my life searching for them.

Issue #2: I have one like a miniature plastic taco shell, with notches cut for the hinges, then a cloth flap over the top. Smallest I've seen, but I have no idea where it came from. I've seen a lot of cloth or leather cases, but I don't trust them with my knack for damaging things. Hard cases only for this girl.

Issue #3: Fear not, you will get used to them. And you will develop your own personal gesture for pushing them up on your nose. Have you ever noticed, *everybody* who wears glasses has a particular gesture they repeat umpteen million times per day?

I also have two pairs of glasses. I use the cheap ones when there may be a risk of losing them, but they usually turn up eventually. But in the meantime, I can still read.

Posted by: Kiwi the Geek | Feb 4, 2007 10:46:41 PM

Don't put them on a chain, especially if they're expensive. They'll get scratched and broken.

I bought a really good slim case at Specsavers in the UK. Next business trip...?

Posted by: uberimma | Feb 4, 2007 11:02:25 PM

1. Wearing them on a chain is a great idea. Yes, I've seen men wearing glasses on a chain, and no, they aren't gay. (or librarians). It's probably the best solution after cloth cases, where the libraries can get damaged easily.

2. Mine are very thin and rimless. When I put them down somewhere, they blend with the surface, and I am left groping blindly for several minutes (I have terrible vision). Just sayin'. I guess it looks funny.

3. If your glasses are falling down constantly, it's probably a good idea to have them adjusted and save yourself trouble.

4. LOL! I can just imagine... : )

Posted by: Irina | Feb 4, 2007 11:28:47 PM

Heh... Can't help you much on 1 and 2, since I wear 'em all the time. I have seen some very small soft-sided cases in the US that would probably work with your glasses (one end is folded over outside, and part of the curvy earpiece on the 'inside' end pokes out, but the lenses are covered); only issue is that the case isn't hard, so if it gets sit on or whatever, you're out of luck.

For issue 3, there will always be some fidgeting, but you'll get over it soon enough once you 'break in' your glasses and have a comfortable position worked out. As for smudges, there are these great cloths you can buy at pretty much any glasses store that clean glasses of fingerprints/etc. like magic. Keep one in your case or wallet, and you'll be good.

As for 'issue' #4... hehe. I never really thought of it that way, but I'm ashamed to say that I do this. When I'm involved in discussions about complex subjects (mostly experiments gone wrong), I invariably end up taking off my glasses, holding them by the hinge, and gesticulating and I make my (reasoned, I swear!) points.

I honestly don't think it's for the dramatic effect, but rather that glasses (especially higher prescriptions) always cause a very slight headache, and always require the slightest bit of concentration to use. It's something about forcing your eyes to focus, and the weight of the glasses, I think...

Anyways, taking off one's glasses can relieve this little headache while at the same time removing most visual cues (beyond fuzzy people-shapes and the like), allowing one to concentrate on the problem at hand. After all, you don't really need to see much for most discussions... you just need to listen, think, and talk.

So... guilty as charged. Maybe the 'What if' maneuver is why people listen to me. *smiles*

Posted by: matlabfreak | Feb 5, 2007 4:00:55 AM

Oh, also, if you don't need to carry them around for a while, but just need them for occasional reading at a desk or the like, there are these really dorky (yet cute) metal 'noses' that you can put on your desk. It's a great glasses-holder, and looks pretty neat.

Full disclosure: my girlfriend got me one of these in Israel with the inscription:
"Af Echad Eino Kamocha
Beahava, Keren"
(Get it? AF echad...?)

I'm a dork, eh?

Posted by: matlabfreak | Feb 5, 2007 4:05:28 AM

Like a lot of commenters, I wear glasses all the time, so I really can't imagine what the solution is when they're only for reading. My father has several drugstore pairs all over the place and is forever looking for them. Reminds me of my baby and his pacifiers :)

I think the twitching will either go away soon or become a charming quirk! Either way, I had to smile picturing the Groucho/leer.

My take on the glasses chains is that they're akin to tucking slacks into tube socks while cross-country skiing. Hmm . . . wait a minute . . . :)

Did you try the joke on Zahava yet where you look intently at her while wearing the glasses and say, "So THAT'S what you look like?!?!" in total bewilderment?

Enjoy your glasses!

Posted by: RaggedyMom | Feb 5, 2007 4:20:21 AM

I just always lose my glasses.
I could use reading glasses but really only need them for distance, and since I am always on the computer (I work on the computer) I take them off when I work, I take them off when I cook, I take them off when I sew...I take them off so much that quite often I don't remember where I was last when I took them off. What I really need is a beeper on them so I can find them again.

Posted by: Rachel Ann | Feb 5, 2007 4:43:58 PM

For # 3 keep one of those permanent tissue things that optometrists give out. It is an easy way to clean ur glasses, and by not using water each time u actually save on the eventual rust that will acumulate in the nose pieces. As for the obscene gestures, try going into the store and getting the glasses fitted and tightened, when they fit, u wont need to fotz so much

Posted by: Brad | Feb 5, 2007 9:36:33 PM

1) Forget the librarian lanyard. Better to lose your glasses than your self-respect.
2) Where to put reading glasses is not a problem for those of us who wear glasses all the time, but I like the idea of a fannie pack. (Feel free to refer to it as your codpiece).
3) That's another advantage of being a lifelong spec wearer -- ear wiggling. Every second-grader has spent hours trying to wiggle his ears, but we four-eyes had the advantage of actually getting a tangible reward for succeeding, the ability to pull your glasses up your nose without touching them.
4) Ah, here's the downside. Since I can't see squat with my specs, the only thing I could possible be signifying by removing them is, "You are so ugly, I'd rather be blind than have to look at you." So sorry, I've never mastered the skill of using glasses to accentuate a hand gesture. (Though there was this one hand gesture I mastered in third grade that was not such a big hit with Mrs Hershberger, but that's a completely different topic.)

Posted by: Bob | Feb 6, 2007 12:01:40 AM

Best place for reading glasses is on your nose. Really. There is just so much within two feet of your head that requires clear vision that once you get used to constantly wearing the glasses (and get into the habit of peering over them for normal distance viewing), that they'll be an automatic and un-thought about accoutrement. You'll feel naked without them. Albeit somewhat fuzzy.

Posted by: The Back of the Hill | Feb 6, 2007 12:48:51 AM

I need glasses only for clos up work (reading or computer). Anything further than 2 feet is clear for me. I got varilux lenses so that there is no solid line as in bifocals, hence they don't look old-fogey. Since I have them on all the time, I never lose them. The frames are the very light titanium so that even after wearing them 18 hours a day 24/7 there are no marks on my nose from the weight.

Keeping glasses on a chain or on your hairline or in a case and then fumbling with them just to read a few words on a letter is a waste of time. Go for a few hundred dollars. You cannot skimp on convenience.

My glasses weigh less than an eyeglass chain to hold them.

Posted by: bernie | Feb 6, 2007 9:29:05 AM

This is why i love being a woman... i put them in a slender case (purchased online) and throw them *wait for it*... in my purse.


Doesn't help you much, i know. But i have no idea how men deal with such issues. We women? We just get a bigger handbag.

Posted by: mercurial scribe | Feb 7, 2007 12:52:42 AM

I stick my glasses on top of my head (as some people do with sunglasses) or hang them in the collar V of my sweater or shirt. I don't have a case, because I wear mine 90% of the time.

I always have a few packets of disposable lens cleaner wipes from Lenscrafters. They clean off the smudges and don't scratch your lenses. I'm sure there are other brands too, just get something made for lenses - even kleenex will scratch.

I frequently forget where I put them in my apartment and have to mentally retrace my steps. I try to intentionally remember when I put them down.

Posted by: Yehudit | Feb 10, 2007 12:14:03 PM


Haven't tried these, but they look like an innovative solution!

Posted by: Amy Flynn | Feb 10, 2007 3:04:16 PM

I fell your pain, my friend. I just bought THREE new pairs of glasses and I am toting around now 3 "coffin" cases and am trying to figure a way around it. My glasses won't fit into one of those soft cases without scratching, so it's not really an option.
If someone comes up with a solution I'm all ears.
(my plan involves laser correction, but that's around $5,000!)

Posted by: celestial blue | Feb 13, 2007 2:12:21 PM

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