Older Age

The Optician, the chin hairs and the emergency tweezers


“No thank you, contact lenses are for people who don’t have fart for brains,” is what I should have said instead of “Ooh, I’ve never tried them, let’s have a go.”

But it was the embarrassment.

The embarrassment of leaving foundation stains on the little shelf they make you lean your chin on for the eye exam, and then his ophthalmic mirror mega-enlarging already enlarged pores and magnifiying every hair on one’s chin, top lip and neck.

After that, you kinda feel the guy deserves something for having to flinch through such a mess. Hence the let’s make this guy’s day by making a fool of myself while trying contacts for the first time debacle.

Then the barely stifled scream when clocking that every hair on my chin, top lip and neck were WHITE. Mega, Magnifyingly, White.


“Sorry, Miss, are you okay.”

“YES. I. AM.  May I use your bathroom please?”

And the panic.

The panic where one stupid cow has not packed the emergency tweezers. Yeah, I have emergency tweezers. Well, not then, but usually.

“Ah, there you are. So, shall we go through that again?”

“No, I think I’ve got it. Left hand raises top right eyelid / middle finger, right hand pulls down bottom right eyelid / index finger, right hand pushes contact onto surface of eye.”

“Excellent, but I do have to see you do it before I can let you take some contacts home.”

“Of course you do. Okay, here we go.”

“That’s great…you’re nearly there, but you might find it easier if you unwrap the scarf from your face to give you a better working area.”

“It’s for protection. I’ve got mumps.”

“I’m not sure…”

“No, me neither. Shall we leave this contact wearing experiment for another day?”

“Fine, but we haven’t finished fitting your glasses.”

“Let’s have a look. They look great. I quilt so I can usually tell measurements…by eye.”

“I’m afraid that’s not usually how we do things. Look, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. It happens. Why only the other day…”

“Really? Thank you for that. I have been soooo embarrassed. Usually I have a pair of tweezers with me but I changed bags – something I never do because you always forget something don’t you – and I was a while in the bathroom because I was looking for them to pluck them out before having to sit staring into that mirror again while you stared at my large pores and white hairs. It’s so gratifying to know that I’m not the only one. I do like to take care of my appearance, but I had to leave home quickly this morning so I didn’t miss the bus, although I’m not sure my mirror would have caught all of them as it is quite a dark bathroom even with the light on. My late husband was fond of those energy saving bulbs that once switched on come into life Tuesday week and –

“Miss, I was going to say only the other day someone poked themselves in the eye when trying contacts for the first time.”

“Oh my God, I can see. I can see. Bye.”

HMS HerMelness Speaks