Sunday, August 22, 2010

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times – Chapter 47

#47 - “Don't wear your glasses, they hide your true beauty and make you look weak.”

This morning as I perused the list of one hundred things my mom taught me a million times, seeking my elusive muse, #47 jumped up, grabbed my hand and said, “C’mon SueAnn, pick me! I always make you smile!” I often mock mom’s one hundred things, but there’s an esoteric little fold of gray matter snuggled away in my noodle that senses a fundamental, albeit chafing truth in her lessons. And gal-howdy this lesson is loaded. There is the glasses thing, and the not wearing of them, there’s the “hiding true beauty,” thing, and of course, the land mine, “looking weak.”

Let’s start with glasses. I wonder if I would have made better grades in high school if I’d been able to see? On the other hand, at least my school photos didn’t include cat-eye glasses.

Epiphany Pause! So that’s why I dropped my baton a lot! I was a twirler, and apparently a visually impaired one at that. Click on Read More Below...

Even when mom was in her 90’s she’d look at me and say (for the millionth time), “Why do you wear glasses?” To which I always replied, “To see.” To which she invariably countered, “They are a crutch. If you wear glasses, it makes your eyes weak.” The implication being that eyes need a workout, like muscles, or they’ll atrophy. That place in my noodle is tingling again!

Moving on to “true beauty,” and the hiding of it behind glasses. This is one of the more labyrinthine concepts in my mom’s élan. Let’s just say that authenticity was of a slightly different anatomy in mom’s world. True beauty not only allowed cosmetics and practiced charm, it demanded it. Looking good was #1. Seeing was waaaay down on the list. And if in fact, eyes are the window to the soul, designer plastic suspended between ears and perched on a nose does seem a deterrent to mining psyches.

So to the issue of glasses making people “look weak.” Have you ever noticed that almost immediately after actors become famous their stylist adds a pair of glasses to their ensemble– seemingly to demonstrate that they’re not just a pretty face? Mom never embraced the concept of glasses making you look smarter though. To her they just made you look weak. Which begs the question, why was my mom worried about me looking weak, and what did she mean when she said “weak?”

I no sooner typed that question then knew the answer. Mom’s mettle was woven from the personal precept that women should be simultaneously feminine and beautiful, smart and powerful. To her this meant looking good, and never showing weakness.

So mom was right. Don't wear your glasses, they hide your true beauty and make you look weak. I’m looking into Lasik eye surgery first thing Monday morning!



  1. Of course, she was wrigte! Or, rite. Or....Oh, whatever! I lok grate wrighting ths! Jane (Irene)

  2. Sue--
    I've told you before, but it's perhaps been too long. I DO enjoy your pieces. Of course, they're about you and your mom's relationship, but my mom was raised by your mom too, and I've heard quite a few of the things from my mom that you heard from yours.
    While I don't always succeed in cleaning-while-cooking, my preferred way to eat a home-cooked meal is with all the cooking stuff in the dish-drainer, and the counter tops cleared. Never thought to wonder where I got that from 'til I read your point, but I suspect it's from my ma.
    Anyway, your articles seem like a low-grade, highly-focused sociology a familial sense. But they're entertaining, too.

  3. I love that you read my posts. I especially love hearing back from family members. And I really love that you posted your comments! Thanks!

    "Aunt Sue"

  4. One time, while visiting Mommy Wade in Iraan, we ate lunch at the cafe. We were quickly surrounded by dirty, smelly, hard-working men. Mommy said to me, "None of these men will look twice at you with those glasses on!" Not only did I not want any of them to look at me, but I had been married for about 6 years at the time. It didn't matter, of course, because I should always look attractive for men. Right?

    Mom went with her for an eye appointment one time and the doctor very clearly stated that she should wear glasses when driving (mom made sure he clarified that) and Mommy announced afterwards, "And the doctor says I don't need to wear glasses when I drive!" We were glad she drove that very large, very solid cadilac, but whenever someone else was around, they drove instead. I suspect that when she was driving in Iraan, the word was spread and everyone got off the street.