Optical Delusion


I have worn glasses every moment of my waking life ever since the eye doctor first strapped them to my head when I was 14 months old. I have what is referred to by optometrists as ‘special care eyes’, which basically means that I have blind as a bat-itis. I have multiple astigmatisms, my right eye has a tendency toward laziness, my lenses have a prism in them and I am far-sighted over all. I am grateful for my glasses. More specifically, I am grateful for the advancements made in the field of eyewear since that first pair was strapped to my head. No longer must I endure lenses made of glass that were so thick and heavy that they caused indentations on the bridge of my nose and on my cheeks. Frames have evolved from being a choice between horn rims or cat eyes to a veritable cornucopia of colours and styles with designer names like Chanel, Dior and Burberry. I still remember when the only famous name in eyewear was Sophia Loren. Ms. Loren was a trailblazer, taking the drab out of having to wear glasses.

sophialorenSophia made wearing glasses glamorous.

When I was growing up there was a saying, “Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses”. On it’s face, this saying tells girls that you will never get a boy to be attracted to you because glasses are ugly and therefor make you ugly while wearing them. Remember the clichéd image of the plain Jane who takes down her hair and takes off her glasses and suddenly becomes gorgeous? I used to hate my glasses when I was younger, even going so far as to forego wearing them in social situations, even though I couldn’t see my own hand in front of my face, just because I wanted to be more attractive to men. When I look back at photos of myself at that age, I can now see clearly what I never could then, I was attractive with or without my glasses. If only I had the confidence to value my eyesight over my need for male attention. There’s a movie from 1953, starring Marilyn Monroe called How To Marry a Millionaire in which Marilyn’s character, Paula, who wears glasses, meanders around without them stumbling into things and even getting on the wrong plane just because she feels ugly with her glasses on. So ugly, in fact that she falls in love with the first man who tells her he likes her in her glasses. She even references the saying in a “cleaned up” 1950’s version, “Men aren’t attentive to girls who wear glasses”.

It nice to see how times have changed since then. Now celebrities are sporting their specs in public proudly. Some women like Tina Fey and Lisa Loeb have become known for their eyewear, not in spite of it.

Tina-Fey-cute-glassesTina Fey is smart, funny and sexy.

lisa-loeb-02Lisa Loeb looking sultry in her specs.

Last night I was watching an episode of the Big Bang Theory in which Penny puts on a pair of glasses and completely shatters the implication that glasses aren’t sexy (and proves that glasses might make you look smarter, but they don’t actually add IQ points).

I now wear my glasses confidently, with pride. I wear them like a fashionable accessory with different pairs for different looks or moods. I have come to the point where I not only need my glasses, but I love my glasses.

Women might not have evolved past our intrinsic insecurities surrounding our looks yet, but it’s nice to know that at least glasses aren’t as looked down upon as they once were.

Re-post But What if You’re An Asshole?


Whitney Houston was found dead yesterday at the age of 48. This is another celebrity death I was not shocked to read about. This woman was living like she wanted to die for decades. The sad thing here, for me, was how she squandered, not only her talent, but the opportunities afforded to her.

Reading the news inspired me to re-post my feelings about how we immediately forget about all the crappy behavior a person has engaged in once they have died.

RE-POST

Bill Cosby had this great joke (the only one in which he used profanity). He asked someone what was so great about using cocaine, the person replied it enhances your personality. His response was , but what it you’re an asshole?

I have always loved this joke. The punch line, for me, now becomes the question I ask when someone dies, and people begin to canonize him/her without merit. For example Amy Winehouse was a very talented singer with a unique voice and I am sure she is missed by her family and friends, but let’s get real. Was anyone really that shocked when she died? The way she lived her life, it was like she was begging for death.

Then there’s Michael Jackson, another very talented singer, dancer and performer. His childhood was far less than perfect. He grew into someone who used drugs as a crutch for his issues instead of facing them with strength and moving past them (which I would have actually admired). But now our hearts are supposed to bleed because he was to weak natured to overcome his demons.

Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley are examples of the very same behavior. I still don’t understand the fascination we have with the emotionally weak and famous. Fewer people mourned the passing of Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, people who actually turned their, much worse, situations into wonderful acts of strength and kindness.

Could it be because these celebrities died young(er) that society sees it as so tragic? Or is it that we love to see this in a morbid, Schadenfreude kind of way? If we can’t be famous, then fame and happiness shouldn’t be allowed to coexist, so we are secretly celebrating the passing of these celebrities because it serves them right for pissing away the opportunity that we would sell our soul to have knock on our door?

I understand the impulse to celebrate someone’s life after they die, but let’s actually celebrate the WHOLE PERSON. Warts and all. After all, the sooner we can collectively embrace our humanity the better off we will be as a society. It’s easier to change something when you stop making excuses and see it for what it really is.

The Love Delusion


I grew up in the Disney era when little girls were taught that, if we were good little girls, someday, our prince would come and rescue us. All the movies of my childhood preached the idea that girls needed a handsome prince to give them a happily ever after. My grandmother used to tell me, “It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man” over and over again. All this preaching didn’t sink in, however. I was a rebel and the feminist movement was the female voice that was speaking directly to me. I had a long string of relationships with men who were not only, not rich by any means, but not ambitious either. I was the bread winner and the caretaker until I realized I wasn’t getting anything out of the situation, lost all respect for my partner and eventually moved on. I have become the man I want to marry and I never wanted children, so marriage has now become a moot point for me. I firmly believe that marriage is for people who are planning on raising children. But lately I’ve been thinking about the message that society has been sending women about love and marriage.

As I mentioned, the Disney movies of our youth told us to wait for that handsome prince to rescue us. From what? From getting a job, standing on our own two feet and realizing that we are strong enough to take care of ourselves?

I guess there’s a shortage of princes and rich men now because it seems lately the romantic movies are preaching to successful women that we should go for the sweet poor guy rather than the rich guy who’s married to his career. Movies like Sweet Home Alabama, Letters to Juliet, and Leap Year illustrate this message. Of course the message is wrapped in the delusion that it’s only the sweet poor guy who could ever REALLY love you. Don’t rich men have feelings too? Apparently, if we are successful women, we can’t have a successful man because that would throw the earth off it’s axis or something. The movies of today are also telling men that they are spending way too much time working, money is not what’s important and they should be home with their families more. Movies like Liar, Liar and Click illustrate this point.

My question is, if no one is working, who is earning the living that’s needed to raise a family? Kids are expensive. So then we get back to the women should marry rich message again, but that’s bad. If you do that then you’re a gold digger, which is the societal equivalent of being a whore, which is also bad. After all marriage is supposed to be about love, pure love, true love. Scientists have found that this thing we call love is simply a chemical reaction in the brain caused by hormones and neurotransmitters… romantic huh? Maybe my grandmother had it right all along… it is just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man, when you look at love in terms of hormones and neurotransmitters.

Let’s go back to the gold digger label for a moment. It used to be that women sought out a good provider to mate with so that their children would be well taken care of. These women weren’t called gold diggers, they were called smart. Now that so many women are a success in their own right, they are looked down upon for seeking out a good provider. In my opinion, gold diggers are getting a bad rap. In the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn Monroe has a great little speech where she defends herself against the accusation of being a gold digger. “Don’t you know, that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but, my goodness, doesn’t it help? And if you had a daughter, wouldn’t you rather she didn’t marry a poor man? You’d want her to have the most wonderful things in the world and to be very happy. Well, why is it wrong for me to want those things?”

So, which is it? Do we marry for love, marry for money, make our own money and marry for love, marry for money then force our hard working husband to spend less time working or just say to hell with it all and try to find happiness no matter what it looks like?

But what if you’re an asshole?


Bill Cosby had this great joke (the only one in which he used profanity). He asked someone what was so great about using cocaine, the person replied it enhances your personality. His response was , but what it you’re an asshole?

I have always loved this joke. The punch line, for me, now becomes the question I ask when someone dies, and people begin to canonize him/her without merit. For example Amy Winehouse was a very talented singer with a unique voice and I am sure she is missed by her family and friends, but let’s get real. Was anyone really that shocked when she died? The way she lived her life, it was like she was begging for death.

Then there’s Michael Jackson, another very talented singer, dancer and performer. His childhood was far less than perfect. He grew into someone who used drugs as a crutch for his issues instead of facing them with strength and moving past them (which I would have actually admired). But now our hearts are supposed to bleed because he was to weak natured to overcome his demons.

Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley are examples of the very same behavior. I still don’t understand the fascination we have with the emotionally weak and famous. Fewer people mourned the passing of Mother Theresa and Gandhi, people who actually turned their, much worse, situations into wonderful acts of strength and kindness.

Could it be because these celebrities died young(er) that society sees it as so tragic? Or is it that we love to see this in a morbid, Schadenfreude kind of way? If we can’t be famous, then fame and happiness shouldn’t be allowed to coexist, so we are secretly celebrating the passing of these celebrities because it serves them right for pissing away the opportunity that we would sell our soul to have knock on our door?

I get the impulse to celebrate someone’s life after they die, but let’s actually celebrate the WHOLE PERSON. Warts and all. After all, the sooner we can collectively embrace our humanity the better off we will be as a society. It’s easier to change something when you stop making excuses and see it for what it really is.