Friday, August 19, 2011

A British Journalist and his Pince-Nez



[The following text was submitted by Guy Fleming. He provided his email address for this story: guy.fleming7@tiscali.co.uk ]

My consciousness of pince-nez awoke at an early age, since this was the style of eyeglass favoured by my paternal grandfather, a favourite uncle and a delightful teacher who taught me how to add up and spell! Also, as an open Gay. I noticed that a significant number of fellow-Gays and lesbians chose to wore pince-nez (I`m going back 35 years or so) and, in a sense, I felt attracted to them because of that. Now, however, I wear `em because I like `em!

However, I had no desire to wear pince-nez until my 40s when it was relatively easy to get hold of the right finger-piece. I wore them alternatively with standard frames but, a few years later, decided to go full-time with them. I have never regretted that. This was because I had noticed, occasionally, not only middle-aged and elderly men wearing them, but also fashion-conscious ladies both here in the UK and in Belgium, where I worked for some time.

Finger-pieces were by then more difficult to obtain, but visiting independent opticians, who had been in the business a long time, paid off. Most of them still kept a wide range. In all that time, no- one had scorned my choice of eyewear – at least, not to my face. Rather I have received such compliments as” snazzy,” “they suit you,” and the inevitable “how do they stay on?” Interestingly, no one even commented on my pince-nez when I was on the reporting staff of two daily papers, where you would think they might. Otherwise, all that was said was complimentary.

Just recently, I needed a fresh prescription, and the national opticians` chain to which I went, smoothly carried this through without any murmurs about “this may be difficult,” and so on.

Incidentally, I have noticed, looking at old photographs of statesmen, etc, I see that only the great Franklin D. Roosevelt wore pince-nez, but so did his predecessor President Wilson, and HIS predecessor, Teddy Roosevelt! In the Second World War, they were worn by Canadian Premier, McKenzie King, Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov, Soviet KGB chief, Beria, and outstanding British Parliamentarian, Leo Amery, among many others I am sure. So we are in great (and not so great!) company!

[Editor's Note: Guy's large round lenses clearly work for him. Nevertheless, we advise novices to start with the classic small oval lenses for best results. Ear loops are an optional item and not necessary for wear. ]

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