Glasses make you look ...?
July 24, 2009 7:41 AM   Subscribe

How do you perceive people who wear glasses? Do people who wear glasses notice any difference in how people perceive you when you are wearing them vs. not wearing them?

Do glasses wearing people appear intellectual, nerdy, authoritative, geeky, friendly, attractive, boring, sophisticated, arrogant, trustworthy, or are you just indifferent?

I am a younger guy with 20/20 vision but for the longest time I have wanted a pair of glasses with clear lenses. Maybe it is just me, but I make some fairly strong (positive) assumptions when I meet or see someone with glasses. Are your convictions about glasses wearing people as strong as mine or do you not even notice?
posted by comatose to Society & Culture (76 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
It depends on:

1. The frames.
2. Your face.

Glasses are something that have a character unto themselves, that, when merged with your look, create a whole new character. Broad generalizations generally don't apply (except to point out that after a few minutes, glasses won't make any difference to people familiar to you—we're talking about first impressions here).

If you've found a set of frames that make you look the way you want to look, then you should go ahead and get them.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 7:49 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wear glasses. I don't notice mine, I don't notice anyone else's, and I don't think anyone else notices mine.
posted by OmieWise at 7:49 AM on July 24, 2009


I wear glasses a couple of times a week and contacts the rest of the time. On the days I wear glasses I have noticed no change in the offers of sex, free food or promotions I receive.
posted by IanMorr at 7:51 AM on July 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


As soon as people find out that you are wearing glasses with clear lenses, they will be more likely to perceive you in a way you might not like.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:52 AM on July 24, 2009 [54 favorites]


ActingTheGoat: "As soon as people find out that you are wearing glasses with clear lenses, they will be more likely to perceive you in a way you might not like."

This.
posted by notsnot at 7:53 AM on July 24, 2009


I have 8 different pairs of prescription glasses. Some of them are really large and nontraditional; huge Willy Wonka glasses, bright yellow Wayfarers, etc. I get these reactions:

"Are those real?" I get this all the time. It's kind of a oddly phrased question (yes, they exist) so I just say "Yes, I need them to see."

"Wow, I had no idea what you looked like without glasses. Take them off again."

"You'd be so pretty if you didn't wear such big glasses!"

"Can I try those on?"

"Yeah, James told me he knew you from the bank before I ever met you. He'd tell me 'Damn, that bank teller with the glasses is hot. She's like the hot librarian who's all nerdy but would bang the shit out of you.'"

"Where did you get those?"

For the record, my reaction to people with clear glasses is I get all jealous that someone else has a cool pair of glasses, I compliment them, I ask them if they're prescription, and then I call them a fakester behind their back. I think the general parlance for plano-lensed geek glasses around here is "fakesters," actually.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:55 AM on July 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


have to agree with the goat.

that said. i find that people's reactions to me are different between glasses vs. no glasses. mostly works to my advantage, but sometimes not. depends on the situation.
posted by lester at 7:56 AM on July 24, 2009


Relevant Self Link: My actual unedited response to someone's fakester glasses.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:57 AM on July 24, 2009


It depends on who the person is and what kind of glasses they wear. And, if you're wearing them as an affectation (whether you need the lenses or not) how convincingly you carry them as an ornament.

I may notice if someone is wearing a fashionable or particular noticeable style of glasses. On someone younger, I might attribute a certain social attitude to more conservative or traditional frames, although not any more so than I would based on the rest of the person's appearance. On someone older, frames that are more of a fashion choice may make them stand out. Really, the more non-standard or obvious the frames are, the more likely they are to appear a conscious decision on the part of the wearer. Sometimes, as in your case, it seems like an affectation. Other times, it says to me that the person wearing them sees their weakness (poor vision) as a part of their being that deserves ornamentation as much as anything.

I spent about a year when I was a kid thinking that glasses were pretty cool, although I didn't really need them. A year later, I ended up getting glasses and braces in the same week. When you really need glasses, until you get used to them, there's no glamor. For many activities, glasses are a pain in the ass, and one for which those who really need them may always scorn those who think they're a fun prop.
posted by mikeh at 7:58 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The answer to your question is that it totally depends. I find that the right pair of frames on someone makes them look intelligent, which for me also equates with cool, hip, and sexy. The wrong pair of frames can make a person look horrible.

I would agree with ActingTheGoat, if you're going to wear glasses for nothing but vanity, I'd keep that information to yourself.

Finally, an important point to make is that if the glasses make YOU feel better about your personal appearance, then you will appear more positively to others. Not because of the frames, but you feel more confident. The importance of self-confidence in how people perceive you cannot be understated.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:58 AM on July 24, 2009


As soon as people find out that you are wearing glasses with clear lenses, they will be more likely to perceive you in a way you might not like.

... which would be something, as a glasses wearer, I think I'd notice quite quickly, due to how the light reflects off them. I certainly do in films. And I'd think it was pretty damn odd/a total pose

Wearing those sunglasses that go clear in low light could be an acceptable compromise.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:02 AM on July 24, 2009


There is some research on the perceived intelligence of people with glasses. The photos of individuals with glasses are typically rated as appearing more intelligent than photos of the same person without glasses.
posted by srboisvert at 8:03 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am a younger guy with 20/20 vision but for the longest time I have wanted a pair of glasses with clear lenses.

You shouldn't do this, for the above-mentioned reasons.

However, if you hang on long enough, you'll eventually need them. I always envied people with glasses. Now I'm forty, and guess what, I need glasses.

It's less of a rollicking good time when you need them because you're freaking OLD.

Also, I've destroyed my hearing with iPod headphones. So now I'm a middle aged woman with wrinkles, glasses, and bad hearing.

Not everyone can rock that persona like I do. Don't play with fire, sonny.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 8:03 AM on July 24, 2009 [13 favorites]


To my eye, outdated eyeglass frames have a way of making the wearer seem dramatically out of touch, even more so than unstylish hairdos or clothing. I still see people wearing big '80s style clunkers and my reaction that is viscerally negative.

A surprising number of people I know who wear glasses don't wash them every day. I'm always amazed that they can see through them.

I also find it strange to see anyone over the age of about 45 who does not wear some sort of glasses some of the time, particularly for reading purposes, given the prevalence of presbyopia as people reach their 40s.

Aside from these negatives, I generally have a positive view of those wearing eyeglasses. But that might be because my dad is an eye doctor and eyeglass collector, and I've been surrounded by glasses my whole life!
posted by cheapskatebay at 8:05 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Getting frames that suit your face is key.
posted by dfriedman at 8:07 AM on July 24, 2009


I do sometimes feel that taking them off has an impact on interacting with people. I did once take them off in the middle of a job interview, the interviewer later told me that I was talking rubbish until half way through, she didn't mention the glasses and I'm not saying it was the cause, I think normally any chamge might be more subtle but difficult to quantise the difference if it exists.

More subtly I have sometimes wondered if they change the amount of time it takes to focus on someone and whether this creates more of an impression that you're looking at them, in the street for example. Does anyone have any data as to whether wearing glasses might impact in this way?
posted by biffa at 8:08 AM on July 24, 2009


Some people look good in glasses, some don't. As DrJohnEvans says, it depends on the glasses and it depends on the person. Beyond that they are value neutral.

I wore glasses all my life and hated them. They didn't make me look like me. As soon as I could I had surgery to correct my vision.

Wearing glasses if you don't have to reminds me a bit of this cigarette-sausage analogy.
posted by ninebelow at 8:13 AM on July 24, 2009


As a completely un-related aside to Juliet Banana, the classiest response I ever heard to someone who said something like "You'd be so pretty if you didn't wear such big glasses!" was; "Without my glasses, you don't look so bad either."
posted by dirm at 8:13 AM on July 24, 2009 [24 favorites]


DrJohnEvans makes a good point: With different glasses, you can easily become a different character. If you buy frames online, or find frames and have lenses put in ($10! Thanks, Juliet Banana!), you can create a whole host of characters: smart, nerdy/sexy, funky, whatever. I personally am rocking the librarian glasses, but I think I may need some cat's eye glasses soon.
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:14 AM on July 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


On the other hand, you could wind up like me, and everyone will tell you that you look great with glasses! Not without. Then, you will feel sad.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:17 AM on July 24, 2009


If you get clear lenses, you can still get a (clear) UV coating put on them and at least they will offer you some eye protection in addition to changing your look.

I've worn glasses since the fouth grade, and wouldn't care if someone wore fake glasses, unless they actually stated or implied that they "needed" them. Good frames can look good on people and it is an easy way to change up your look. That's why there is a multi-million dollar sunglasses industry. I don't see the big deal in extending this to non-sunglasses.
posted by mikepop at 8:18 AM on July 24, 2009


With the right frames... glasses are sexy.

I've been wearing 'em since I was 12. (To this day my mother STILL claims I ruined my vision intentionally due to envy of my bespectacled brother.) I will never ever EVER wear contacts, if only because the thought of sticking things into my eye is right in the middle of squick territory. I don't even like eyedrops. :(

I also discovered earlier this year that I've a mild allergy to polycarbonate lenses... I didn't even think such a thing was possible, but apparently it is. o_O

My taste in frames often make me look older-- I remember going to the bank to cash a birthday check when I was 13 and the teller asked me for my driver's license. I tend to favor big frames just to cover as much as possible, weight be damned (I could never tell the difference anyway, except for the Ralph Laurens I'm currently using).
posted by Yoshi Ayarane at 8:19 AM on July 24, 2009


for a point of reference: i am female, late 20s. i have a few different pairs of glasses, ranging from low-profile slim metal frames, with material at the top of the lens and nothing at the bottom, to rather thick black plastic square frames, although right now i mostly wear squared-off plastic tortoiseshell ones.

i almost exclusively wear glasses now, although 5-6 years ago i exclusively wore contacts. with the glasses, i've been asked multiple (surprisingly many, really) times if i was a writer or a doctor (oddly, specifically, a neurosurgeon, and more than once...). oh, and one time a guy at a party asked me if i was a naughty librarian.

without the glasses, i don't ever get those questions. i do, however, get people telling me that i'm "so much prettier without my glasses." so, it appears that, for a lot of people, one can either look smart/accomplished or pretty. harrumph.

that having been said, i've tossed around the idea of getting lasik (regular contact use and i don't get along anymore), and quite a few of my friends and my boyfriend have said "but why? i love you with glasses..."
posted by penchant at 8:23 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think I could take you seriously if I knew you were wearing glasses with no prescription. I would think you were a poseur trying to seem more intelligent/trendier than you are. But now that I think about it, it's weird that I feel that way -- they're just like jewelry.

I've been wearing glasses since I was 6 years old. My prescription is really high, so the lenses make my eyes look a lot smaller. I only wear contacts occasionally (usually when playing sports or swimming), and people always comment on how completely different I look then. Not necessarily better, just different. So, if your glasses make you look significantly different, then people may need to adjust to you wearing them. I don't think people treat me hugely differently either way, except that I am more comfortable in my glasses and that probably shows.

So, I agree with the others; don't let on that they're non-prescription, and choose frames that suit your face.
posted by bluefly at 8:25 AM on July 24, 2009


One weird thing, not so much on how we view the intelligence or personality of the bespectacled, but purely physical: I can appear to change the shape of my nose by changing glasses.

I have a pair of military "birth control" frames that make me look like a have a wide nose, which then whittles down to a little snub when I wear very large white glasses. Which is why it is important to pick frames that flatter your face.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:25 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I once saw a guy wearing cool frames without any lenses at all. While I found this to be weird, it didn't evoke the borderline contempt that fake glasses with fake lenses might.
posted by cmoj at 8:30 AM on July 24, 2009


i wore glasses from age 9 to age 21. i had laser eye surgery last December. people say i look younger without glasses, and people say it makes my face look "brighter" - whatever that means.
posted by gursky at 8:34 AM on July 24, 2009


I agree with the fakester commenters above but do what you will.

I wear glasses because I need them. I love my glasses though. They are definitely part of my personality, more so because I can't really see without them. If they give me the geek girl look, well, that's just icing.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:35 AM on July 24, 2009


For many activities, glasses are a pain in the ass, and one for which those who really need them may always scorn those who think they're a fun prop.

Indeed! If I found out someone I knew was wearing glasses just for fun I'd be weirded out and a little contemptuous. (Which probably doesn't reflect well on my character but there you go.)

I like wearing my glasses but they can be a real PITA. As for perceiving others' glasses...I'd say they're a pretty value-neutral thing unless they're really great or really awful. I'll compliment other spectacle-wearers on theirs if they're really great...which often, nerdily enough, leads to a "nearsighted/farsighted"comparison/bitching about finding good frames/trying on each others' pairs. (Not always, but often enough.)

If I complimented you on your glasses there's a smallish chance I'd ask about your perscription (just 'cause I'm nosy, or maybe I want to know if your style of frames could accomodate a perscription like mine.) So keep in mind that there are nosy, judgmental jerks like me out there who might presume to ask. (If you disregard the opinions of nosy, judgmental jerks [which you probably should] then this won't be a problem for you.)
posted by Neofelis at 8:35 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wear glasses all the time, and when I look in the mirror, I think, "what a smart and sexy person! Too bad about the glasses though."

I had a friend who used to lick his thumb and smear it across my lenses. I think you can expect this behavior from everyone if you wear fakester glasses.
posted by Koko at 8:49 AM on July 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


The hostility towards fake glasses is really weird! I have a mild prescription so I only wear glasses infrequently. They make me look a lot better. But if people will have such a strong reaction to them, maybe not.
posted by kathrineg at 8:54 AM on July 24, 2009


Do glasses wearing people appear intellectual, nerdy, authoritative, geeky, friendly, attractive, boring, sophisticated, arrogant, trustworthy, or are you just indifferent?

I wear (prescription) glasses sometimes, but not always. My girlfriend likes them ("Sexy!") but she's a little odd, so I don't know how much that matters. I don't wear them deliberately for her, it just depends on the day and whether I feel like it or not.

But, a reverse-anecdote: I learned many years ago that people take me more seriously in business meetings if I am wearing glasses. Someone I frequently co-chaired meetings with pointed this out to me after a dozen or two. He reported that he noticed that the meetings went more smoothly and the other side of the table tended to nod and agree with me and go along with my advice more often and more easily on days I happened to be wearing glasses.

So after that was pointed out to me, I started keeping track, and indeed it seemed true. And so I began wearing them deliberately on meeting days, which is a habit I still have.

Now, that could be self-enforcing confidence in the recent years, since I know I am wearing them, and I might expect them to work well, and so on.... But the fact that it was noticed and pointed out before I was conscious of it tells me that it is probably a legitimate phenomenon.

I don't know how I'd feel if I found out a man was wearing fake-clear glasses. I might think it was a bit odd, but then again men already wear their special "power ties" and have their practiced handshakes and "dealmaking" tricks, so I don't know that I'd find it much more of an affectation than that.
posted by rokusan at 8:56 AM on July 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


When I wear my contacts I get more compliments on my eye color and general, "You're pretty," comments. People smile a lot more at me too. In my glasses, people's gazes kind of slide over me more.

When I wear my contacts, though, I'm constantly touching the side of my face where the arm should be, and I have a constant low-level anxiety like I've forgotten something. I strangely feel naked without my glasses. I feel less confident.

I've always thought it was weird that people noticed me more in a positive way the less sure I felt of myself.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:58 AM on July 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Previously.
posted by mhz at 8:58 AM on July 24, 2009


... which would be something, as a glasses wearer, I think I'd notice quite quickly, due to how the light reflects off them. I certainly do in films. And I'd think it was pretty damn odd/a total pose

fearfulsymmetry raises a good point. If you get non-prescription lenses, make sure they're curved. Otherwise, they'll look fake under certain light.

Other then that, have at it. If you look better with certain glasses than without, wear 'em.
posted by malp at 9:02 AM on July 24, 2009


I have a gazillion pairs of funky glasses, though perhaps not as funky as Juliet Banana's. I get lots of comments and compliments on them, often from men, and often of the "sexy librarian" variety. I'm a bit of a funky dresser, and swapping plastic frames often is fun, like wearing different shoes.

That being said, I think I look better, particularly in photographs, without them. I'm eagerly waiting for my vision insurance to kick in so that I can buy some contacts, and would get LASIK if I could afford it. Glasses get in the way of physical activities, particularly kissing. They can feel icky to wear when its hot out (and I live in Florida). They fog up when its humid (again, Florida). And, perhaps worst of all, sometimes I feel more identified by my plastic glasses rather than myself. Fun frames help me make the most of a bad situation (poor eyesight), but it's still a bad situation.

So nthing the fakester comments. I've never thought someone was less intelligent for not having glasses, but I would definitely think that if someone wore frames they didn't need.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:03 AM on July 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, personal experience:

I have glasses and contacts. The contacts are for sports, but even then I'll sometimes wear glasses.

I generally feel that I'm being taken more seriously with glasses than without.

I also generally wear a simple rimless pair that's a few years old, and I feel differently when I wear other pairs that aren't 'me.' Mentioning that because that pair was chosen with the help of an optician. The others were purchased online, and although there are some that frame my face well, etc, I feel a bit weird in them. So if you were getting glasses just for a 'look,' make sure you have someone who can make it look right.
posted by mhz at 9:04 AM on July 24, 2009


Maybe there is some way that you could damage your vision, thus making it necessary to wear glasses? Try squinting a lot and sitting too close to the tv!
posted by orme at 9:04 AM on July 24, 2009


Some people look nice in glasses. Some don't. I think I tend to like it when I know people wear glasses because it makes me feel better and less self-conscious about my own terrible, awful eyesight. For exactly that reason, I doubt I'd be able to suppress some serious contempt for someone if I discovered they wear wearing glasses they didn't need to see. Also, this would be uncovered pretty quickly, because one of my first reactions when I make a new friend who wears glasses is to do a switch and see how we look with each other's glasses on, and see how bad our eyes are comparatively, so... you'd look like a huge ass in that situation. Be grateful for your good eyesight, because you're very lucky to have it. Looking "smarter" is the one consolation prize people who are nearly-blind get to cling to. If you have a positive association of people who wear glasses, just consider that our little life raft in a sea of huge fucking drawbacks (which I'm sure people would be happy to list if you want some perspective).
posted by booknerd at 9:06 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


How do you people with loads of frames afford lenses for them? My prescription changes every year or so, and insurance only covers one set of new lenses, otherwise it's $150. Tell me your secrets!
posted by booknerd at 9:08 AM on July 24, 2009


Maybe there is some way that you could damage your vision, thus making it necessary to wear glasses? Try squinting a lot and sitting too close to the tv!

Or become addicted to some kind of internet message board thing. That'll work.
posted by rokusan at 9:08 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've worn my military issue BCGs off and on for the last 10-14 years. They've drifted in and out of fashion but I wear them because I like the style. I also, when I wear them, like wearing my contacts. As far as being treated differently, I can't really provide examples but, yeah, I do sometimes feel that people are glasses positive.
posted by geekyguy at 9:11 AM on July 24, 2009


I wear glasses (sort of a half-cats eye, with nothing on the bottom of the lens) and the comments I get are:

1. They make me look more like a hipster.
2. I get a lot of ‘cute/sexy geek’ comments
3. They give my face more ‘character’
4. I look ‘totally different’ without my glasses

I haven’t been told that I’m prettier without my glasses since high school-but I’m not sure if people just find it impolite to say it now?

If I found out that someone was wearing glasses without needing to-I’d be more confused than disgusted. Like seeing someone walk down the street wearing a monocle.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:15 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think my fiancé is a tiny bit hotter when he wears his stylish euro-frame glasses (a mild prescription mainly used when he's driving or his vision is tired), but I think that's because it triggers a latent professor-fetish in me.
posted by matildaben at 9:15 AM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


How do you people with loads of frames afford lenses for them? My prescription changes every year or so, and insurance only covers one set of new lenses, otherwise it's $150. Tell me your secrets!

Booknerd, but glasses online! My favorite site is www.zennioptical.com, but there are tons, which have been discussed pretty extensively previously on metafilter.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:15 AM on July 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Alright, I'll be the voice of dissent. I don't care if you wear fake glasses and wouldn't think badly if you did, and I say that as someone who's not been able to see anything beyond the end of my own arm since age nine. Glasses, to me, are accessories like shoes, jewelry, or handbags. I'd probably even be jealous of you because you could put the money you saved on not needing prescription lenses into some really kickass frames, or even multiple pairs. If my vision insurance didn't limit me to one new pair per year, I'd be out there right now buying half a dozen more.

Just, you know, go to the actual eyeglass shop and get nice ones. Don't do what a friend of mine did and get them off the rack at Claire's Boutique or whatever the male equivalent is, if there even is one.
posted by anderjen at 9:24 AM on July 24, 2009


Argh...wouldn't think badly of you if you did.
posted by anderjen at 9:26 AM on July 24, 2009


People are a lot nicer to me and notice me more when I'm without glasses. I look very different with and without glasses. I'm a very myopic young female, and my eyes tend to be acknowledged as the nicest aspect of my face; when I wear glasses my face looks more "closed up" and my eyes look a lot smaller. My t-zone tends to get a lot oilier when I'm bespectacled, and my frames/lenses aren't very big, which restricts the boundaries of my clear-vision, which actually tenses the muscles around my eyes a bit (sometimes producing a slight squint), and results in my eyes getting smaller after wearing my glasses for a few consecutive days.
I wear lenses as well, and I wish I could be entirely glasses-free. (Well, I wish I could trade vision with you!)
I've only ever had the "you look nerdier/smarter with glasses" comment once. I know I look a lot 'prettier' without glasses - but even if that gives people the initial impression that I'm less intellectual, I can usually change that initial impression by holding a conversation with them - if I want to change that impression in the first place. There are a lot of other ways of appearing smart without needing to wear glasses - clothes, posture, manner of speech, etc make a significant difference too. (And they are not as uncomfortable as glasses. Maybe it's just me, but I really hate having to wear anything additional on my face.)
posted by aielen at 9:29 AM on July 24, 2009


If you are good-looking, people at work will take you more seriously when you wear glasses. It's like you just switched-off a huge neon "flirt with me" sign around your neck.
posted by Zambrano at 9:35 AM on July 24, 2009


I am not aware that I react differently to people with glasses than without (perhaps I do unconsciously, but I doubt it). I might react differently to a person wearing glasses that make a particular fashion statement (whether the glasses say "look at me, I'm hipster/nerdy" or whatever), in the same sense that I'd be reacting to their shoes, clothing, etc.

But speaking as someone who went to considerable expense to have his eyes cut apart by lasers so that he could avoid wearing glasses, if I found out that you were wearing glasses purely cosmetically, my reaction would be LOSER.
posted by adamrice at 9:42 AM on July 24, 2009


Glasses are required to handle a disability. I'd perceive you as a weirdo if I knew they were not prescription, kind of like that guy who uses a cane even if he doesn't need it.
posted by chairface at 9:54 AM on July 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wore glasses from the time I was 7 until I was 21 when I got contacts. When I was younger, I got teased a lot --"four eyes", "nerd", etc. As I got older, especially in high school, people said I looked better without glasses, although the eye glass frames available in the 80s were pretty bad. Once I got contacts, I got way more compliments about my eye color; I think because I'm so near-sighted that glasses make my eyes look really, really small.

I prefer myself with contacts, because I see so much better with them than with my glasses, and I am a bit vain. But, on others, I don't care one way or the other. Many people in my family wear glasses so I'm not inclined to be judgemental if someone wears them. I'm just used to people wearing them.
posted by socrateaser at 9:54 AM on July 24, 2009


For me, I think the issue is not so much the glasses themselves, but the reverse-magnification effect they have on my eyes for observers. As aielen said, it makes my eyes look a lot smaller than they really are (I have a pretty strong prescription). I used to wear contacts but they were expensive and a PITA. I might try to get some disposables for occasional use.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:59 AM on July 24, 2009


I've got horrible vision and combined with a very young eye surgery to correct muscular issues I'll never be able to not worry about my vision. It took until I was 14 to see my own face without glasses since my family was able to afford contacts and it was a very weird experience. I wore them every single day for about 10 years because I was tired of being the nerdy kid with glasses, though I quickly found out that I was still the nerdy kid, I just didn't have glasses, so it didn't make any difference at all.

nthing this: As soon as people find out that you are wearing glasses with clear lenses, they will be more likely to perceive you in a way you might not like.

Would you walk around with a cane all the time because you thought it made you look a certain way? What would people who need a cane to get around with think about someone who found their medical device to be a fashion statement?
posted by Brian Puccio at 10:13 AM on July 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ditto socrateaser: whenever I wear contacts (not so often these days), I get compliments on my eyes. When wearing glasses, I've never had such a comment.
posted by Pufferish at 10:27 AM on July 24, 2009


Would you walk around with a cane all the time because you thought it made you look a certain way? What would people who need a cane to get around with think about someone who found their medical device to be a fashion statement?

Canes have been (and in some places still are) used as fashion accessory and status symbol. So if I saw a guy dressed up with a cane I might think it was somewhat retro for where I live but unless he was also faking a limp I wouldn't have an issue with it.
posted by mikepop at 10:27 AM on July 24, 2009


I wear glasses (4 pairs) half of the tiem and contacts the other half, so everyone i see sees me both ways. Teh normal reaction to me with glasses is that they like the frames i picked out. Noone has ever expressed a strong perference either way, but noone has has a strong exposure of me one way and not the other. I guess I'm trying to say it doesnt really matter.


Interestingly enough though, there was a show on PBS, I belive it was on Frontline, about the whole bank bailout. It mentioned that the head of Bank of America at the time (Ken something?) started wearing glasses when he was promoted to CEO to look more "the part". All of the bank CEOs shown in the program wore simalarly styled frameless or very thin wire framed glasses.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:31 AM on July 24, 2009


Get the light-reactive version of (plain) lenses, so at least you'll look like you're wearing sunglasses and not just "fake" glasses. (They get dark on hazy days, too.)
posted by vickyverky at 10:40 AM on July 24, 2009


I started wearing prescription eyeglasses about four years ago and, as it were, haven't looked back since. Clear, uncoated glasses stand out and just look weird to me, and the few occasions I've seen people wearing them in real life (i.e., not as a prop for actors) I've wondered what was wrong with them. It does make me feel somewhat negative toward people that wear "fake" glasses, something I see as as unnecessary vanity. If you want someone else to like the way you look, at least make sure the look is genuine.
Find a look that doesn't require imitation-prosthetics.

That said, you will probably need them later in life, and by then, you'll likely resent them. I'd say stick with sunglasses if you want a "look."
For me, I'm neutral on glasses. I like the look on some people, especially women, but I don't really care for the most part. I like the way mine make me look, but it does turn potential dates off, I've found.
posted by neewom at 10:53 AM on July 24, 2009


....This is a data point that I freely admit is anecdotal, but -- personally, I have a bit of a fetish for glasses. I've always been kind of fascinated by eyeglasses -- I have 20/20 vision, but others in my family don't, and I've always been fascinated by "ooh, glasses, what would I look like with them on? What's it like to have them?"

If I'm flirting with a guy, one of the surest ways I know that i"m starting to really dig him is if I have the urge to ask him if I can try his glasses on, just to see what it's like to wear them. There's also a sort of...intimacy about it.

So. Um. Yeah. The moral of the story is, some people really, really dig guys with glasses.


Oh, God, now I'm afraid I've just opened myself up for a raft of guys to turn up at the next New York meetup all wearing Groucho specs or something.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:09 AM on July 24, 2009


.....Oh. Now I'm reading that you've got perfect vision and are considering getting them as a prop.

To someone like me, that would be coming across as cheating. Feh.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:10 AM on July 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ditto penchant, once I started wearing my glasses full time (just after high school) people started asking me questions. I've always looked kinda young for my age so it was usually, "going to med school?" or something like that.

Personally, and maybe it is because i've worn them for so long, I think my face looks better with glasses. I think that I amd kind of plain pretty looking and I don't do makeup or earrings really so I think that the added accessory help make me look more interesting.

I have two pairs now that I usually alternate between depending on what I'm wearing or where I'm going and I like having the options. It did take a while to find the shape that I think looks best with my face so if you are ordering online, I suggest going to a store to try on a bunch until you get the basic shape figured out.

And yeah, I would think it was weird if you were wearing clear lenses. At least at first, I mean they may be quite fashionable now but they are a medical necessity for so many of us I think it would be difficult to understand why you wanted them. If you were a nice person who was also my friend, I would probably get over it eventually. If I didn't like you I'd probably compare you to someone who wants a wheelchair because they don't want to walk. But I can be kinda bitchy like that sometimes :o)
posted by magnetsphere at 11:26 AM on July 24, 2009


Count me in as one of the folks who have a strongly positive visceral reaction to the bespectacled. It's not quite a fetish, but it's definitely something I find inherently attractive. It's part of the whole nerds-are-hot thing.

My own vision impairment is mild, but sufficient to require glasses in some situations. I am nearsighted in one eye (20/40) and farsighted in the other (20/60). In practice, this means that sometimes I can get by without wearing my glasses, and sometimes I can't.

I've noticed only a slight difference in how people respond to me with glasses vs. without. Sometimes it seems people take me more seriously as a student or professional when I'm wearing them, but I don't really know how much of that is attributable to wearing glasses and how much is related to other factors (especially self-confidence, or lack thereof). The effect is very subtle, in any case - unlike, say, the dramatic contrast between how people respond to me when I'm dressed in a business suit and how they respond when I'm in a t-shirt and jeans.
posted by velvet winter at 11:26 AM on July 24, 2009


EmpressCallipygos's next meetup is going to be a blast.

But yeah, between the nerds-are-cool and we-call-them-hipsters-now trends combined, the world is probably upside down compared to the 80's. Also, fetishes seem a lot more acceptable, so there's always that.

I would not be surprised if more people would find you more attractive with (the right) glasses today, but you'd have been crazy to suggest that 20 or 30 years ago.
posted by rokusan at 11:38 AM on July 24, 2009


I would not be surprised if more people would find you more attractive with (the right) glasses today, but you'd have been crazy to suggest that 20 or 30 years ago.

Hey, man, some of us were attracted to bespectacled nerds before it was cool! Back in the '70s and '80s, even! ;)
posted by velvet winter at 11:50 AM on July 24, 2009


I wear glasses and have several pairs that I switch between. Dame Edna calls 'em "face furniture", and they are the closest thing to jewelry to me. I have different glasses depending on how dressed up I am, or even my mood.

I don't know what other people think of me for wearing glasses, but I do tend to think of other glasses-wearers as being slightly more intellectual. I know it's not true, but it's a connotation that I make.

I think that all of the 'fakester' mentions are simply ridiculous. The same argument could be made that folks that wear contact lenses (or have LASIK) instead of wearing glasses are also fakesters.

I'm considering getting corrective eye surgery, but I would still wear my glasses because they've been a part of my person since I was 10.

If it makes you happy, wear glasses. Life is far too short to give any consideration to how the random person on the street perceives you.
posted by mattybonez at 11:55 AM on July 24, 2009


When I was 4 or 5 years old, I used to run into walls. I'm that nearsighted. If I don't wear corrective lenses, I can't clearly see anything more than 6 inches from my face. I had the nerdy 1960s glasses in the 1960s, the big 1970s glasses in the 1970s, even a pair of yellow-framed round glasses in the 1980s.

I got my first contacts in the mid-1980s. Surprise: I turned out sexy. Other gay men tried to pick me up on the subway. Strangers would stop and talk to me. People did not do this before. However, I have no way of knowing how much of this was because of their perception of me and how much was because of my own changed self-perception. I suspect that the latter was much more important.

Now I'm middle aged and work from home, and I wear my glasses unless I have some special need or desire to make some sort of public impression. The optician (and my partner) helped me choose a good pair of frames that suit my face. I told the doctor that I needed bifocal contacts because if I went out to dinner and a night on the town, I wanted to be able to read the menu! For me, it's all a matter of what works best for the situation. But, if I had 20/20 vision I would never, ever wear glasses again. :-)

Enough about me: If you really want to wear glasses, go ahead and do it. The only person you have to please is yourself. It seems a little silly to me; I'd be more impressed by what sort of clothes you wear, or maybe if you had a nice watch.
posted by Robert Angelo at 12:02 PM on July 24, 2009


I have needed glasses since I was 11. My prescription is relatively mild and so I don't wear them very often - only for movies, video games, TV, and reading things that are more than a couple feet away.

Honestly, I much prefer how I look without them, and this is another reason why I keep them off as much as possible. I also very rarely let myself be photographed with them on. I think my eyes are my best feature and I love playing them up with makeup and grooming, but behind my glasses, you don't really see it. There is advice out there for eye makeup that works with glasses, but it's not what I like.

I just feel prettier without glasses. I can't put in contacts and my eyes are prone to conjunctivitis, so that's not really an option. I wear them so rarely that I wouldn't even want the contacts hassle anyway.

I don't think glasses make anyone look more intelligent or anything general - it varies by the individual. Frame shape does make a difference. If you want to get some frames, I wouldn't hold it against you ("fakesters"?, really? Is having bad vision some sort of exclusive club? Even the prescription lens wearers acknowledge the frames are an accessory), but just make sure they suit your face.
posted by cmgonzalez at 12:43 PM on July 24, 2009


If you wear fake glasses now, you'll end up talking yourself into wearing a domino mask five years from now. Maybe a cape too. Stop the madness before it starts.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:34 PM on July 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the first season of a 1990s sitcom called "Caroline in the City," one of the male characters, named Richard, wore glasses. In the second season, he didn't. IIRC, he ended up wearing glasses again because fans complained that without glasses, he didn't look "sensitive" anymore. Sorry, I can't find anything about this on google. I wonder, reading through these answers, how active old stereotypes like "men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses" may still be in influencing perceptions of glasses-wearing girls vs guys.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:04 PM on July 24, 2009


oh man! you guys and the fake lenses hate!

WELL LISTEN TO THIS I WEAR MY CONTACTS WITH FAKE GLASSES CUZ I CAN'T AFFORD A NEW SET. in fact, i did so today.

i find one gets checked out way more by hipster guys when one wears thrift-store clear glasses. maybe the inverse would apply to you if you are interested in the hipster ladies?
posted by chickadee at 4:07 PM on July 24, 2009


I think it's different for a guy vs a girl, but I have had glasses since age five or so and have had a very nerdy reputation ever since. Dorothy Parker's right.

However, I hate contacts and can't deal with 'em, and to some degree I think it is convenient to be considered "ugly" with them on, so eh, it's fine to keep 'em. I'm not in school any more getting gum thrown in my hair, after all.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:15 PM on July 24, 2009


While the style of glasses-as-accessory may seem appealing, you are, in fact, affecting a disability for the purpose of vanity. Wearing fake glasses to appear intelligent is by definition a pretension, and a ridiculous one. If you want to go whole hog into the prosthetic feint, I'd suggest you try a sling, cane, or pegleg.
posted by mr. remy at 5:14 PM on July 24, 2009


I fear that if I were ever to adopt contacts or corrective surgury I would be forced to spend all my time fighting hordes of women off.
posted by ws at 9:46 PM on July 24, 2009



Most of fashion is about faking it. Wear em.
posted by TheOtherSide at 8:22 PM on July 25, 2009


I wear contacts for sports and sporadically out in the world; glasses most times. I regularly notice women checking me out when I wear my contacts. I NEVER notice them when I wear my glasses. It is unclear whether this is a noticing difference or checking-out difference.

I am a married 27 year old man twenties with horrendous vision who is as unconcerned with sartorial matters as is legally possible
posted by Kwine at 8:05 PM on July 27, 2009


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