Age has caused me to take an interest in fashion as a way to preserve my fading youth. I am following well trodden steps in this regard such as William Hague when he reached for a baseball hat and hung out with the Boyz in the Hood. Behind the scenes, the remainder of my body is entering the penultimate lap towards its inevitable consumption by worms or the lapping flames of the Council Crematorium.
An important route I have followed in this regard is in my choice of glasses.
While recognising that assistance is required for my eyes, I am firmly of the view that this will not come from contact lenses or laser eye surgery. As regards the former, I believe the natural order of things is to take things out of my eyes rather than put them in. On the basis that my fingers have sausage-esque features causing them to be unable to programme the satnav on a consistent basis, the likely success of installing a small circle of bendy plastic that I cannot see into eyes that cannot see is as about as certain as a Labour landslide at the next General Election.
As regards laser surgery or anything involving a knife and my eyes, I would prefer to take my chances. While I recognise the many positives of the human race, the existence of the Darwin awards for the most ridiculous ways to die, unsecured personal debt, religious belief,alarming levels of sugar in our diet and the Conservative Party education policy cause me to have no faith in the human race making it better.
Glasses constitute facial furniture that once erected should not be removed. Dispensing with them would be like removing the porch from the front of a house - the frontage would be irretrievably altered and you would have nowhere to put your shoes.
I make one exception to this which comes from my recurrent dream to remove the glasses of a bespectacled beautiful woman whilst breathing into her ear "Miss Jones, I had not appreciated - you are beautiful" knowing full well that as she was not wearing her glasses, she would not realise that I wasn't. This will however have to remain a dream as the strong words Mrs Pickwick would have for me if I did this and retaliatory action which would inevitably ensue would be too much to bear.
It is the makers of glasses that I have a problem with. Opticians are one of those industries where capitalist swine have managed to stack all of the cards against the consumer recognising that the ability to see properly is so fundamental that you will not question what you pay for it. It holds this accolade with belt manufacturers (the alternative being for your trousers to fall down), condom manufacturers (the alternative being for one's acorns to grow into mighty oaks) and anything that makes you feel superior (the alternative being too dreadful to bear).
Glasses like concrete lions proudly located at the entrance of some prosperous drives across Essex are a statement of both the person's aspirations and the person themselves. The twin objective of finding frames that reflect self and aspiration creates significant challenge. The outcome can be unexpected.
In my travels, I came across an optician with only one London shop with a range of eclectic glasses. The colourful selection was accompanied by Pince-Nez (armless glasses that sit on your nose and remain off more than they are on, particularly during movement) and lorgnettes (glasses held in place with a handle rather than arms, particular prevalent among maiden aunt characters in the novels of G.K. Chesterton).
Finding the frames that I felt exhibited the aspirational me from this Optician, I showed them to one of the Pickwick daughters whose face screwed up instantly with disgust when she saw them.
"Dad, you would look like a nudist if you wore those".
This was a slow burning put down, which engaged gently but increased in its destructive force as it burrowed through my flesh, like a dum-dum bullet. The problem was that I knew what she meant. While not necessarily suggesting I would dispense with my wrapping during high days and holidays, her observation recognised that I was in that part of the Venn diagram which recorded that I might.
And Mrs Pickwick was so forthright in her disgust that I cannot bear even to quote her even in these virtual pages.
In situations like this, any reasonable man must be sympathetic to maintain family peace despite the Pickwick women's affront to my front. I had to consider the alternatives.
There are other types of glasses offered by High Street Opticians enabling wearers to both live the dream and recognise what is in front of them without mishap. Choice available enables the individual to look like John Lennon, Johnny Depp, a pilot and a typical adult male from the 1950s. There is however no option available to enable me to represent that I am a man with an unkempt herbaceous border, the face of a Spaniel, who has been known to wee in the compost heap to improve the nutrient level and aid composting and a tendency to chase sticks. I have experimented with nudism in my younger day but consider the climate and social media to be limiting factors. The obvious choice using these criteria would be "doggles". While having the advantage that they would remain on if I chose to pursue a cat, they come in one size only and thus rule themselves out.
The frame choice can only therefore be a sub-set of the whole persona unless of course you are Johnny Depp, sing in a Beatles tribute band or need them to fly a plane.
The angst associated with this process means that I am without new frames relying instead on multiple pairs of old glasses with out of date prescriptions which are frequently lost in the garden and replaced with cheap emergency pairs. The outcome therefore is that they do not reflect my hopes and dreams, only the real me - out of focus and often to be found on the floor of the bathroom. While this may suggest a young Keith Richard, I think it is time to invest in a new role model.