eye(glasses) of the beholder
by Miss What's-Your-Name-Again?
Dear Lila, or Lily, or something like that,
My appearance suffers a lot of insults throughout the school year. Like that time a class collectively decided that my somewhat nautical-inspired outfit was a little too pirate-like and repeatedly referred to me as “Captain Hook,” or the day I debuted my silky, very of-the-moment trousers and was asked if I had mistaken today for Pajama Day, and, of course, when I Extreme Hair Makeover-ed myself by chopping my long hair off, and had to endure at least ten of you running up to me, full of concern, asking “WHAT HAPPENED?!!!”
But, seriously. Today. Well, today, you said this to me:
Me: Miss Park.
You: Miss Parks, can I see you without your glasses?
(here, I hesitantly remove my glasses, eyeing you with suspicion.)
You: … wow. It’s like magic.
Me: … what’s like magic?
You: You look like a normal teacher with your glasses on, and you look like a model when you take them off.
You know what’s ironic, Laura? Well, never mind that for a minute, can I first say, good fucking lord, just what a nice thing to say, and thank you. Thank you. Gosh you’re sweet. The ironic bit is that I actually wear my glasses partly because I’m nearsighted, and partly because I feel they distract from the stranger aspects of my face so that I may appear to look, on the whole, fairly uniformly pretty. And we will skim over the fact that I do not feel like a model; that, in fact, on a good day, I can look in the mirror and say, “Yeah girl, we don’t hate us today” (and on a bad day, I catch my reflection in a window and think, “FUCKING HELL you are FAT and you look like you’re wearing a BAG, why do you always look like you’re wearing a BAG.”) And how I very often wonder, despite my fierce desire to help stop this destructive cycle of self-loathing when it comes to our appearances, how I could ever make a difference when I’m a big fucking hypocrite and can’t even truly accept my own. No, we will table that for another day, because I know some people say that kids need to see adults being human, that we have emotions too… but as a kid I found the entire concept of adult weakness weird and terrifying. Which is why at the sensitive age of 12, on the way to my grandfather’s funeral, I so empathetically turned to my mother and asked, “…You’re not going to cry when we get there, are you?”
No, instead, I will tell you that I really should have figured out this whole prettier-without-glasses thing a long time ago. Because you’ve been trying to tell me this very fact for years and I have failed to notice.
Behold, Exhibit A: Portraits of Miss What’s-Your-Name-Again? Sans Glasses:
triumphantly wielding my coffee cup
as a sassy princess
in my future Met Gala gown (this one is looking a little Dolce and Gabbana.)
and Exhibit B: Miss What’s-Your-Name-Again? With Glasses:
Sometimes, there’s just no substetoot for some good, quantifiable field data.
Miss What’s-Your-Name Again?