I’d known for a long time. At least since I was eleven. Well, that’s when I realized anyway. All those years I spent flipping to the vision section in the school health books, turning to the page marked “eye exam” in my older brother’s driver’s manual. I was fascinated by glasses and vision. The school eye exams always thrilled me in some strange, guilty way. I had perfect vision but watching who squirmed, who squinted and who knew the inevitable was coming sent chills down my spine and a flutter to my stomach. Incidently, about the time I was consciously realizing my fascination with glasses, my hormones also began raging and I started noticing boys. More specifically, I started noticing boys with glasses.
Over the years, in high school and college and after I dated plenty of guys with glasses. Not exclusively, but enough that another glasses fetishist would have picked up on the pattern. In that time I learned a lot about lenses and glasses and visual acuity. There was Joe, the myope who swore by his day and night contacts but took them out the minute he was home, Travis, a low myope who wore his glasses all the time, Mike, the hyperope literature major whose big blue eyes were magnified his +4 lenses and a handful of others. Some were great guys, some were jerks but in any case, by my late twenties I was single and enjoying life. I could spot a contact lens in an eye a mile off, if not actually seeing it floating on the eye than by the telltale blinking and eye rubbing. I flirted mercilessly with bespectacled guys in bars, at the carwash, at the mall, anywhere. So imagine my surprise when I fell for Chris.
Chris was wonderful, gorgeous, tall and well built, blonde hair and electric green eyes. He had a fantastic smile, the kind that screamed orthodontia. Looks aside, he was the most fun guy I had ever met. I met him through a work friend, he was a friend of her roommate’s and on the night we met we talked for four hours. He was smart, articulate, funny and nice. He had a great job in engineering and was ambitious but not too uptight. There was only one problem, he didn’t wear glasses. Or contacts.
The first time I went to his house, I scoured the bathroom for glasses or contact paraphernalia. No luck. There were no signs of contacts in his eyes, no telling red indents on the sides of his nose. Somehow this bothered me less than I thought it would. Chris was just too great of a guy to pass up for something I tried to tell myself was so trivial. Besides, I consoled myself, in ten years or so, he’d be getting presbyopic.
We dated for a year when he asked me to move in with him. I was delighted to be living with someone I loved so much and he made me happier than I ever could have imagined. It wasn’t that my glasses fetish magically disappeared; quite the opposite in fact. It was as strong as ever but I had a pretty active imagination and sometimes I imagined Chris coming home with a great pair of glasses on or reaching for them during a movie or putting them on to drive. Sometimes I still caught myself flirting with guys with glasses but I never let it get any farther than that. I debated telling Chris about my “secret” but decided against it. For as much as I was confident in myself, I was afraid he would think it weird or something and I didn’t want to put him off. Plus, I wasn’t sure myself that it wasn’t a little odd.
Sometimes I swore he was squinting at the sports score in the corner of the tv or at a person across a restaurant but then he’d burst my bubble by reading a bumper sticker from a mile away or identifying a road sign from some great distance and I’d know that the squinting was a figment of my imagination, wishful thinking. But I was ok with it, I loved him and I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
Throughout our relationship, Chris was occasionally out of town for work. Sometimes it was for a week or two, sometimes for a month but never longer than that. A few months after I moved in, his company got a bid for a three month job. In another time zone. On the other side of the country. Our goodbye was hard but we promised to call each other regularly and I had to remind myself that it was only three months and some people were separated for much longer. After a few days, I began to embrace my independence, watching chick flicks, sprawling out in the bed and taking my time in the bathroom. I missed Chris desperately but we talked on the phone at least once a day and sent cards and emails and that made being apart easier.
One evening about a month into Chris being gone, he called me lamenting that he once again had a terrible headache. He had been complaining that his head ached by the end of the day and now, he added, his eyes were getting bloodshot.
“Have you gone to a doctor?” I asked him finally. All of those years studying eyes and vision had made me a bit of a hypochondriac, after all what if it was something terrible like a neurological problem?
“Actually, I have an appointment on Wednesday. One of the guys I am working with out here, his wife is a nurse in an office close by. He said he had the same problem when he was traveling, just stress and sleeping in a different bed and whatnot.” Chris didn’t sound too concerned so I tried to put any scary medical conditions out of my head.
“Well, I am sure the doctor there will be able to get you something to take care of it.” I was so concerned about some crazy, far off diagnosis that the idea of a vision problem didn’t cross my mind.
I went about my business the next few days, working, dinner with a few friends and the usual weekly errands. I talked to Chris in the days before his appointment but there was no mention of it or his headaches. I was in the car on Wednesday evening when my cell phone rang.
“Hey.” He sounded down. Then I remembered his appointment had been that afternoon.
“Are you ok? How was the doctor? What did he say?” Sometimes I got ahead of myself and fired off four or five questions before Chris could answer but I was envisioning horrible ailments and diseases ravaging my strong, healthy boyfriend.
“It’s nothing serious or anything, but he wants me to see an optometrist to have my eyes checked. He thinks it might be eyestrain from work, you know, the computers and the schematics and everything.”
Whoa. Just like that my heart was racing and I had to slow down considerably to make sure I didn’t slam into the car in front of me. Optometrist? Could this possibly mean what I thought it meant? Could my boyfriend, my sexy gorgeous perfect boyfriend fulfill my glasses-loving fantasies? My breath was short but a million questions were forming in my head, not to mention new fantasies springing to life.
I managed to put a sentence together. “Are you going to see one?”
“Um, yeah. The doctor referred me to a guy in the same building and his office even made the appointment for me. It’s on Monday.”Chris still sounded glum.
“Are you ok?” I asked. “You don’t sound like yourself.”
“I guess. I just don’t know how I feel about getting my eyes checked, I mean what if I end up needing glasses?” He suddenly sounded like a little kid.
I had to put aside my own feelings of crazy, anticipatory glee. First I needed to console my boyfriend and I didn’t want to get my hopes up. “It will be fine, first you have to go to the appointment and see what they say. And if you end up getting glasses,” I paused, preparing to utter a phrase I had dreamed of since I met Chris, “you’ll look really hot with them.”
He grunted. “Maybe it won’t be anything at all, the doctor did say it could just be stress and not enough sleep.”
I hoped not but I couldn’t say so. “Ok, well it will be fine. But maybe you should go so you can get a good night of sleep tonight.”
We hung up with our usual I love yous and my head was in the clouds for the rest of the night. I dreamt of my boyfriend bursting through the door with a sexy pair of specs on. And of me touching them and of how hot he would look naked but for his glasses. I woke up happy.
The next few days I floated around in a fog, trying to stay grounded but every guy I saw with glasses I imagined was Chris. Over the weekend I even wandered through an optical shop looking at frames I thought would suit him. By Sunday night I had to remind myself that he didn’t actually have glasses yet and he may not even need them. But fantasizing was much too fun.
By Monday evening I was giddy. Every time my phone rang I practically dumped out my purse trying to answer it. I was home when Chris actually called. And I could tell as soon as I answered that I wouldn’t have to fantasize anymore.
He sounded terrible, like someone who had just received the worst news of his life. I was kind of surprised, Chris was usually so even-keeled that I never would have guessed something like this would shake him up.
“Well, the optometrist said he wasn’t surprised I was getting headaches. I have some astigmatism, that’s why my eyes were getting so red, and I’m a little bit nearsighted, but not very.”
“That’s not that bad, is it?”I feigned ignorance but inside my heart was fluttering–astigmatism meant he might be more comfortable wearing glasses often.
“He said it wasn’t bad, pretty typical really, but I still have to get glasses. I guess the nearsightedness is so slight it wouldn’t even get a prescription but with the astigmatism, glasses can correct both.”
“How are you doing otherwise?” I could tell Chris needed some gentle words right now.
“I’m fine otherwise, just not thrilled about having to get glasses.”
“Did you already pick out frames?” Oh, how I would have paid to have been there to watch the auto-refractor in front of his eyes and then to help him pick out the perfect glasses.
“Yeah, I got some. They won’t be ready til Wednesday. And I got fitted for some contacts, the optometrist said I might like those sometimes for work like when we are working on a piece of machinery.”
I wasn’t always sure what all Chris did but I knew it involved a lot of diagrams and computer models and some work on heavy machinery used at the airport. But I could understand why contacts may help then–but I was more looking forward to when he’d get home and take them out.
We talked for a bit longer, I tried to be upbeat without being too annoying and as we hung up I reassured my boyfriend that I couldn’t wait to see him and that I bet he was going to look sexy with his glasses. I knew I wasn’t going to change his mind over night, or over the phone for that matter but I had to start somewhere after all.
Over the next several weeks, Chris and I still talked daily. Although he hadn’t warmed to the idea of glasses, he admitted that his headaches were gone but said he didn’t wear them much outside work. The contacts were ok, he said, but after a few hours they kind of got to him and dried his eyes out. I was secretly happy to hear this, I much preferred the idea of him in glasses although I was glad that he had the option of contacts for some times. When he wore them, then I imagined it would be like our little secret, my knowledge that the only thing between him and a blurry headache was two tiny, thin lenses. Inside I was going crazy thinking about when I would finally get to see him in glasses, my deepest fantasy fulfilled.
The weeks went by and as I counted down to Chris’ return, I grew more and more excited. He was to arrive on a Tuesday night and I imagined the airport scene a thousand times in the week leading up to it. He would come out of the gated security area, looking wonderful and tan, smiling when he saw me, his eyes lit up behind rimless glasses, or maybe ovals, or gold wire rims, or maybe brownish wire rims. The possibilities in my head were endless and I enjoyed every single one.
Tuesday finally arrived and I left work a little early, even though his plane wasn’t due in for hours, I wanted to make sure I looked great. I got to the airport early and milled around nervously, I felt like I was waiting for my prom date again. Eventually I saw on an arrival monitor that Chris’ plane had landed and my heart began to race again. So I was disappointed when he came out around the corner out of the gated area with no glasses. Disappointed, but not surprised. We embraced and kissed hard and I took a good look at him. There were no glasses marks but his eyes were a little red and when he blinked and narrowed his eyes at the baggage claim monitor, I knew he wasn’t wearing his contacts either. I was so thrilled to see him though, and somehow knowing that his world wasn’t perfectly in focus made me that much more excited.
The whole ride home we talked and caught up, although we had talked daily on the phone, there was so much more to say in person. I was dying to see his glasses but I managed to hold my tongue until we got home and he had started to unpack.
“Ok,” I started. My heart was fluttering again and I felt weak-kneed. “I want to see your glasses.” Better I figured to just buck up and come right out and say it.
Chris’s expression didn’t change. “Ok.” He took them from his carry-on bag and tossed a black case at me. I opened them as if I was opening a treasure chest. But inside...well, they weren’t the glasses of my fantasies. They were clunky, heavy looking frames that I looked better suited for well, a grandpa or something. But I held out hope, maybe the looked great on Chris.
“Here,” I thrust them at him. “I want to see what they look like on you.”
He looked at me like I was slightly crazy. “You do? Why?”
“I just do.” Still trying to be optimistic, I added, “I bet you look hot.”
“No, I don’t. Not even close.” But he took the glasses from the case and slipped them on somewhat clumsily.
For that moment I wished I was one of those stoic people who could maintain a perfect poker face. But I wasn’t and I knew my expression gave me away. It’s just that the glasses, for as bad as they looked in the case, looked even worse on Chris. His face fell.
“See, I told you. I look ridiculous.” He took them off.
“No, you don’t. Really.” I wanted to make him feel better but I couldn’t lie. Those frames were hideous. But I took them back out of the case, put them on him and kissed him hard. “You could never look ridiculous.”
He looked at me skeptically. Ok, so the frames were bad but the lenses were good, not thick but with that astigmatic correction looked kind of cool. I just needed to convince him to get some other frames.
Over the next few days, I did what I could to encourage Chris, being extra affectionate and flirtatious when he was wearing his glasses. I still didn’t like the frames themselves but they were growing on me a little although he hardly wore them. One night we were seated on the couch flipping channels when we settled on a college basketball game. I was nestled into Chris so I couldn’t see his face but he kept shuffling and moving and wiggling around. So much so that I finally sat up.
“Are you ok?”
“Yeah, just a second.” He stood up and disappeared into the other room, returning a minute later pushing his glasses into place.
It could have been my imagination but I swore he was blushing.
“I couldn’t...um, the tv, well the score, it’s kind of blurry.” He said quickly although I hadn’t said a word. I just smiled to myself. That morning he had been wearing them reading the paper but he took them off when I came out of the bathroom.
He didn’t take them off for the rest of the night and by the time we got to bed, I had indulged in a little too much wine, not so much that I was drunk but enough to make my thoughts flow freely out of my mouth. “Chris,” I cooed when he got in bed.
“I think you look absolutely hot with your glasses on.”
He snorted. “You’re just saying that to be nice like you have been acting all week.”
I sat up and looked right at him. “I am not. I think you look hot. I just think a different pair of frames might be more flattering.”
“Really?” Now I had his attention.
“Yeah, really. I mean, did you just pick those out without looking at them? Because I can think of other styles that would suit your face so much better.” The wine was making me sleepy and I sank down into the pillows.
“Uh, well, actually yeah. I wasn’t in a very good mood when I was picking them out so I just kinda grabbed something.” He sounded sheepish. “Do you really think another pair would look good on me?”
“Yes, I really do.”
“Would you help me pick some out?” He smiled down at me.
“Definitely,” I yawned before drifting off.
The next morning, Chris was up before me and wearing his glasses. I smiled. He wore them all morning and to the optical shop where I had browsed weeks before. For someone who had apparently spent minutes picking out his hideous pair, Chris was extremely picky trying on glasses. We were there for over an hour while he tried on pair after pair, asked my opinion, took them off, tried them on again and finally settled on two pairs, one rimless and the other a pair of brownish wire rims. He looked drop dead gorgeous in both pairs and I told him so. The optical shop was the most trendy and therefore expensive in town and as we left, instructed to return the next day, I commented on the price.
“Yeah, they were kinda expensive but if I’m going to wear them I want to make sure I get good frames.” Chris seemed to be in a better mood than he had been in a while. I paused and grinned when I realized what he had said.
He stopped and stared at me. “What?”
“What you just said. That you wanted good frames if you were going to wear your glasses.” I couldn’t help it, I giggled a little bit. “So does that mean you are going to wear them?”
He blushed for the second time in as many days. “Well, yeah, I probably will. Maybe not all the time but a lot anyway. I hate getting headaches and after being able to see detail without it being fuzzy, the fuzziness gets really annoying when I take them off. Besides,” he smiled at me, “someone keeps telling me how good I look.”
“Well, you do,” I didn’t think the grin on my face could get any bigger.
“And you know,” he went on, “I have to admit, when I picked out that first pair, I didn’t care because I didn’t think I was going to wear them that much. But I almost feel like the astigmatism makes the nearsightedness more noticeable. I keep squinting and I hate that. So yeah, I guess I better get used to wearing them.”
I couldn’t seem to articulate a clear thought so I kissed him hard. This was going to be great.
It was late the next afternoon when the optical shop called to let Chris know his glasses were in. He asked me to come with him to pick them up and I finally got a glimpse of his prescription when the technician, a young looking dark haired girl, brought out his glasses. The slip of paper in the tray with his glasses showed spherical and cylinder correction–only half a diopter for the myopia but a diopter of cylinder in one eye and over a diopter in the other. Part of me couldn’t help but wonder how long he had needed the correction. But alas, he had it now and oh my, did he look gorgeous when the technician slipped each pair on him, the rimless first, then the oblong brown wire rims, to check the fit. He looked around the shop, out the window and finally in the mirror at himself and then back at me. He was smiling almost as much as I was. When he turned to take them off, the technician gave me a wink. She knew.
We went out to dinner that night and then walked around downtown, making the most of a clear spring night. Chris would take his glasses off every once in a while, setting them on the table at dinner and carrying them in his hands on the walk but they were never far from his face and his beautiful green eyes seemed to light up when he put them back on. I was smitten with him all over again. When we got home, we didn’t get much past the door when I started undressing him. It was time to live out some fantasies. And they were even better than I had imagined.