I Wear Fake Glasses

I wear glasses that are not prescription. My glasses are not real, in the sense that they do not help me see, but saying they are not real is actually absurd. They are very real, based on our shared definition of what constitutes ‘glasses.’ They have frames. They have lenses inside those frames. They fit comfortably upon my face. They exist in the physical universe, so they are real. What they don’t have is an obvious purpose.

My glasses do not help me see. They do not allow me to perceive the world any better than I already do. What they do is allow the world to perceive me differently.

Recently, I wrote an essay about Lana Del Rey and her inherently inauthentic brand. I mocked her for her pretentions, yet I also wallow in my own similar need to be seen as transcending my limitations. She can be Lizzy Grant one day and Lana Del Rey the next. She can sing about situations and events she’s never actually experienced, because she is playing a part. She is performing. She is her brand, but her brand is not necessarily her. I cannot deny her the right to that brand or the metaphorical mask of artistic achievement she wears since my glasses serve a similar purpose.

We are all trapped in a culture that requires we define ourselves. Every one of us yearns to be special. The great irony is that we can never concisely communicate who we are. A human being is something different to everyone that exists inside his or her sphere of influence. To my mother, I will always be the baby who smeared mashed potatoes on his face. To my former lovers, I’m the guy whose spare house keys they still have on their keychain. To my co-workers, I’m the smug jerk who takes more than one bag of Doritos from the break room because he’s too cheap to buy lunch.

In order to combat this, I make a concerted effort to broadcast my interests. I desire to affect the conversations people are having about me in private, despite knowing that I’ll likely never experience the substance of the communication. Wearing glasses I don’t need is shorthand for all the quirks, eccentricities and insecurities I have that I want the world to use to define me.

In a sense, this is inauthentic. I do not need to wear glasses. I choose to wear glasses. I do not believe this is significantly different from a man putting a metal spike through his genitals in order to seem edgier or getting a tattoo of a dragon on his face. I am also striving to appear more interesting than I believe I am. I do this through wearing my glasses. The preconceived notions the world has about me are filtered through this deliberate prism of inauthentic accoutrement.

A lack of authenticity can be liberating in some ways, mostly in relationships. The more honest feeling you put into a romantic coupling, the greater the chance you have of being colossally disappointed by your partner. My intrinsic need to be vulnerable has allowed me to be perpetually heartbroken by a litany of women I expected to be ‘the one.’  Many of the women in my life ended up deciding to reject me after we shared a deep level of intimacy.

It’s often been said that my candor and emotional honesty are my strengths, but it rarely feels that way when dumped by someone you love. On the contrary, it feels like the very thing holding me back from being happy. After my most recent colossal romantic failure, I made it a point to hide. I’ve chosen to retreat from emotional entanglements and exist solely within myself.

Obviously, there is a disconnect between a man saying he wants to cease being vulnerable and a man saying that very same thing in public, on the internet. It’s highly contradictory, but contradiction and complexity might also be exactly what I want to project. All of these ‘confessions’ might be fabricated in order to generate sympathy and attention. Perhaps my brand is ‘complicated, confused loner.’ I could leave it up to the reader to decide, but that goes against what I firmly believe is true about myself. I am who I want to be, not who I am.

I decided to wear glasses because I want to be someone else. I don’t want to be the sad guy who got dumped by a girl. I’d much prefer being aloof, quiet and alone writing tales of woe for strangers to read. I can be the ‘troubled artist’ I’ve always admired. My glasses allow me to tell the world, rather than be told by it. My glasses define me, and the tragic realization is that I want to be fake, because being real is just too painful.

Plus, glasses make you look smarter. TC mark

image – Shutterstock


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  • macgyver51

    Consolidating this down into one sentence. “I’m shallow and self absorbed, yet I have the audacity to point it out in others.”

  • Klaira

    Let your freak flag fly, babe.

  • http://twitter.com/RonanConway Christopher Conway

    ThoughtCatalog has at last stepped over the line into becoming a parody of itself.

    • Asdf

      So meta.

  • Alison

    I see where you are coming from and I understand what you  are doing here, yet I can’t get over the resentment I have for people who perpetuate these ideas about people with glasses. I get asked on an almost daily basis if my glasses are real, and I always had the same response- “of course they’re real, who the fuck wears fake glasses?” Who wants people to believe their eyesight is bad? Do people think that makes you look vulnerable and tortured? It honestly doesn’t. It doesn’t make you look smarter either, at least not to me. It says, “Hi, my eyesight is bad.”
    Since when did blindness become chic?

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    Take ’em off, baby!

  • Thalia

    dude you need to get your housekeys from your former lovers. 

  • Rishtopher

    Admittedly, I read the title and I was already getting ready to write something lame like “Oh man, I hate people who wear fake glasses. Who the Hell is this guy?”

    Then I read this and I can see that it’s really well written. Well done, I enjoyed the read! 

  • brononymous

    Lol they don’t have lenses.  A lens magnifies.  Thus, fake glasses.

  • lalala

    i have 500 -525 vision. it sucks when i see people wearing fake glasses because i know for a fact damage eyesight is not cool. and you want to be perceived as some weakling? 

    ok i get you, but i dont.

  • Ella McJayne

    This article almost, ALMOST convinced me… but poor eyesight is essentially a handicap… Non-disabled people don’t ride around in wheelchairs to appear more vulnerable, do they?? 

    Although I DO agree that glasses make people appear more intelligent.. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11705873 David Schilling

      If I *almost* convinced you, I think that’s a success.

  • Guest

    Being seen as something that you’re not is your choice. Some people see through the bs, and some people can empathize with why you’d like to be perceived as disabled, smarter etc. 

    The wheel chair comparison makes the most sense here. your glasses are fake – they don’t have lenses. They have mini windows. they’re a joke. thus you are coming off as a joke.

  • yt

    I had to wear glasses since I was 6. And being someone who is dependent on prescription to make my world clear, seeing people with fake glasses irks me, I just think “you don’t need glasses to prove you’re smart dammit, why dontcha just appreciate your 20/20 vision”.

    Not saying you can’t, just wondering if other blind bats out there felt the same…

  • Smitty

    You would like to be taken seriously by wearing glasses that are fake. Start by not being fake yourself!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11705873 David Schilling

      I admit to being fake.

      • Jacurutu22

        And that’s supposed to redeem you?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11705873 David Schilling

        No. I don’t believe I ever asked for redemption in this.

  • susan

    wow.  so many haters. i’ve been wearing prescription glasses since i was 8- that’s almost 20 years.  i’ve never once thought about my need to wear glasses as a disability. that seems too limiting. why would i want to limit myself like that?

    i’ve also never considered cosmetic glasses wearers to be people to hate upon. wearing glasses as an accessory is akin to piercings, jewelry and make-up. seriously, people- there’s nothing wrong with people expressing themselves through fashion!

    • SwedePea

      Well said! This is exactly what was going through my mind, why would anyone hate on him for preferring a certain fashion accessory? Meh, haters can’t help but want to make everyone else miserable like them, I guess.

      • Anda

        I think the point people are making is they are not a fashion accessory but a necessity for some people to see. Personally it just seems a bit dumb…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11705873 David Schilling


  • http://dirtyyoungmen.wordpress.com Maxwell Chance

    Haha, I love the last line.

    You don’t need glasses but want them. I need glasses but don’t want them. Isn’t that how it always goes? 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6IFPDSFKEQJE2ZPP3ASE35MRL4 Laura

    I’ve been wearing fake glasses since 3rd grade to feel smarter. I gotchu,  Dave.

  • guest

    your ruse will be over immediately once they get knocked off your head and any reflexive squinting or fishing for focus is mysteriously absent! also, in the aftermath, the lack of genuine despair that your eyesight will have the resolution of an impressionist painting until said spectacles are fixed. (not saying… …just saying)

    sources: a football – age10, being hit by a car – age18, bicycle accident – age22, etc.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11705873 David Schilling

      You’ve had a rough life, ‘Guest.’

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514965701 Gonzalo Mauricio Garcia Villeg

    Dear Sir, you’re a fucking poser. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11705873 David Schilling

    This guy ‘gets me.’

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      this guy ‘sees you’

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11705873 David Schilling

        We all ‘see’ so much. Especially when we wear fake glasses.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

        sometimes i wish i had 20/20 vision. glasses aren’t appropriate in a lot of situations. lens glare. you can’t look at the sun. pepper spray has ~30% chance of being blocked. contact lenses are better in terms of activities. i hate running with glasses. fuck glasses. fuck milk. fuck brussels sprouts.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

        if you wear ‘fake’ glasses with -7 vision, you can’t ‘see’ much. 

  • http://twitter.com/kaimcn Kai

    I don’t wear the glasses that I (kind of need), I wear glasses that don’t do anything (to help me see). I’m cool with it.

  • http://tbaugh.com Travis Baugh

    feel like this article is a pretty clever joke 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11705873 David Schilling


  • Thomas

    God dammit.
    Now I know what happened to all of the goth kids who wrote bad poetry and short stories.

    They became hip bloggers typing and moaning about why they should be allowed to wear fake glasses.
    This post was a real chore to read. So many unnecessary words.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11705873 David Schilling

      Yeah. I used ‘the’ way too much.

  • Cassie Euchner


    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11705873 David Schilling


  • Hawkes

    Brave article. I am short sighted and alternate between contact lenses and glasses. I wear contacts mostly, but switch to glasses for occasions (meetings/some dates) where I would like to be perceived as more mature and intelligent. So although I am actually visually impaired, my glasses are an unnecessary accessory that I use to create an illusory air of intelligence. I getcha.

  • Jennifer

    You’re the reason why I get asked all the time if I’m just wearing my glasses to be ironic! I’m not, I’m almost fucking blind.

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