I have a pair of hipster glasses that I nearly never wear. They're tiny little wireframe things, the lenses a very rounded-off octagonal shape, not much bigger than my eyes themselves.
I bought them in the early Aughts, when my hair was longish, and I tended toward laziness in the shaving department. I labored under the apprehension that they gave me something of a Benjamin Franklin aura, suggesting an aging eighteenth-century rakehell with an eye for a well-turned calf, a nose for scientific discovery, and well-honed skill for putting the latter in service to the former. I pictured myself in a Paris salon circa 1780, fascinating the throngs with "To Anacreon in Heav'n" on the Glass Armonica and setting the ladies a-twitter with my Leyden Jar, administering mild electric shocks to the naughty bits.
Funny, what a pair of glasses can do.
The Ben Franklin delusion was shattered when I submitted to a haircut a few months later. I tend to go all-in on haircuts, never trusting a mere trim to preserve the spirit of the coiffure. Far too many times have I allowed some black-clad fashionista to have his or her way with my locks, only to cringe at the asymmetrical horror that glared balefully at me from the mirror upon scissors-down. No, far better to crop the whole thing down to the scalp, leaving a bit of fun on top, and then let the mess grow out to shoulder length again. Thus is happiness preserved -- and, haircuts reduced to one or (at most) two a year, the savings are substantial. A penny saved being, after all, as my patron saint of eyewear once observed, a penny earned.
But donning my hipster glasses after one such shearing was an awful revelation. My eighteenth-century lothario was gone. In his place there sat instead a policy wonk, the second-string Washington figure that haunts the periphery of the Sunday gabfests waiting to fill in for an ailing Charles Krauthammer or Fred Barnes. I looked like the sort of bowtied academic twat who sits in a well-appointed office at the American Enterprise Institute and comes up with justifications for disgustingly amoral policies, for the failure of which neither he nor anyone in his miserable profession will never be held accountable: Numbers supporting an Iraq Surge? Possible deaths of five hundred US troops and uncounted thousands of Iraqi civilians? For the purpose of quelling virtually universal home-front dissatisfaction with the miserable progress of your war of choice against the wrong enemy? Coming right up, sir! Next Tuesday sound about right?
The glasses, needless to say, came off immediately. On went the contact lenses I keep in reserve.
This morning, however, on a whim, I put them on again. A certain satisfying post-operative shagginess has set in, hair beginning to tickle the collar, salt-and-pepper beard filling in. Given a few more weeks of hirsuteness, it begins to seem possible that Monsieur Franklin just might make a comeback at the salon. Attendez-bien, mesdames!