The Fancy Dress Party

By ChrisB

The events I am about to relate came about as a result of a party that was cancelled. My wife Gen and I enjoy going to dressing up parties. The participants are really an extended group of friends some of whom have been involved with Amateur Dramatics (Am Dram) over the years and still liked an excuse to dress up. The parties were, I hasten to add, quite innocuous. The dressing up was just dressing up, Vicars and Tarts, Tramps, Pirates, etc.

The party in question was themed as Hollywood Heroes. My wife went to the costume shop in the next town and came back with something from ‘X Men’ and the Darryl Hannah character from ‘Kill Bill’ for herself. All yellow jumpsuit, boots, wig, but most striking of all, the eye patch.

On the appointed night we had just begun to get dressed when the phone rang. It was the host; his wife had gone down with a bug and was crashed out with a temperature of 39. Making polite sympathetic remarks my wife hung up the phone and sat down on the bed. There was silence for a while but eventually she suggested we get a takeaway and a bottle of wine, stay at home and make the best of it. I was starting to struggle out of my costume when she said, “no stay in it darling, I will just throw a coat over my costume and jump into the car, you stay here and open the wine.”

As I heard her car door close, I remembered there was something meant to say to her but couldn’t remember what it was.

30 minutes later she was back, laughing out loud as she carried the boxes of takeaway into the kitchen. “You idiot” she said, “why didn’t you tell me I was still wearing the eye patch when I went out? I always said I could go out with a saucepan on my head and you wouldn’t notice.”

“Did anyone see you?” I enquired, with as much sympathy as I could muster, trying to keep a straight face.

“Only the man in the takeaway, and (there was a short pause) Jenny Smith”.

“Oh my goodness” I replied. “What did you tell her?"

“I told her I had an eye infection and the Dr had told me to keep the eye covered”.

Jenny Smith was a notorious village gossip and scandalmonger.

“I bet she thought I had bashed you!” “To right she did” my wife exclaimed, “she kept asking were we both OK.”

“Well, that’s it” I said, keeping up the joke. “By Sunday night it will be all round the village. I am going to get drummed out of the Brownies.”

“Wait a minute” Gen said, obviously still laughing but perhaps showing some sympathy for my forthcoming loss of reputation. “We can have some fun with this and get back at the old witch.”

While I dished out the takeaway she disappeared into the bathroom and quickly returned to the sitting room wearing the eye patch again.

“Ouch my eye she moaned, just look at it.” As she lifted the eye patch I nearly fell out of my chair. Her eye looked at though it had filled up with blood.

“What on earth did you do to yourself?" I asked, alarmed.

“I didn’t do anything to myself. I found the cosmetic contact lenses that Carol got me a couple of months ago and turned them red with food dye”. Carol was my wife’s best friend and worked in an opthalmists.

“I can see a red world with that eye now, but it doesn’t matter I can function perfectly well with the other one. I want it look as though we have really been arguing and fighting so we can keep up the pretence with the Smith woman.”

The rest of the evening was spent enjoying the wine and the takeaway and planning our campaign. Gen wore the eye patch all evening and we both found it quite a turn on.

The old witch (Jenny Smith, that is) always walked her dog past our house at 0830 a.m. As she approached our gate Gen started slamming doors and screaming “you rat, you worm, you animal” through the open window. I slammed the front door, pretended to storm down the drive, jumped into the car and drove off. I assume, as planned, my wife then broke down into theatrical tears. I told you we used to be into Am Dram, didn’t I.

I got back as Gen was just putting the phone down. “ I just rang Carol, I was worried about wearing that lens coloured with dye so I asked her if it was safe. Apparently it’s ok for an hour or two but no longer – but she says she can get me some proper theatrical lenses in a day or so”. Over good coffee and Croissant we discussed our campaign to protect my reputation and shame such a notorious gossip and scandalmonger. She was also a snob.

Jen wore the eye patch around the house for the rest of the day, we didn’t discuss it we just knew that it turned us both on and we both looked forward to bedtime.

The following day was a Friday when we often went to the golf club to meet friends. If the weather was fine there would be a round of golf and we would eat late and get a taxi home.

Gen was having a few days off work, one of the benefits of her shift pattern. I got home with just enough time to change. While I was showering Gen was getting changed and preparing herself for the big wide world.

I had of course completely forgotten about our game with the ‘old witch’ but Gen hadn’t and I got quite a shock when I saw her face in the bedroom mirror, she was just arranging the eye patch over her awful looking left eye ball.

“Wow” I said, “I didn’t really think you would go through with this story”…. trying to hide the fact that I had forgotten all about it.

“Of course I hadn’t forgotten” she said “we can have some real fun, I love to see how people get off on that sort of gossip it’s a great chance to confound those that will have fallen for jenny smith’s scandal mongering.”

In the car we agreed that Gen would first allow people to ask if I had really given her a black eye, without denying it, and then show them the truth and explain how we had set Jenny Smith up.

The protocol at the golf club was that the girls would team up play off before the guys. I could see Gen having repeated conversations with her friends explaining the reason for the eyepatch and the sympathetic grimace on their faces as she lifted the patch and showed them her eyeball. I was struck by a subtle change in her behaviour – Gen was usually a reserved shy person who would be on the periphery of a conversation but never the centre of attention. It seemed almost simultaneously she was able to act as her normal persona, but then be ashamed of her husband’s cruelty, and then as the story came out, pretend she was seriously worried about the infection in her eye.

My golf partners were quite tactful but someone said “we had better keep on the right side of Mike today otherwise he’ll probably give us a shiner. Some of the team had already got the story from their wives and were highly amused. As the evening progressed and more friends arrived, those who had got the ‘true’ story earlier joined in the game and maintained the ‘false’ story until they could no longer keep a straight face

It ended up being a great evening, where everyone was on the same wavelength and there was plenty of joie de vivre. On other occasions the same group of people would be exchanging polite hellos and wondering was supposed to be talking to whom this week. Our Taxi driver home said his guys had never known a busier evening at the golf club with more people than ever having to abandon their cars.

 

A couple of days later, coming home from work, I went round the side of the house and passing the kitchen window I caught sight of my wife. Why was she wearing sunglasses in doors?

She heard me call and we met at the backdoor. For the second time in as many days I was stunned by her appearance –

“Hello darling” she said – “isn’t it just awful, my eye has got worse and now the Dr says I have to wear these glasses”.

She looked both frightened and timid, like a young girl, as she said this. I stared at her, initially taken in by her news. The left lens of the spectacles was opaque and I could just see the shadow of her eyelash moving behind the white lens. But it was the other lens that drew me to her. It was very strong; her eye was ringed by concentric circles and looked tiny. As she moved her head the flat front of the lens in front of her seeing eye caught the light and reflected the open doorway.

As I looked at her open-mouthed transfixed, while my insides turning summersaults. A fraction of a second later she broke into laughter –“ Aren’t they fantastic– don’t you just love them..”

“They are, I do ”, I said, almost afraid that I would show how much her appearance really excited me. - “But why – or at least, how did you get them?”

“I went into town to see Carol this afternoon, she called to say that the cosmetic lenses had arrived, and while I was telling her the whole story of our charade with the old witch, she suddenly rushed off and fetched these.”

Gen pushed the heavy framed spectacles up her face, causing another pleasant shudder in my nether regions. “Apparently they were made a couple of years ago for a woman who needed an occluded lens for some medical condition, but the lab cocked (messed)up the order and put the opaque lens on the wrong side. It took Carol quite a while to clean them as they had been on a shelf gathering dust and grime for so long.”

“But you don’t need glasses” (to my eternal regret, I wanted to add) “can you see anything though them?”

Gen waved her arms excitedly, “that’s the clever bit, I can see perfectly through my right eye. Carol gave me a pair of contact lenses that are optically the inverse of the original owner’s prescription. They make me really short sighted without the glasses.”

“So, you are wearing the glasses over a contact lens? “

“Yes – that’s exactly it – With the glasses on I can see normally but everything is subtly changed. The world has got smaller but its also got much more intense and startling. “

“What can you see without the glasses” I asked, knowing with such a prescription she would barely be able to distinguish the features on my face.

“Oh” she said, lifting the glasses to her forehead – “come forward my darling and kiss me so I can see your handsome face.”

I kissed her and we went into the kitchen. “Carol says I can keep them, they are a bit retro but I think they suite me don’t you?”

I could only nod, all my wildest dreams, or more accurately, some of my wildest sexual fantasies come true.

“When are you going to wear them –just instead of the eyepatch when we go to the club this week?”

“I might do” she said, or I might just wear them on other occasions, out and about”. – Now I really had to hold onto the furniture.

“It makes the game with Jenny Smith work much better. A couple of the girls at the office saw me wearing the eyepatch at the club on Friday, so they know the story of my eye infection. It would seem strange to them if my eye had fixed itself tomorrow and then got worse again on Friday.”

“Ok, but can you function in them OK with one eye obscured and drastically changed vision in the other?”

“Well I must admit that driving back from town was a bit hairy. Lets go out tonight and you can drive”.

Taking her at her word, we skipped dinner, went for a drink and then to see a movie. As we were going up the stairs to the foyer I could see that Gen was having problems judging where here feet were in relation to the steps, so I took her arm.

“It’s OK she said, I just need some more practise in judging distances”. Pulling her arm away from me she said. “We don’t want people to think I am visually impaired to we?”

Waiting in the queue for the tickets I saw a number of people taking sidelong glances at Gen and her glasses. I was quite proud of her. Then she said “I don’t like to ask you this but would you mind remembering to always stay on my right side, I loose sight of you when you move to the left. It un-nerves me.” As I moved to her right and we continued to stand in the queue, I thought “she’s finding this harder than she expected.” I was also struck by her use of the word ‘always’. I also began to feel that dynamic between us had changed. Although Gen was just a bit taller than me, she seemed not to be so at this moment.

When we got to the counter another little incident occurred. Gen had booked the tickets on her card and she went to the window and as instructed I stood to her right, starting to read the posters above the counter. I heard someone say ‘sir’ and looked at the guy behind the window. Gen said to him. “Look sunshine, I may be half blind but I am not half stupid as well – please could we have our tickets.”

The poor guy nearly shrunk under his chair with embarrassment – we got our tickets, or rather Gen got our tickets, placed carefully in her outstretched hand as the guy insisted on opening the little grill rather than push them down the metal slide under the window.

As we went in Gen steered me to the left of the screen and sat down so I could sit on her right.

Waiting for the film to start I said. “Can you see anything out of your left eye?” I can see light and shadow and some movement but no detail in people’s faces she said, but I have to close my right eye to know that its there.

The film was good, but so was a pleasurable experience I had quite forgotten: Snogging a girl with glasses. This was for the first time since I was a teenager. There was an uncomfortable moment towards the end of the film when Gen removed the glasses to clean them and dropped them from her lap.

The house lights came on as the film’s credits rolled and it was still gave me a slight frission of excitement to see the tall woman standing next to me with the strong glasses and occluded eye.

I still failed to remember to walk on her right as we started to leave, but Gen didn’t mind.

From even before the children had left to go to University we had got into the habit of sitting around in our bedroom, reading or chatting prior to going to sleep.

Gen was sitting at her dressing table when she said. “ Mike, would you run downstairs and fetch the bag that Carol gave me with the Contact lens kit. I just remembered I didn’t try on the new red contacts she got me.”

Without the glasses the focal point in Gen’s right eye was about 50cm from her face and she had quite a problem getting the red lens in her left eye. “I suppose I’ll get the hang of putting these things in eventually” she said. The lens had obviously plopped in because sitting along side her I saw her close her eyes and just gently massage the left eyelid without the glasses on.

Opening her eyes again she suddenly cried out ‘Oh my goodness, I am blind’, I cant see”. She gripped the edge of the dressing table with one hand and started to feel for the glasses with the other.

“There’s something wrong with this left lens”, panic rising in her voice. It completely takes away my sight and without the glasses I can only see a blur with my right eye I am almost completely blind.

I reached out and handed her the glasses but she couldn’t let go of the table and had to carefully put them on her face. Gen took a deep breath and put her hands to her face. “Oh that was scary she said. I hadn’t told you but I freaked out like that in Carol’s consulting room. Carol wanted me to stop the whole thing immediately but I persevered and realised I could get my normal vision back just by lifting up the glasses and looking through the left eye.”

After a few moments I could see Gen start to regain her composure.

“Let me look at the new contact”, I said. “You need to close your eyes so I can lift your glasses off. OK she said, but slowly please.”

“OK” I said, “now hold your right eyelid closed with your finger and open your left eye and try to look around – perhaps we the lens is not sitting properly.”

As soon as Gen’s eyelid flickered open I could see the lens was OK. It definitely made her eye look red, as she had asked.

“Gen, please could you look up, now to the right, now to the left”. From a distance, her eye would have probably just looked red, but close up you could tell it was sightless.

At last I said, “no there’s nothing wrong with the lens, it’s meant to be like that, they must have sent the wrong type to Carol’s lab. Do you want to take both contacts out now?”

“No, please put my glasses back on, I need to think about how I will cope tomorrow” I was again puzzled that she referred to them as ‘my glasses’. I put the glasses back on her face and she opened her eyes and smiled.

“Gen, this eye thing was only a charade to get back at Jenny Smith, what is there to think about. You look wonderful in your (now I’m doing it) glasses but what are you thinking about for tomorrow.

Go to bed tonight, get up in the morning and go to work and start your shift as normal.”

“But Mike, Jenny smith’s best friend Mary works in the print room, I know they have been talking because Sue from my team phoned me this morning to see if I was OK. I told Sue about our playacting but pretended to her that my eye was actually infected and that I can’t wear contacts at the moment “

“Does she think you wear contacts then? “

“Dummy, she didn’t know until I told her this afternoon. I just said she might not recognise me in the morning.”

Gen looked at me lovingly, and the glasses seemed to emphasise her expression.

“Darling Mike, you look tired out, just go to bed and I will join you in a few minutes. I need to walk about the house for a while to get used to this. Then I will be fine in the morning.”

I must confess it took a while for me to go to sleep. I was feeling very ambivalent about the whole escapade. On the one hand, being out with Gen as a GWG was wonderful. But on the other hand I wondered why she was doing it. I would never try to induce her to damage her eyesight or make herself ‘vulnerable’ just to please me or satisfy my Optical Obsession. I had never fully confessed it to her anyway, so I presumed she didn’t know.

The next morning Gen seemed a lot more confident about wearing the lenses and being blind in one eye and although she did need me to drive her to work, she was adamant about going through with it.

I watched as she met a couple of her colleagues but being too far away to hear what they were saying saw, as if they were miming their expressions of surprise.

Later in the morning after I had cleared my emails I was just about to ring Gen to see how she was getting on when my phone rang and I saw Gen’s CLI come up on the display.

“She’s probably going to tell me off for not ringing to ask how she was getting on” I thought. But even before she spoke, I sensed there was something wrong. Knowing it was important to let her talk first I just said “Hi”.

“I have hit a problem,” she said. I detected some tension in her voice, I had half been expecting something would go wrong and I started to blurt out “Oh, Gen, look, I love you for doing this to save my reputation against the Smith woman’s slanders but if you’re having problems and bumping into things, I will come and get you and we can take the contacts out at home.”

I could suddenly hear the tension subsiding. “No, you idiot, I didn’t mean I had walked into a wall or something – it’s actually worse than that. Listen, don’t interrupt and let me explain. Some of the girls here are telling me that with an eye infection like this they are saying I probably wont ever be able to wear contacts again.”

“But you are wearing contacts”

“Yes, but I am only wearing contacts, so I can wear these glasses to make it look like I am not wearing contacts because I can’t wear contacts –dummy.

When my eye is supposedly better I would stop wearing the glasses but that would mean I should then be wearing contacts to enable me to see properly but the girls are telling me that my eyes won’t tolerate contacts and I will have to wear my glasses all the time.

Gen, but you don’t wear glasses your eyesight is nearly perfect.

Oh you are so dumb, just meet me at Carol’s shop this afternoon at 5 and I will explain.

.“I see,” I said, not understanding at all.

“No,” she said, “I am the one who can’t see properly. You are the one who is too dumb to understand what I am telling you! Can you meet me at Carol’s shop at about 5 pm.?”

“Yes” I said, “but if you are having problems just take the contacts out and throw them away now, there’s no need to wait until we can get to see Carol.”

“Mike, I haven’t got time to explain it again.”

“Ok, OK, “ I said, I’ll be there”

 

As I put the phone down I tried to dismiss the conversation from my mind, it was too confusing. Suddenly I realised what she was doing, she was following the logical course of the situation we had created.

When I arrived at Carol’s shop Gen was already there and she and Carol were sitting at the counter. Gen was still wearing the glasses with the occluded lens, but there were two other pairs of glasses sitting on the counter. Again a frission of excitement ran through me as I saw her profile and the side of the frame at her temple.

Having exchanged hugs and kisses Carol led us both over to one of the consulting tables where there was a computer terminal and a large mirror in the side of the booth.

As we sat down nothing was said, but Carol pushed a small box, containing the two pairs of glasses to the centre of the desk. I didn’t get a chance to examine them before Carol motioned to Gen to remove her glasses and move face to face with her. Still nothing was said and for a few moments Carol lifted Gen’s eyelids one at a time giving her eyes a cursory examination.

“OK ” announced Carol, you can take the contacts out now.” I watched, silently as Gen removed the contacts from her eyes and transferred them into a plastic vial that Carol had filled with a fluid. The left lens came out quite easily but Gen struggled with the right for some moments.

I opened my mouth to speak, but Gen motioned me to be silent.

Carol lifted up the box with the glasses smiled and turned to meet my puzzled gaze. “ Mike, these are glasses that I had in the store that were never collected. As you can probably see already, one pair were intended for a person with fairly severe Hyperopia, the other pair for someone who with moderately severe myopia. Lets see which pair is most suitable. “

Carol carefully opened the temple pieces on the first pair. “ Gen, please would you put them on and look in the mirror. Don’t worry if you cant really see yourself properly, most people find it very difficult to accommodate in the range of hyperopic correction that these glasses have.”

Gen turned towards me, her eyes were huge. “Gen, you look… “ Carol interrupted me. “OK Gen lets go and do some measurements.” She led us into a side room and told Gen to remove the glasses and sit in the chair. “ I am going to do some measurements on your eyes, then you will put in the contacts and we will then measure your vision again.

An hour later we left the shop. Carol locked up behind us. Gen was now wearing the –15 glasses with the flat surface.

Written by ChrisB

(send in April 2006 uploaded in May 2006)

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