Styling Blinkers

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by Leandra Medine
January 3, 2013
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In which a note about great sunglasses becomes an expositional portrayal of the time I got a stye and thought it was eyelid cancer. Today, I am sure, I took it too far.

House of Holland sunglasses, $310, or $290 depending on where you’re buying them.

I bought these sunglasses last week. I wasn’t sure how I’d become so affected that justifying $290 dollars for a product the width of a fancy wedding invitation and only as functional as say, a pair of flippers, felt as trite as taking a shower, but then I remembered.

My bordering-on-obsessive relationship with eye-wear is an odd one. I once resolved that I could never spend more on sunglasses than I would on a gourmet sandwich because of my highly advanced misplacement capabilities. Still, I enjoyed the cheap thrill of a fresh pair of street vendor-harbored frames. By the time I was 21, I’d collected at very least 15 pairs from various Soho corners: some plastic, some metal, reflective lenses, distinct amber hues, round frames, aviators, you name it, I had them. Today, I still hold custody over only a measly three pair.

When I contracted a large, inflamed bruise over my left eye last year though, something changed. I was pretty sure the inflammation was the result of my letting mascara clumps dry on my lashes, and in a most sinister fashion, dig deep into my pinched lid. At first, it felt like I had manually inserted a piping hot pebble into it, which is nothing like it’s more experienced uncle, the hot stone massage. Every time I blinked, I was reminded of the inescapable pain quite literally staring me in the eye. I thought about the cautionary story I would to write to rid you the prospect of a hot pebble eyelid. “Wash your face,” I would forewarn, “or this could happen to you.” A terribly grotesque image of my eye would follow (the one above is a mere two months old) and before you could continue reading, you’d have to close your browser so fast, you wouldn’t even know I’d manipulated the image with photo booth.

But when my eye lid began swelling so wholly that I looked like the lone victim of a brutal gang fight (no photo booth manipulation necessary), I figured it high time to visit a brick and mortar doctor. The likelihood that my preferred physician, WebMD, would diagnose my escalating ailment as eyelid cancer was high. Previously, I had contracted two strains of terminal illness because of a backache and I just wasn’t in the mood to edit my eulogy again.

The following morning, I put on my sunglasses, got on the subway and headed toward the doctor. I felt like a true asshole sitting in a box car underground, reading a newspaper with sunglasses over my eyes (I’d have judged me so hard, who can even see the tiny print with sunglasses on?) but figured asshole was a far more viable than abused teenage has-been cum circus freak. My older brother, who rode the same route to work, reprimanded me. “Have you become so affected that you think you need to conceal your identity underground? You’re a fucking blogger.” I showed him my eye. “Yikes, sorry, that’s gross,” he corrected. I am pretty sure, too, I heard a passenger unbeknownst to either of us gasp at the fleeting sight. When I got to the doctor’s office, I refused to take the shades off.

“We’ve got a celebrity in here, have we?” the receptionist quipped.

“Swollen eyelid, actually,” I corrected, exposing a slight peek at the atrocity meteorically growing upon my lid. I’d never known how many people were so seriously offended by untimely sunglass-wearing.

While I sat in the doctor’s large, leather patient chair with my chin propped up against a plastic rest, I removed my blinkers to gaze at the optical meadow, waiting for me at the other end of the huge machine that nested it. My doctor was rather wrapped up in complaints about his divorce and its consequential settlement. “At least you can have your life back?” I tried to console him. “With three kids in private schools, I forfeited my life the minute I stuck it in her,” he retorted. I just wanted to know if I had eyelid cancer though. Was this the mascara’s fault? Would he have to cut my eyelid open to manually pluck the tumor out? Would I have to wear sunglasses all day, every day for the rest of my life? My grandmother once cautioned to be careful when buying street glasses. “They don’t block UV rays, you will go blind if you wear them long enough.” Blind? Come on, grandma. I couldn’t afford to think about it.

“Well, it’s a stye,” the doctor told me after a brief poke around my lid.

A stye? A stye? No, no. “I am a heedless individual, there is a clump in my lid.”

“Yes, ‘a clump,’” he assured. “Of pus.”

Prescribing me a low dose antibiotic to remedy the advancing stye, he continued on about his children, their eventual stepfather, and how ethically unfair it was that the fiscal responsibilities would remain his, lonesomely. I barely heard the noise, I was far too invested in my own mental objects. At last, no cancer, no mascara, no sunglasses. Admittedly, I’d become mildly worried that I would face bankruptcy at a tender 21 because I’d listened to my grandmother’s warning and replaced street frames with, say, Stella frames.

“Keep those sunglasses on though, the antibiotics won’t kick in fast enough,” the doctor suggested as I was walking out. That was rude.

On my march back down to the subway, I stopped at an unassuming shop on Lexington Avenue. I tried on a pair of clear, round Oliver Peoples frames. The lenses were blue and I was in love. They made me feel curiously decadent and though they were going to cost me $255, which had amounted to everything I had left in my debit account, I handed over my last bit of freedom, signed it away and put the sunglasses on. I never looked back.

And just like that, a note on House of Holland blinkers became an expositional portrayal of the time I got a stye, thought it was eyelid cancer, and bought a pair of Oliver Peoples sunglasses, which to this day, still remain in my possession. Now, on a scale from 1 to very fucking, how far did I push it this time?

REPLIES
  • http://twitter.com/StandOut_Blog Stand Out Blog
  • Megan

    Fucking love your manner of writing. That is all.

  • Nico
  • Oliver Lips

    Sorry, but the picture of your swollen eye made me laugh ;))
    Anyway, cool sunnies!

    Have a nice day,
    Oliver

    http://www.lips2lagerfeld.com
    http://www.lips2lagerfeld.com

  • Mary

    http://thestylenative.blogspot.co.uk/

    you are right, that was rude of him. AND uneccessary – but where the h*ll is the picture of you and the Peoples glasses please??!!

  • Denisa

    That sunnies are great and yes.. It was rude of him.

    http://www.fashiondenis.com/

  • Style Sandbox

    you look even more adorable with this huge eye :D

  • http://twitter.com/elenavasilieva Elena Vasilieva

    these glasses are awesome, though

    http://www.vasilievablog.com/

  • Louise

    Never have I commented in your site before, despite being a longtime reader, but this hit far too close to home. Last month I woke up with a similarly swollen eye! It was the pits. I couldn’t even open it, and I wore sunglasses in public (and at work) for 4 days before resigning and heading to my MD. Alas, mine was not a stye, but an allergic reaction to my husband (of a mere two months)’s dog. Now I wish I would’ve gotten a pair of new specs out of the whole ordeal.

  • monkeyshines

    stunning piece!

    Bises,
    monkeyshines
    http://monkeyshines-monkeyshines.blogspot.com/

  • Victoria

    I felt like such an asshole wearing sunglasses all the time/ indoors for weeks following laser eye surgery! and i too would have judged me !

  • Kassi

    HAHA! I too am a WebMD queen…but just wait until you have a child. Every time my 10 month old coughs I am sure the baby powder has given her some form of asbestos related cancer. I’m pretty sure I single handedly keep that pediatrician in business.

    Kassi
    http://www.babiesandbrewskies.blogspot.com

  • seaandswank

    I love this post – hilarious, as always, but I can so relate to your WebMD searching and obsession with eyewear.

    Sea and Swank

  • Felicity

    Haha , oh dear! Your poor eye. I always buy cheapy sunglasses because I simply cannot be trusted with anything expensive that I can remove easily, I WOULD lose/break them. LOVE these, they’re super amazeballs. x

    that-bird.blogspot.co.uk

  • http://twitter.com/MelodyRood Melody Rood

    Good sunglasses are an investment well worth the money, because let’s be real, the amount of money I spent on cheap sunglasses just to lose them has probably cost me me more in the long run than a nice pair too expensive to throw around.

  • Addison

    A nice justification to buying those glasses. You deserve them, what with having that stye in yo’ eye (of pus) and all… yuck-a-doo.
    http://willcodeforclothes.com

  • Ditte

    Poor you.

    Love the sunglasses :-)

  • Monika

    honz want to vom looking at that photo of your eye

  • Selma Khamlichi

    These sunnies are just perfect !

    xx
    http://www.mylittlefashionthoughts.com

  • Jennifer

    Those are a little crazy!

    xo Jennifer

    http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

  • Midge

    Love those shades! So much fun :)

    WastedWardrobe.net

  • ericaparkenglund

    I just moved from LA and you can wear sunglasses ANYWHERE. Seriously 90% of the population is wearing them inside. I now live in SF and I am one of those assholes who wears sunglasses inside and definitely while it’s raining.

  • http://twitter.com/anngelikmary15 Anngelik Martinez

    Those are fun shades! I would love a pair of those!

    -Vogue&Heels
    vogueandheels.wordpress.com

  • Deb

    Wanna see ‘em on you!

  • http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/ Newborn Fanatic

    i always end up losing my sunglasses while shopping! for some reason i always leave it in the dressing room *smacking head*

    http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/

  • Sophie

    How is it possible that you can make a story about a ball of pus more interesting and worth while than anything else I have read today? O and the sunglasses are cool as fuck. That is all. xx

    http://scattergirll.blogspot.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/nina.trendsurvivorpapaioannou Nina Trendsurvivor Papaioannou

    I am convinced! I want those sunglasses!

    xxx

    Nina

    http://trendsurvivor.com

  • Giu Lia

    This pair of sunglasses are f* worth its price. Your brother seems to be of the funny side too. This stroy is so good.

    http://THEURBANPROMENEUR.blogspot.com

  • Mary Lindsey

    I don’t think I could spend that much on a pair of sunglasses, but that’s mostly because I just don’t wear them very often. Those specs do look fantastic though! You have a great style, and I’m your newest follower on GFC! :)

    -Mary @ Style That
    Moves

  • STYLE-SQUARED BLOG

    I TOTALLY LOVE IT!!!!

    http://style-squared.blogspot.ca/

  • Velvet Jar

    Nahhhh you didn’t push it that far. I was thinking of blogging about how I can’t do number 2′s in public toilets unless there is a private disabled toilet sitting between gents and ladies (i’m a woman just in case you thought I was some sort of transsexual or lady boy) . Well my public poo phobia is getting better, I tend to drop my bombs when someone else has flushed their business away, that way I can explode without my own sound effects being heard by others. Now on a scale of 1 to 10 how far did I push it? Lol pun intended! On another side note I feel your pain, I had a really bad allergic reaction to god knows what and my face blew up like the Nutty Professor (Eddie Murphy not the original) no sunglasses could save my life! Keep being honest I love it and it’s inspiring. So inspiring that I have now aired my poo phobia on the world wide web. Fuck it, it’s a new year and i’m fed up caring :)

    • Leandra Medine

      WRITE THAT STORY!

      • Velvet Jar

        Lol I’m not as ballsy as you! There’s a part of me that’s like HYFR do it and then there’s another part that’s like ‘who wants to read about poo’ lmao. We’ll see…

  • Briar

    This was so good!! haha.. x

  • Aitana

    This was so wonderful!!!^^

    http://ladytrendy.blogspot.com

    xoxo

  • Jules Fashion Week

    They look so cool – love it ;) !!

    http://www.julesfashionweek.com

  • irene
  • Vivian

    You’re one of the few people that can pull off sunglasses like these fashionably.

    myblissisthisway.blogspot.com

  • dany

    you look like a martian in this photo, a pretty one, but definitely an extraterrestrial.

    xxo, dany

    http://lovesprettythings.blogspot.com/

  • marinacasapu

    I never take my eye contacts off soon enough, and I can sleep very sound with my make up on. But I have 17 pairs of sunglasses…just in case…

    http://www.live-love-fashion.com

  • Anulekha Goswami

    Love Love Love your style of writing Leandra!

  • http://twitter.com/mfashiondiary M Fashion Diary

    Your writing & your sense of style are undeniably fantastic. Thanks for another entertaining story!
    -Michelle

    http://www.mfashiondiary.com

  • Lauren at adorn la femme

    I never knew what a stye actually was!! What did a girl do before sunglasses were invented!!xx

    Love,

    -Lauren at adorn la femme

    http://adornlafemme.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/carolinestyling Caroline Paris

    Awesome Post and Awesome shades – http://carolinestyling.blogspot.com/

  • SantaSanta

    You write good funny lady.

  • The Provoker

    I know the feeling of using my sunnies as a shade (pun intended) during my not so aesthetic days, you’re hilar Leandra, these sunnies are repelling, and damn that’s hot! I’ve just bought my first 3.1 PHILLIP LIM mini-Pashli in a plastic and
    white texture, I’d say it’s quite provoking, do tell what you think ;)

    xx The Provoker
    http://www.the-provoker.com/2013/01/new-year-new-baby.html

  • zavvi

    i have two styes at the moment, j’empathie avec toi.

  • Filipa Amaro

    Damnn I love the way you right. This is such a good blog, seriously. Congrats

    Kiss, Filipa

    http://phigico.blogspot.pt/

  • abelle

    love your stye-le

  • Hannah

    Hah, I used to get styes all the time in university, so I was a frequent wearer of sunglasses inside lecture halls. I bet I looked super cool… Sadly, my frames weren’t nearly as awesome as yours, Leandra! Oh, and I found that a hot compress for 15 mins, three times a day, would get rid of the styes in a couple days, no antibiotics required!

  • jenny

    living in Scotland I don’t often have the pleasure of wearing sunglasses. Now I will wear them in the rain.

    http://my-floordrobe.blogspot.co.uk

  • Sarah

    Hi where are those beautiful pyjamas- I think they’re pyjamas- in the last photo from? Thank you xx

    • Leandra Medine

      It is actually a Phillip Lim blouse cum blazer!

  • Lorena

    Hey girls, Im selling a gorgeous Valentino flats on ebay! have a look
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/290839604439?var=&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

  • Cass

    I just spent an entire plane ride to Cabo judging the woman sitting next to me for wearing sunglasses the WHOLE flight. I mean, we were in coach for shits sake. Now i feel bad… what if it was a stye? Or mascara cancer? Part of me sort of liked her too. But then part of me was just like… “no”.

  • Margo Mustert

    Awesome glasses!

  • ColourMeWhite

    absolutely love the way you write! please give our new fashion blog a read!

    http://colourme-w.blogspot.in/

  • Carla

    I like how you pushed it so far! I think you actually brought up (though didn’t really develop) a pretty amusing/interesting issue: people’s fascination with other people wearing sunglasses at seemingly inappropriate times/places. Its true: pretty much every time I see someone wearing sunglasses on Madison when its not that sunny, I stare at them (and one time it was really Andrew Garfield!!!), but aren’t people entitled to some eyewear?! Also, one time I got into a really big fight with a friend and I was crying, but I needed to pick something up from a store on the Upper West Side where you are GUARANTEED to see someone you know if you’re Jewish so I threw on some shades and people were staring at ME! Like trying to place who I was/if I was famous. I’m not really sure what celebrity they could have mistaken me for (I don’t know many with big, brown curly hair) but it just shows how much sunglasses are a symbol of celeb-ness.

  • Gine

    I know this asshole feeling… but to be honest, from time to time… wearing shades on the subway and pretending to be an asshole, is a great way to prevent having to talk in the morning… http://www.gine.ch

  • Syahira

    One of the best blog post EVER!

  • Angela C

    haha I’m so glad you wrote this! I just got a stye! I looked much much worse than you and it was so embarassing going to work. I didn’t want to wear sunglasses to work though….and considering how everyone seems to feel about untimely sunglass-wearing, I’m glad I decided to just wear regular eyeglasses…even though my eye looked like an alien baby was hatching out of it.

  • rach xo

    i just started investing in sunglasses …but still can resist the street vendor ones…ive lost most of those in the ocean and will continue to wear cheap ones to the beach!

    http://www.designerdreaming.blogspot.com

  • jb

    Who cares what people think of you on the subway? It’s all people watching anyway…if you look like an asshole, others have something to protract.

  • Alexandra

    I recently developed a stye (auto correct just changed stye to style- ha!) and I thought of you. After many hot compresses and no results I had to fess up to my agency that I couldn’t go on my casting because of it. My agent asked me to send a picture so he could be the judge, and his response was, “Yeah, take the day off. Relax.” So I did. And when the time rolled around to getting groceries for dinner, I threw on my favourite pair of Costalots and went to Wholefoods. It was dark, but I held my head high! Thanks for your continued hilarity- you’re a treat.

  • cheriroohi.com

    had my laughing at every line!
    most of all I enjoyed the outrageous splurge of your entire debit account at the end.

    Oh and I love the shades!

  • http://jiaachacruz.blogspot.com/ Jia Achacruz

    I`m so late to the party but I got a stye a few months back too and I was so scared of leaving mascara again, I did not wear any eye makeup for about a week.. lol

    ROUGH & TOUGH☯ // I`m on Bloglovin! // IG: @jiaachacruz:disqus

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