33: The Perfect Pair of Sunglasses

33: The Perfect Pair of Sunglasses

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

The Perfect Pair of Sunglasses

If men liked shopping, they’d call it research.

~Cynthia Nelms

Mike, my husband of thirty-plus years, said he needed to buy new prescription sunglasses and he said he wanted a pair that resembled his best friend Doug’s non-prescription wraparound 1960s-style black ones. Mike thinks Doug is cool… very cool. I could tell Mike had his heart set on wraparound glasses but I couldn’t help thinking, “With your strong prescription, astigmatism and narrower face you will have a very tough time finding glasses that fit and that will work, but you go, guy.”

I said, “Mike, go ahead and do your research; then I’ll go to the store and help you decide which pair to buy.” After many years of marriage I had finally figured out an approach to shopping that makes him happy and saves my sanity; he works alone, at least at first. No matter what Mike decides to buy these days he does Internet research first; he investigates all possible models of whatever it is he needs, often creating a spreadsheet to more easily show me the possible choices and the pros and cons of each. In his next phase he visits actual stores; he checks out the different models, debates the merits of each with any and all available salespeople, then he leaves, empty-handed, returning home to ponder what he has just learned. He will modify his spreadsheet to reflect newfound factoids, then share them with me. This process can go on for days or months, depending on the cost of whatever it is he’s shopping for. Higher cost? More time spent in the research phase. Meanwhile, I stay home and do something more interesting, like pick cat hairs off my black coat.

My husband — cautious, frugal and a very deliberate decision maker — immediately did what I expected. He fired up his computer and researched sunglass frame possibilities for himself on the Internet. He figured out what size frame he needed, what size lenses (width and depth) he required for his progressive lens prescription, and what manufacturers made the size frame he wanted. He spent hours, many hours on the endeavor. Then he showed me his Internet-found frame selections.

“All good,” I said. “But what store in our area sells these?

Mike stared at me, wordless, then he retreated to his computer to do more research. He made a list. He called stores in our area. He called stores out of our area. He visited small boutique eyeglass stores in our area to talk with the people who worked there. No one carried the frame selections he’d seen on the Internet, but Mike, bless him, talked to a lot of salespeople trying to find a store where he could buy wraparound prescription sunglasses for himself.

One evening a few days after one of his eyeglass store forays, Mike told me he might just buy the frames online, then get someone to make and insert the lenses. I wondered out loud if the stores around here would fit frames that he hadn’t purchased from them. He stared at me, wordless, then he retreated to our home office.

Still wanting one of the perfect frames he saw online, Mike returned an hour later and said that maybe he’d order the whole frame/lenses combination online. I put down my magazine, looked at him and said, “Sure. Okay.”

Mike returned a short time later and said, “I can’t order online; it won’t let me. I’m getting a message that says I can’t use those frames with my prescription.”

I stared at Mike, wordless, and he retreated to our home office to think.

A few days later Mike asked me to go to the eyeglass chain stores in our area to check out what frames they had in stock that might fit his face, prescription, and desire to have wraparound sunglasses. Sensing the end was near, I said yes. Off we went… store after store. His combination of narrow face, strong prescription and desire to wear wraparound sunglasses just didn’t work.

At the end of the day, Mike found a pair of sunglasses that he liked; they reminded him of wraparounds, but the frames flatter his face and work with his prescription. After more than two months of searching, researching, talking, debating and shopping, Mike had cool new black prescription sunglasses and I had my husband back, until he decides he needs to go shopping again.

 

~Darlene Sneden

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