The Everyday Lore Project

27 August 2020 – Eyes

27 August 2020 – Eyes

Don’t put gin in your eyes!

Is what my optometrist said to me this afternoon when I asked if it was okay. Obviously I ignored him.

It’s said that in lacemaking, a tradition was to use gin as an eye bath when the lacemakers’ eyes got tired. And as my eyes have not been feeling at their best, plus I’m now headlong into a Halloween crochet, I thought I would give it a go. But with the optometrist’s words still ringing in my ears, I decided not to go the full Monty on my balls, and do some judicious external dabbing instead. 

I only have one pure, unadulterated gin on my shelf, the rest are all hipster flavoured. Funnily enough, it’s called Old Lady’s which I felt was highly appropriate. Tipping a tot into the lid, I soaked a cotton bud, then careful to avoid the lashes (so nothing accidentally infiltrated), I gently daubed my right eye with gin. It was cool, and a bit stingy, but not earth shattering. It was then I decided to take a tot myself and realised some bastard had replaced the gin with water. It was like homeopathic gin with only the memory of juniper.

Undeterred, I reached for my gooseberry gin. Incidentally, my optometrist got very into the idea of making his own gooseberry gin, despite not knowing if he’d ever tasted a gooseberry. As with the Old Lady’s I applied the gin, this time to my right eye. Cool and stingy again. Stingy turning to tingly. It felt much nicer underneath the eye, then after about a minute it got quite itchy. And then taut. And now it’s hardly discernible and my eyes still feel tired. 

Seriously, don’t put gin in your eyes, the alcohol can rubbish your cornea. The optometrist also recommended putting something warm on them instead, like a lavender eye bag. But mostly he told me that the best thing I could do for my tired eyes was to (stop being so vain and) wear my glasses. 

Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

A Calendar of Lacemakers’ Celebrations

Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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