It’s been nearly 80 years since Dorothy Parker summed it up for bespectacled ladies everywhere with her astute quip, “men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses”. While eye wear fashion has evolved aesthetically since the Great Depression, the sentiment surrounding wearing them, particularly for women, remains as archaic as ever.
I never felt as attractive wearing my glasses as I did without them. The day I got my first pair of contacts at age 16 was one of the happiest of my teenage years. I would even get up early in the morning, completely antithetical to my nature, to struggle to putt them in before school. In fact, vanity was one of my major motivators when it came to laser eye surgery, which I underwent last week. It was an enticing preposition: total liberation from glasses and contacts if you can withstand a 3 minute procedure tantamount to psychological torture.
If I was going on a first date with someone, I wouldn’t think twice about putting my contacts in. I’d do it before I picked out an outfit. I might even break out new ones for the occasion so that my eyes weren’t itchy and flushed red. I usually waited until at least the third date to wear my glasses, and then it was only to bookend the day, late at night and early in the morning.
This isn’t to say that all men are turned off by a woman with glasses. Most porn sites have a category for glasses boasting an assortment of bespectacled ladies. When I investigated these sections, I spotted a few trends. What I found most refreshing was that many of the subjects simply seemed like ordinary women who happened to be wearing glasses, or in some cases, dangling them from their pouty lips. It’s nice to know the “geek chic” look is alive and well in the porn industry.
There were quite a few photos that took the glasses fetish a step further. Some of the women were wearing exaggerated schoolgirl-inspired looks, complete with oversized black plastic glasses, as if to emphasize that “young girl playing dress up” look. And it almost goes without saying that there were several pictures featuring glasses streaked with globs of white cum. That’s actually a smart idea for a facial, shielding your eyes from a direct squirt.
So what is it about wearing glasses that can either attract or repel a prospective partner? For one, glasses generally connote erudite intelligence, a predilection towards big words and books. While I’m definitely the kind of woman who isn’t afraid to flaunt her intelligence, I’m a walking oxymoron as I still wouldn’t be caught dead wearing my ugly old glasses on the first date, although I wouldn’t be disappointed if my date showed up wearing glasses. I find that they make a man look refined and mature.
As much as it pains me to admit it, we live in a society where men are still intimidated by smart women. As feminist critic Maureen Dowd noted in the New York Times, “the aroma of male power is an aphrodisiac for women, but the perfume of female power is a turnoff for men. It took women a few decades to realize that everything they were doing to advance themselves in the boardroom could be sabotaging their chances in the bedroom, that evolution was lagging behind equality.”
She cites a 2005 study conducted by researchers at four British universities that found that for every 16-point increase in IQ for men, their marriage prospects rise by 35%, compared with a 40% drop for women over a similar IQ increase.
It’s interesting to consider how online dating fits into all of this. One aspect of online dating that attracted me most, especially as a writer, is how much words truly matter. You can ascertain a great deal from a person by their style of writing and the level of attention they pay to spelling and grammar. For me, the initial attraction online is all about intellect and wit; being your most charming self after 3 glasses of wine and a half hour on thesaurus.com.
It’s estimated that up to three-quarters of the population require some type of vision correction, with about 10% of those people opting for contact lenses. After scanning through a number of OK Cupid profiles, I saw only a handful of females sporting spectacles in their profile pictures, far less than what the statistics would suggest. While it’s nice to see high-profile women like Tina Fey re-appropriating the sexy librarian look, it seems like we still have a ways to go before glasses give us the same feelings of attractiveness as going without.