We’ve already heard the scientific and public health reasons that wearing masks is necessary during the COVID-19 global health pandemic. In fact, more than necessary, they are life-saving.
I understand that and that point could never be overstated enough. But what if I just simply love this new custom of wearing masks?
Masks are one of the very few lifestyles I actually prefer in this new normal. I intend to keep wearing my masks for as long as is socially acceptable. Here’s why.
I have a theory. I’ve devoted a bunch of thought and attributed exactly zero (0) research or evidence to it, but I’m sure it’s accurate. My theory is that based on what you can see of a person’s face while their mask is on, you subconsciously imagine the most attractive possible face to fill in for the rest of what you can’t see. That’s whatever is attractive to you. I know we’ve all had the experience of seeing someone take off a mask and being disappointed. Your honor, I rest my case. We’re disappointed because we see people in masks similarly to how we see a coloring page that isn’t fully colored in. We imagine the most beautiful possible full picture based on what we can see and we hate to be dissapointed.
This leads me to one of my favorite things about masks: catfishing. My eyes just happen to be my most attractive facial feature, so I believe that when people imagine my face they’re imagining a much prettier version of me than I actually am. Do I sometimes dread the notion that people might be disappointed when I take my mask off? Yes. But do I sleep better at night believing half my coworkers and people on the street think I’m much prettier than I actually am? Yes. Most definitely, I do.
I think masks are like push-up bras. Even though they mean the reality is bound to be different than the expectation, it still works out because 90% of people are never going to see the full reality anyways. And what’s underneath is still beautiful … just a different kind of beautiful.
7. Eat Whatever You Want!
This is for all of my salt & vinegar, pickle and sour cream & onion lovers. Don’t be mistaken, I could never be that girl. But now everyone who enjoys those absolutely putrid and bitter tasting foods can enjoy them without being self-conscious about it. More importantly, I can be around people like this without my nose having to suffer. Bask in your vinegar and pickle glory! But once this pandemic is over, please stay six feet away after consuming it.
Masks aren’t even just protection from the smells beyond your control, they give you the ability to choose your own smell for the day. If you think masks don’t smell like anything, try chewing gum for an hour while you wear your mask and you’ve got your very own scented mask. You can even try a new flavor of gum, mints or candy each week.
6. Hidden Reactions
Anyone who knows me knows that I have huge eyes. That, paired with the fact that I’m also sensitive, means that just about every immediate reaction I have to things are broadcasted across my face. I saw a picture of what I looked like when I thought I was hiding how sad I was recently and I realized how apparent all of my emotions are. It made me understand why my friends have never believed me when I’ve said things like, “No, that didn’t hurt my feelings,” “I trust her, that didn’t make me jealous at all,” “Yes, I’m still listening. Of course I’m not bored,” or “I’m not afraid nor uncomfortable at all.”
Suffice to say I’ve been very grateful for the mask helping me provide a barrier between my innermost thoughts and the rest of the world. This mask has been giving me the privacy I deserve.
Over the summer, when it was socially acceptable to wear a mask and big sunglasses, I could feel however I wanted to, privately. Nobody else knew! I could walk around Central Park bawling my eyes out and nobody would know. That is a level of public privacy that I didn’t know I needed.
Now that winter is coming, alongside another wave of the virus, I’ve realized just how warm the mask can be. Well I can’t lie, over the summer when I hated masks it was mainly because I realized just how warm they could be. But now that it’s getting cold I’m taking advantage. I even have an extra warm mask that I intend on wearing throughout the winter.
I’ve even started taking after my fellow Oracle staff writer, Ethan, and started calling them face blankets.
4. No Worries
Bad aromas are to febreeze what little blemishes are to masks. Food in your teeth? No worries, nobody can see it! Booger in your nose? Not a problem! Lipstick smudged? Who cares! With your mask there is so much less to worry about. Hell, no need to even do the bottom half of your makeup.
The only person judging you is you and whoever you are so close to that you take your mask off around them.
I think of my body as a canvas for expression. Clothing, piercings and tattoos are godsent ways to be able to express your feelings and aura with the world. It gives you a way to represent yourself and maybe even bring out a certain aspect of your personality. Expressive fashion is liberation. Masks helped me expand my mindset: Fashion isn’t just for the body — you can even make a statement on your face and it can be more dramatic and temporary than a tattoo or outfit is.
You can say “Black Lives Matter” without uttering a word. You could strap your favorite artwork to your face. You can also decide to be a
boring minimalist and wear a solid color.
Masks are just more room for expression.
Unpopular opinion, but I also just think the original blue surgical masks were flattering and attractive. And it was fun to just be walking down the street together with everyone wearing the same face outfit. It signaled how we were all experiencing this terrible thing together, but in our own ways. It humbled us. Everyone had to wear the damn mask. And when everyone in the country seemed to be wearing the same blue one it was kind of cute. It was like a theme party — except it was stressful, no fun, nobody liked the theme and nobody wanted to be there. Cute!
My mask and I have been through a great deal of anxiety together. During the peak of the pandemic in March, nestled at the epicenter of it all as I quarantined in Manhattan, going outside was terrifying. This was before we had much research about how the virus was transmitted. On my weekly trips to the supermarket, everything seemed frightening and like a potential way to catch COVID-19. My mask was my only main shield. It was the only thing that Dr. Fauci had promised would help protect me. I think because of that, there’s some psychological impact. Since my mask was helping to protect me from danger, I have a huge affinity for masks because they simply help me feel safer! Masks are the new pepper spray! Masks are the new pillow pet.
1. Symbol of Compassion
You knew this one was coming. Whether you agree with me about loving masks or not, you have to get behind it and pretend you like it when something as simple as wearing a mask could save a life. It could even save your own life. Bigger than that, it could lead to the end of COVID-19 and its spread. I find it heartbreaking that someone could be given the information that wearing a mask could potentially save someone’s life or maybe even just mean they have a healthy and safe next two weeks, and someone would react by coming up with extremely ridiculous reasons not to that are not backed with evidence, logic or human decency.
Wearing a mask is simply a sign of dignity, the littlest symbol of having humanity and an ounce of compassion and an indicator that you aren’t tone deaf and heartless. It means you take in information and, accordingly, respond the best way you can. It means you care about human lives. It means you care about Black lives. I don’t know that I could say any of the above about people who refuse to wear masks.
As better articulated in what I think should be deemed the tweet of the year:
The other seven reasons are just inventions of my brain to make a necessary task just a bit more fun and to help maintain some semblance of peace and joy in a time that is so clearly agonizingly painful and doing a task that obviously is simply inconvenient sometimes. And all of those reasons serve a purpose. But this is the only reason that really ever mattered.