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I work in Manhattan and it’s time for me to get a new prescription for my glasses. Some of my friends are saying that I should trade in the glasses for contacts, to make me look young (I’m on the wrong side of 30). But others contend that glasses give me a distinguished look which will help my career. Still others suggest Lasik — though I’m not wild about shooting laser beams into my eyeballs.
What should I do? I’ve been delaying going to the optometrist for weeks while I ponder my options.
The optician isn’t a needle exchange… you don’t have to surrender your old, dirty glasses in order to procure a clean set of contacts. This is America, you can have both, especially if you have a Flex Spending account. The real question is whether you should roll up to work in glasses or contacts. Lasik only makes sense if you like paying money for permanent broken blood vessels and blurry night vision.
Gender plays a large role in the answer…
Contacts are a great option if you’re a woman or if you’re a guy and have large-ish eyes and no dark under-eye circles or bags. If you have one of those faces where there’s too much face and your eyes are basically hiding in your head, glasses are the way to go. Personally, I like plastic frames on guys because it makes them look like they might watch documentaries and listen to Weezer. It won’t make you look “distinguished” to your firm unless you also dump salt and pepper shakers on your head, but it will make you look interesting. Wire frame glasses or frameless glasses tend to make people look like Nazi doctors, which is never a good career move. So, if you’re a guy, the bottom line is: wear glasses if it enhances your face or disguises bad features, and make sure they aren’t the fingerprint-smudged, 8th grade kind.
Glasses on women, however, are a different story. I only recommend glasses on women as a fashion accessory to be rotated in when wearing demurely sexy librarian work outfits. Normal, non-funky frames generally make women look squirrely but can occasionally be appropriate to convey a “fuck off” when experiencing a hangover. Worn at the right time, zany glasses can actually be a real career-advancer. For instance, I wore the above-pictured diamond rhinestone
vajazzled (strangely/vaguely NSFW) bedazzled glasses to a second round firm interview because I heard that the firm was “quirky.” One of my interviewers commented that my glasses were very “70s Elton John” which, while clearly a good thing in general, turned out to be exactly what the firm was looking for. Otherwise, contacts for women are a better work look.
I hope this helps.
I rock the glasses (my 20/20 vision is just another thing I had going into law school that I’d lost by the time I quit Debevoise). I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this.
Glass are great for sex. It’s a subtle, sensual moment when you take off your glasses — a great indication that things have progressed to closing time. They’re also great for drama and fighting: you can really emphasize your argument by taking off your glasses and pointing them at somebody, and taking off your frames is how you say “you wanna take this outside” without wasting precious breath.
They pretty much suck for everything else.
Glasses are easy to lose, expensive to replace, and reek with the stench of bad genes and failing body parts. Distinguished? If men have their way, in twenty years Cosmo is going to come up with an article where “women” say that Viagra makes men look distinguished too. Every woman who rocks glasses thinks she’s looking like Tina Fey or the apocryphal sexy librarian — but she doesn’t. She looks like a candidate for a reality makeover show. You can’t escape the fact that wearing glasses tells the world that a fundamental part of your anatomy doesn’t work right.
Contacts are great if you consistently have the sober dexterity to poke around in your eyes. People don’t know that you’re fundamentally flawed, and what you lose in drama queen ability you gain in the appearance of youth and vitality. How is that not helpful for your career? Young and normal > old and broken. To the extent that anybody even knows you wear contacts, they also convey the appearance of a stable life. You have to take them out and stuff and you can’t very well do that if you are liable to end up in the bathroom of some person you picked up at your local truckstop that evening.
Lasik is the gateway drug of cosmetic surgery. One day you’re letting a doctor carve your eyes with lasers, and the next thing you know you’re getting the Debrahlee Lorenzana package. (Shameless plug: if you are interested in that package, call Lat’s parents.)
So go with the contacts. Unless you like sex and drama and have an alcohol problem. If so, glasses were always your only choice.
Earlier: Prior installments of pls hndle thx