In the north west of Chicago is a mall that I stop at whenever I have a chance. It is the Woodfield Mall, and has easy access from I-290. This day I wasn't planning on spending a lot of time here, but I couldn't pass up the chance for some optic observations. I had slipped in my contacts earlier, and was wearing a very strong pair of myodisc glasses over them.
I entered through the Sears, and started to look for a nice looking lady with a fairly strong prescription. Soon I was engaged in conversation with a really attractive high plus. After exhausting the glasses conversation, I was off to another section of the mall. There in the food court I found what I wanted. I spotted a mother daughter combination, both wearing strong minus lensed glasses.
The daughter wore a wire framed oval shaped pair, and it was obvious that the lenses were a high index plastic. I was pleased to see that they were not polycarbonate, but were probably Nikon, or Seiko plastic lenses. She was a lovely looking young lady, and I felt a tug at my heart. A rough estimate of her prescription was between -13 and -15, but with high index even an experienced optic obsessive like myself needed a lensometer to get right on.
The mother was a real heart stopper. She wore older, drop temple glasses, with polycarb lenses. The front of the lenses were bi-concaved slightly, and the edges were rolled and polished. There was at least a half inch of lens showing behind the frames, and I wondered how thick they would have been without the rolling. The frames had been carefully chosen for the thick lenses, and the temples were wire. There was metal fastened to the plastic of the frame, and the wire came back far enough that the temples were hinged to fold over the thick lenses.
They were standing in front of a fast food restaurant looking at the menu board, and the mother shoved her glasses tight to the bridge of her nose, and did one of the most exciting squints I had ever seen.
"Oh I can't wait until my new glasses are ready" she said to her daughter. "I can't read a thing on that board from here." "They said that they were on the way over from the lab, mom, so we should be able to get them after one o'clock" her daughter replied.
I got in line behind them, shoved my own glasses up and did a squint myself. "Can either of you two tell me if that board says double burger small drink and fries for $4.99 for sure?" I asked. The two looked at me, and the mother looked at my glasses and exclaimed "My gosh, I think your glasses are stronger than mine."
We got our lunch, and they asked me to join them, which I did with pleasure. I enjoyed the conversation, talking about glasses, and related vision problems. As I was aware of, the mother was waiting for a new pair to be ready at the optical store in the mall.
Her vision had been fairly stable over the years, with only minor increases, but she had recently had to quit wearing contact lenses, and her glasses were about 10 years old. They were about -2D less than what she needed, and, while they were fine for reading, she was totally lost for distance vision. The daughter was a bit over -16, and I commented on how good she looked in them. She was pleased with the compliment, and all she said was that she wished that they weren't still so thick.
As we were sitting there eating, I noticed a man sitting at the next table. He was obviously looking our way, and I could see that his interest was in the two ladies. It crossed my mind that he was another optic observer like myself, and I took stock of his appearance. He was an average male in his early forties with neatly trimmed dark hair, fairly thin and healthy looking, no glasses, and no facial hair.
He noticed that I was staring at him, and he stood up, cleaned off, and put his tray on top of the garbage container. As he walked to the washroom area, I noticed that he was of normal height. I thought no more of him, and as we cleaned our own trays, I asked the ladies if I could escort them to the optical store so I could see how attractive the new glasses made the mother look.
We walked off together, and as we went up the escalator I looked back to see the gentleman from the food court behind us. He walked on past us, and walked in front of us for a bit. Then he turned around and walked back our way, as if he had passed the store he was looking for. But I noticed that he was not looking for a store. The way he turned, and came back and scoped the ladies as he walked towards us was the same way as I do it. And, around every corner, there he was casually looking in a store window.
We were soon at the optical store, a high end version of one of the well known chains. Her new glasses had arrived, and the optician was very helpful in trying them on, and doing the necessary adjustments. They looked great. Like her daughter, she had gotten a small oval wire frame.
She had ordered the same high index plastic lenses, but they had come through with a plano base, and the lenses were thicker than her daughter's. They had made them as a bit of a myodisc, but I knew that the lens blank had run out of thickness before they could grind the prescription into the lens, so what was around the edge giving the myodisc appearance was really just the lens blank.
They had not rolled the edges, nor had they polished the edge. I casually asked why not, and she told me that she hated the reflections. I noticed from the order in the tray that the prescription was over -21 in both eyes, and I remarked that the glasses looked lovely for the prescription. And to me they did, but I was pleased that the daughter also thought that her mom looked good wearing them.
After the fitting I suggested that the ladies walk around the mall for an hour or so, as it has been my experience that a new pair of glasses will feel great at the store, but within an hour the pressure points will start to hurt, and further adjustments are needed. But the ladies didn't have the extra time available, so I walked them to the mall doors, and said goodbye. As usual, I had not gotten their names, nor had we told anyone anymore than our first names, but in this case I had gotten the mother's name and address from the order form in the optical store. I wrote it down in my notebook, figuring that I would never use it, but I wanted to remember it just in case.
As I walked back towards the entrance where I had parked I noticed the same gentleman hanging around in the background, so I walked over his way. I knew that it could no longer be just coincidence, as he was standing in the midst of the ladies wear department. I had done the same thing while following a lady, and had ended up having to pretend interest in ladies clothing. He turned, and started off, but I rapidly caught up with him.
"You are attracted to ladies in glasses, aren't you" I said as I came closer. He stammered a bit, at a loss for words and finally said "Yes, but as much the glasses as the ladies. I just really like glasses."
Well, I suggested that we go back to the food court. I had already spent more time here than I had originally wanted to, but this was a special occasion. Not only had I had the pleasure of conversing with a couple of lovely high minus ladies, but I had run into another glasses lover.
Soon we were talking, and right from the start I told him that I was wearing contact lenses in order to wear the glasses I had on. "I've heard of that" he said. I asked him where, and he started to describe an internet site.
I interrupted him and queried him as to whether it was Eyescene or not. He told me that it was, and that he had a site himself. My brain went into overtime. It just wasn't possible, but I had to ask: "Lenslover?" "How did you know?" came his amazed reply. "Specs4ever" was mine.
With special thanks to Lenslover for the idea behind this short story.