When I was twelve years old, I got my first pair of glasses. This was no surprise, almost everyone in my family (on both sides) wears glasses, it felt like a familial rite of passage more than a burden. My vision wasn't terrible, but just bad enough that I had to squint at friends who were waving at me to tell who they were. Because I could get away with it, I generally went without glasses or contacts, walking around in a slightly out-of-focus world.
When I started learning how to drive, however, everything changed. I could no longer safely live in a blur. Not seeing someone waving to you while walking to class was one thing, not seeing a pedestrian while driving was another. So, at sixteen, my kind parents took me to the optometrist to get contact lenses.
It's been a love/hate relationship ever since. My eyes quickly became dependent on contacts, and I have worn them almost every single day. There are glaring negatives about the contact lens lifestyle: they made my eyes more prone to infection as dirt can get trapped under the lens, they make my eyes dry and red (especially at night), they are expensive and it is inconvenient to always have to carry around extra pairs (no spontaneous sleepovers for me). They are, however, better than the alternative, at least in my case, which is wearing glasses.
I wish I knew why exactly I am incapable of wearing glasses. It is easy to blame the way women who wear glasses are depicted in film. Take Hitchcock's "Vertigo," for example. There's the token blonde Madeleine (the star played by Kim Novak) and then there's Midge (played by Barbara Bel Geddes) as Jimmy Stewart's glasses-wearing ex-fiancée. As the key difference physical between the two bottle-blondes is glasses, this suggests the question: Would you rather be a Madeline or a Midge?
But, for me, it's more than a emphasis in the film that glasses signify intelligence which thus equates to being portrayed as unattractive. I like the way that other women look in glasses, I even liked Midge's pair, but when I try on glasses I feel as if I look like a completely different person. Maybe my ears are crooked or maybe I just don't have the right shaped face. I have found success with sunglasses, but in the past decade I would guess that I have only worn my glasses around a dozen times. That's a lot of contact lenses.
Most people seem to choose one or the other, glasses or contacts, but some are lucky enough to switch back and forth with ease. Take the stars in our gallery below, like Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Grace Kelly, Anne Hathaway, Elle Fanning and more, who have been spotted both with and without glasses. Which look do you like best?