Monday 20 April 2009


How on earth did Anna Wintour manage it for all those years? And how does Bono cope? And come to think of it, even Victoria 'Posh' Beckham?
The wearing of dark glasses in conditions other than bright sunshine is extremely counter-intuitive. It's hard to pull off when indoors, makes one very self-conscious, not to mention a danger to oneself and passers by at night, and looks incongruous when it's grey and overcast.

However, somewhere hovering around its edges is the idea that it’s also glamorous and enigmatic, and not a little film-starrish. One can't quite help but to stride around confidently yet warily, as if the paparazzi were lurking behind every bush and bollard. But like smoking – which, in the days when I did it magically made me over as Jean Seberg in Au Bout De Souffle - it’s a faux-allure: neither smoking nor sunglasses effects a Hollywood transformation, it merely makes one faintly ridiculous.

Anyway, my sunglasses aren't welded to my head because I'm trying to develop a mystique. Nor have I become an overnight sensation. I'm merely trying to disguise the grimness of my appearance so I don't frighten small children, perfect strangers or my colleagues. For the last four weeks, I’ve suffered from one eye infection after the other, each more grotesque than the last, with new, unimaginable rococo flourishes in the form of monstrous swellings and suppurating buboes. The not-wearing of makeup was bad enough - I could just about survive that with my amour-propre intact - but the ghastly disfiguring redness, swelling and pustular excrescences can only be disguised by glasses large enough for Jackie O.

In truth, it’s my own fault. Mr Trefusis told me that Hunca-Munca had been lobbing my makeup down the loo, but was unable to be specific about what had gone that way. Helpfully, he fished it out yet the tainted items somehow ended up jumbled in with the rest of my vast collection of beauty products and, unable to distinguish toxic from perfectly wearable, I was loathe to chuck out several hundred pounds worth of extremely fabulous upscale warpaint. I did start with a course of topical antibiotics, but was too idle to complete the course. Repeat this sentence several times until you understand the full scale of the self-inflicted stupidity of the thing.

Eventually, I end up at the optician, thinking I’ve done myself some permanent damage, and in a fit of churning anxiety at the idea of never again being able to wear eye makeup: either having to live with looking mouse-eyed and insignificant, or making an eccentric virtue out of the wearing of dark glasses forever more. But no, fears groundless etc, I have merely to devote myself with renewed vigour to another, stronger course of antibiotics and not give up on it this time after a few days once the symptoms have disappeared.

However, as a side story to all of this, the visit to the opticians has yielded quite a different return: having had perfect eyesight all my life, I discover I need glasses. And worse, the Optician says cheerily 'Don't worry Madam, it happens to everyone - it's just to do with getting older'. I restrain myself from clouting him with something hard and heavy. Reader, you can inject industrial amounts of botox into your forehead, but once reading glasses are prescribed, there’s no disguising your real age.

Oscar Wilde once remarked that London was full of women who’d been 35 for years, and I’ve been inclined to agree. Yet with my fabulous new Bulgari frames parked on my face as I stare at this screen - delighted to be able see what I'm typing - appearances are giving the lie to my lies. Ho Hum.


Titian red said...

Oh bad luck - that is grim, but at least you can reassure yourself you haven't yet reached the age where you seem to work with two focal lengths and your arms are always the wrong length. I can no longer read wearing contacts without being blind to everything else, and without them I have to rest my nose on the page.
"Age cannot wither her" ? I don't think so.

aghtheinlaws said...

Opps. Poor sore eyes. As for sunnies, having been made to wear them since the age of 7 - I find the tube lights too bright so wear them over and underground. The only benefit is being 35 (of course!) I still have good eyesight.

mothership said...

Oh you poor thing, eye infections too awful, esp when can't wear mascara - a fate worse than death. I hope it passes soon and you can get back to the proper business of caking it on.
I have latterly begun to suspect that I might need spectacles of some type (small print seems, well, smaller and more obstinate) but I am avoiding the opticians because I can't take any more bad news re. my appearance after the HAIR debacle for the moment. I did hear somewhere that one can have bifocal contacts, but perhaps I am inventing that..
My grandmother once told me not to get old. I should have listened..
PS have just got hold of Latisse and hope to have magnificent, long, curling black lashes as I did in my teens in a few weeks. Will report back.

westendmum said...

Glasses are sexy. However, a friend recently got the eye 'lazoor' treatment and has had vast improvement, going from bat to hawk in 2 days. She is MUCH older than you, so fear not, corrective surgery is always a possibility.

Miss Whistle said...

Poor you. Sore eyes suck! I always fail miserably with dark glasses inside. I walk in full of vim & vigor and faux promise and remove them rather pathetically after about a minute. I have noticed that in LA most people who wear dark glasses (over the age of 30) usually have prescriptions in them so that they don't look foolish when trying to read a menu.

razorkitty said...

The glasses look fabulous. The infection sounds hideous, I hope the second course of anti-biotics zaps it. Nobody can wear sunglasses indoors and not look foolish, not even the sainted Anna Wintour.

I have worn glasses to correct my short-sightedness since I was 11 (ghastly, NHS supplied) and as a result only ever wore them to read the blackboard at school. After a decade of hailing the wrong buses/person, I switched to contacts.

Now, my optician informs me, I must consider bifocals. The SHAME. And yes, I too was told "Don't worry, it's just because you're getting older." I do hope, as Mothership suggests, one can get the contact lenses version. Otherwise, I fear I shall resemble either Hinge or Brackett.

Dan Miranda said...

Hello Mrs. Trefusis. This is precisely my first comment here but I've been reading your previous posts for just over a week. That is a terrible accident that happened to you, but as those get older, we find it unavoidable. ;)

Ha-ha. I joke. Anyhow I hope you feel better!

Katherine said...

Eye infections ugh..I went through a period with I constantly suffered from conjunctivitis due to parents sending their kids into school when still highly contagious, without a thought for poor old teacher! It has scarred me to the point that I now cannot go into a school without a stash of anti-bacterial hand gel. Anyway, today I have hay fever, my eyes are a nice shade of pink, my nose is a disgusting stream of horror and I can't take anything 'cos of the b/feeding; forgot how horrible hay fever is without drugs :(

Mutter said...

The next step is prescription sunglasses, then come the bifocals. But I would just go for laser treatment and you too will be 35 forever

Anonymous said...

one consolation is that you'll have to buy loads of new eye make-up. (re: sunnies worn inside - my sister is a gp and always assumes that patients who come in wearing shades - assuming there's no eye problem - are nutters)

Rose said...

I seem to be very sensitive to sunlight so spend lots of time wearing sunglasses when it's overcast. It's funny but people don't look at you strangely, they tend to look at you as if you're a glamour puss- even though in my case I used to feel i was posing. Now I just get on with it and wear sunglasses on trains and indoors if I need to- would rather that than wrinkles from my constant squinting and eye watering.

Sorry about the infection, they are so horrid and have a way of really bringing you down.

Still you look fabulous in those Bvlgari shades I'm sure!

Babycakes said...

Eye infections are among the worst. I hope it gets better soon.

Lucy Fishwife said...

Coming from a family of Speccy Four-Eyes I was doomed from the beginning. Managed to dodge the bullet until my first job, when overuse of computer finally caused me to REALLY need glasses. So far am managing to coast along only wearing them for films/TV etc, but the crunch will come when I fail to get on the right bus because I can't read the number..

Anonymous said...

I have always fancied wearing glasses, but when I went to the opticians last year I was told that I needed a monocle - I was not best pleased, as you can well imagine.