Monday, January 30, 2006

I finally have enough cash in the bank to consider LASIK, so why am I balking?

In a nutshell: I'm afraid if I ditch my glasses, I'll be seen as less competent at work.

After 20 years wearing glasses, you'd think that I'd jump at the chance to get rid of them. I'm sick of needing them to drive, to read the computer monitor, to see the television clearly. Granted, my eyes aren't so bad that I can't see the alarm clock or walk across the room without them, but they're still a teensy ball-and-chain that I've had since 7th grade.

I recently moved and went from working in a very woman-centered environment in which looks didn't play a part in how intelligent people perceived you to be (race was another matter, unfortunately), to a privately owned company which is sneakily sexist and blatantly nepotistic. Because I otherwise fit in to the typical American beauty standard (thin, blonde, busty), I tend to use my glasses as a way to give off an air of seriousness, to give credence to the qualifications that got me this job in the first place. Other parts of my "disguise" are wearing my hair pulled back and dressing more conservatively than my co-workers.

Part of me wants to say "fuck'em" and get the surgery and show them that a woman can be attractive AND intelligent, but there's still that little voice in the back of my head telling me that sometimes in order to get ahead you have to play by shitty rules. In the end, I'll probably wait a few months, go with the surgery, and then find another job if I feel that I'm getting treated differently. Sucks that I even have to consider the workplace's reaction before I do something that would ultimately make my life easier in every other aspect.


Blogger Sycamore said...

I hear you. I had the same concerns when I had lasik done. While it may sound silly, I just had clear lenses put in my glasses and wear them when I feel the need/desire. I still like glasses as an acessory.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

I also think it might not be as much an issue now that you are older. You're good at what you do, and you have experience at it. You've got an overall vibe of competence that I really don't think is dependent on your glasses.

If you still feel like you need them as a prop/accessory, nothing wrong with doing what Syc did.

I'm considering getting this done within the year as well, and I hadn't really thought about work implications. I doubt anyone would really notice.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Grace said...

I'm considering doing it as well, and hadn't thought much about this implication. I do know, however, that I started wearing my hair short for some of the reasons you indicate. You're not alone. It sucks, though, to think that we've got to modify our appearances in order to increase our chance of being taken seriously. What bullshit.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Gyratory Circus said...

"I also think it might not be as much an issue now that you are older."

I still think I look pretty young for my age - I know that's part of my hesitation.

9:13 AM  
Blogger purplest said...

I havent had surgery but I wear contact lenses. I got them about 10 years agao after wearing (and hiding behind) my glasses since I was 7 and it was one of the most liberating things I have ever done. Apart from anything else I can see so much better, I can play sport better, I can scuba dive, I can get a cake out of the oven without fogging up and I can kiss without getting my glassess squashed into my face. Its been lifechanging.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Gyratory Circus said...

I tried contacts but they just didn't work. I always knew they were there, they took way too much time to fuss with, and because I have astigmatism, they were pretty damn expensive. I really wanted to like them, but they drove me crazy,

4:51 PM  

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