By Julie Slowinski
We’re revisiting a past Julie tale while we anxiously await her next adventure!
A little preface: This story takes place entirely in boy mode. But as you will see, it has much relevance to Julie time.
I’m kinda new around here, so many of you might not know that glasses are a must for me. At a distance it’s not too bad, but when it comes to reading I’m blind as a bat. I was using readers for a long time, but 3 years ago I got graded bifocals and I couldn’t be happier. The best part is that my mostly boy mode frames also work in Julie mode. In fact, those glasses are kind of a signature look for Julie.
A little sidebar here. In boy mode, I often come out to random people (mostly but not exclusively to Uber drivers, typically on my way home after a Julie outing). I do this by showing them a picture on my phone and ask if they know this person. They’re always puzzled and have no idea. After a few moments, I point to my glasses and say, look at her glasses. Suddenly their eyes get wide, “Is that you?!?” Then, we get to talk about my identity and hopefully they come away with a better understanding of our community or at least they can put a human face in place of the caricature.
Okay, back to the story. So, today I went back to the eye doctor for a checkup with the plan of getting new glasses, but essentially the same frames, which I did do. But, I also wanted to get contact lenses. Glasses are cute on Julie, but there’s lots of times when she looks better without them. A larger concern is putting on eye makeup – it’s nearly impossible for me to see what I’m doing without glasses and I cannot do my eyes with the glasses on. Basically, I’ve resorted to putting on eyeliner purely by sense of touch. Then, I’ll put my glasses back on to see how it turned out – pretty much the Mr. Magoo approach. Having contacts for only this purpose has been something I’ve wanted for quite some time.
So, I told the doctor my interest in contacts to see up close and get other glasses to see at a distance. Another side bar. When I first arrived in the office, I noticed a young Asian woman working there who was rather fashion forward and I was totally admiring her outfit, especially her awesome black, lace up, ankle boots. I figured she was one of frame specialists, cuz they’re usually quite fashionable. But, it turned out she was the eye doctor. I guess she wasn’t all that young. Must be that I’m just old. In any case, to my question about contact lenses, she said, “That’s not usually how we do things for folks with bifocals. Usually, the contacts are to see at a distance and one would use readers for up close.” I think she could see my dejected look and said, “Not to worry, we have other options.” She proceeded to describe some new bifocal contact lens technology with concentric circles and I was like, okay let’s give it a try. So, she got some samples and apparently the technology is still developing, cuz the up close part was not working and I could barely read anything on my phone.
After trying a couple other samples, I took a deep breath and did what I figured I would need to do. I explained that I’m ‘kinda non-binary’ and I often wear makeup. And further explained my problem specifically with eye makeup. And she was like, “Oh, I get it now.” She asked, So how close do you want to see. I was like, “Well, close enough to put on eyeliner.” I added, “How close do you get to put on eye makeup?” Pretty close, she said. By the way, the black line just above her upper lashes was perfectly straight and enviously immaculate. After a few hand calculations on her note pad, she stepped out to get the samples. We got them in and it was exactly what I was looking for. She gave me a mirror and I was almost giddy, saying, “I cannot remember the last time I’ve seen my eyes so clearly.” I think she could sense my elation and said, “I guess I should have listened to you in the first place.” I could see a little smile on her face that said, “I love my job and my ability to make people happy.”
Let me add this additional little detail. At the beginning of the examination, she asked me what I do for a living. Turned out she knows the company I work at quite well. Did this come to my mind before I came out to her? Of course it did. Do I have regrets, despite the fact that she might out me? Not in the least. Her response to my openness was so positive that I cannot imagine her doing anything other than feeling proud that she was able to help someone on the transgender spectrum. In my experience, this is the attitude of most people. It’s all about trust. Gifting people with our trust is extremely powerful. In most cases, they will feel honored that we have let them into this most private aspect of our lives.
The last step was glasses on top of the contacts, so I could see at a distance. She pulled out some lenses from her desk drawer and said how do these work? She added, “Okay, so the contacts will basically make you near sighted. So, with the glasses you’ll be able to see at a distance, but will need to take them off to read – same as any near sighted person.” I guess this is why they usually do it the other way round.
My daily bifocals were rather expensive, so I didn’t get the additional near sighted glasses there. But, I made sure I got a printout of the prescription. Here’s the best part. The lenses for those types of glasses are simple and cheap, so I can now try out all sorts of feminine style frames from a multitude of cheap online suppliers. Once I got home, I immediately ordered a pair of my usual style frames ($25 in basic black), just to start testing out the contacts – won’t be able to keep them in for any length of time without the glasses part. I’m so looking forward to experimenting with bolder colors and maybe those giant frames that are in fashion right now – might help my face look smaller. Oh, and definitely gonna be getting some diva sunglasses.
Okay, let’s get to the bottom line. In addition to sharing my excitement about this recent eyewear development, I think the point of this story is that one need not be in girl mode to enjoy our feminine side. Many times the preparation can be just as enjoyable as game time.