When I was four I must have bumped into the fridge one too many times as Mum rushed me to the local optometrist. One of my earliest memories is liking the touch of his hands on my face as he fitted my first pair of frames. I was severely short sighted, and as the years went on the lenses only got thicker. As a lifelong member of Four Eyes United (we’re taking the term back), I can tell you it’s a proud society, whose members know the sacrifices they’ve made to earn the ‘square flair’ they enjoy today. Recently there’s been a battle for membership, and I’m championing to keep it exclusively to those who have been diagnosed with Visual Aids.

Long before geek chic there was just geek. In high school I had a bowl cut and Napolean Dynamite wire frames with heavy glass lenses earning me the name Coke Bottles. Instead of being picked on, I was studied with awe and my ticket through school was letting the tough kids try on my specs. “Fuck they’re thick!” they’d exclaim, staggering about. “Oh man, it’s like I’m stoned!” In Grade Nine I upgraded to plastic lenses and while much lighter, I was dismayed that they’d grown even thicker. Throw in some poor posture and I was pretty much a young Professor Farnsworth from Futurama. I enjoyed three years without a skerrick of interest from the opposite sex.

Being a surf club nipper I had prescription goggles. These stuck out because of the magnification and my rivals called me Blowfly. Before that I just used to wear my glasses in the sea tied up with underpants elastic. I can remember games of football being paused while I pawed around in the mud looking for my grizzled frames. In Grade Ten I upgraded to contacts and enjoyed improved vision and handsomeness, but they brought with them a new set of teary problems. Drunken sleepovers would end with me sloshing kettle water over two bottle tops and footy games had to be called off altogether while my team crawled around on all fours. One of the pleasures of the Four Eyes United is bumping into a fellow myope and sharing such war stories.

These days trying to pick genuine bifocal folk is like Harrison Ford trying to pick the replicants in Blade Runner. Fauxhemians have gatecrashed the party, bringing an eyesore of obnoxiously oversized frames that are so fad based they don’t even bother with lenses. If only they were doing it out of empathy, like classmates who shave their heads for a cancer victim, but no, this is surely one of fashion’s most hollow attempts to cash in on a subculture who have endured years of obscurity to cultivate their own grass roots cool. Seriously hipsters – as chairman of the F.E.U. I’m sending a message:


Specs have always been part of the ‘hot librarian’ ensemble, but let us not forget they are also pieces of equipment worn by the visually impaired. How would fashion feel about getting ironic with other medical necessities. How about wearing designer orthopaedic shoes to your next warehouse party, or carrying a glow in the dark walking stick at music festivals. Braces bling? Vintage print sling? Fixed gear wheelchairs? Man, if Darwin Deez can make a brown skivvy and government issue frames cool then surely there’s no limit to the shallow appropriation of daggy doodads.

Some glasses make you look smarter, some glasses make you look like a paedophile –  The Beautiful People™ wear them for both these reasons. As a lifetime spectacles wearer, I’m offended at the idea of them being used ironically or aesthetically. When so much of my indie taste has already been commodified, must another of my ‘favourite bands’ sell-out? Listen up glassholes – you and your fashion cronies just back away from our optometric territory or feel the wrath of our cleaning spray in your face. There’s only one way to join the F.E.U. and that’s by taking an eye test. See how far you get down these letters:



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