There are a couple of things that I don't love about myself. One of them is that I have bad eye sight. Another is that I have an enormous face. The combination of the two things means that once a year I find myself in a sweaty panic at the opticians.
Because opticians, it seems, don't cater for people like me. Those of us with wide set eyes and faces that take the shape of plates. Despite there being an apparently impressive number of glasses on offer, the variety, or lack thereof is pathetic. This can make my annual eye tests hell on earth as I stand, clutching my new prescription, frantically trying on every pair of glasses on offer, desperately looking for anything that doesn't make me look like I had stolen the spectacles off a toy bear.
This was yesterday for me. The actual eye test went pretty well, my eye sight it seems, is improving (didn't even know that could happen so high fives all round!), but the bit afterwards was everything that I knew it would be and worse. Knowing as I do that this was going to be tricky I dived in at the designer end (where the 'fashion' glasses are) as they are often bigger but had no luck. I then moved over to the men's section, then back to the women's, then to the men's again. After fifteen minutes and every pair of glasses that the shop had tried on, I began to sweat.
Eventually I found a pair that weren't totally horrible, apart from the fact that they were brown with gold arms and some horribly flashy branding that I hated, and I showed my new friend, a very over enthusiastic shop assistant. They apparently were that horrible, I noticed, as he winced at me when I tried them on. "Let me help you", he said as he ushered me over to the men's section. I then tried on all of the glasses again.
After another ten minutes and countless glasses we both momentarily conceded defeat. Is my face growing? Or are glasses getting smaller? Surely I cannot be the only one with these problems? Surely. And if I'm not, what the hell is everyone else doing? Finally, and I do mean finally, my new friend had a light bulb moment and dragged a totally mortified me over to the sunglasses section. It was at this point that I wanted the ground to actually and literally swallow me hole - was my face SO big that I was going to have to wear sunglasses to drive? To watch television? To read my bloody book?
Pretty much, yes it is.
The good news is, you can swap out the lenses, so I won't actually have to wear sunglasses all the time and thankfully, the much bigger frames do mean that I can at least now wear a pair of glasses that don't make me look like a total fruit loop, even if they did cost me £140 and more shame than I know what to do with.
The fact is though, I am disappointed with Specsavers and with all opticians really, for making this unfortunate combination of my big head and bad eye sight worse than it already is. I have to wear my glasses quite a lot of the time, which doesn't actually annoy me an awful lot but I do appreciate that that is something that does affect a lot of people's confidence. We've all heard the nasty nicknames: 'specky', 'four eyes' and we've all heard the unkind rhymes: 'boys don't make passes at girls in glasses' - couple that with the fact that we don't actually like the glasses that we're wearing? Well that all seems rather unfair.
So if you, like me, have bad eye sight and a big head, can I offer you some advise.
- Go to the opticians with a friend. That way, when you try on a pair that looks totally horrible you can laugh about it with them rather than having to do it on your own and die of shame when you catch the eye of someone peering in through the shop window.
- Go straight to the sunglass section. As I discovered yesterday, they can swap out the lenses for you and whilst it might be a little bit embarrassing, it might save a lot of time and get the whole ordeal over quicker.
- Take your current glasses with you. This way you can hold up the ones that you have against other ones in there before trying them on. If you can see straight away that the ones on the rack are much smaller than yours, then you can save yourself that embarrassing moment that we have come to dread.
- Shop in the men's section. This is nothing to be embarrassed about and I don't know why they don't just make it all unisex. Men's frames are often bigger so it makes sense to look in there, my last four pairs (before the sunglasses) have all come from that side.
- Avoid Kylie Minogue like the plague. Not the actual woman, she will most likely not be in the opticians and if she is, at least ask her for a selfie. But her range, she has just released one with Specsavers and the things are so damn tiny I looked like one of the blind mice when I tried some of it on. Big heads, stay clear of that pint sized lady's designs.
I know that there are also options online for you to look into once you have established yourself in your new prescription and that is something that I will definitely be looking into. But I just wanted write about this for anyone who, like me, fears eye test day with a passion. I'm also sharing it in the hope that if enough of us make comments, then opticians will be forced to help the big heads of the world to see everything around us, without looking like total twats in glasses could well have been made for children.