Facial Coverings: A Fashion Statement
by Christina Fain
COVID-19 and all things related have become a part of our daily conversations, especially the topic of wearing a mask or other facial covering. This has become a nationwide debate. The critical question on all our minds: “To mask or not to mask?”
Standing in an elevator one day, fully masked, I looked at the woman next to me and started to offer a polite pleasantry. But I stopped, caught off guard at how uncomfortable I felt initiating a conversation with her when I could not see her full face.
For a split second I wondered if she was friendly under there. Was she hiding a pained grimace? Maybe she was showing other signs of having a bad day. Maybe she didn’t want to be bothered. I could not tell by her eyes alone. For lack of a better word, I felt “detached.”
Shaking off my thoughts, I said, “I like your mask.” “Thanks!” she replied. I can only assume that the slightly exaggerated tone I heard in her voice meant she appreciated the small compliment.
Whether or not we realize it, we use our whole body to convey approachability and friendliness. A few months ago, we were able to gauge a person’s kindness and general demeanor by body language and facial features. Like it or not, the expression on our face is often what gives others the first impression of us.
Today our expressive facial features are masked. If you are like me, you might have the urge to divert your eyes, fearing the mysterious unknown.
At a time when we are “all in this together,” we cannot forego the importance of human interaction. Chances are that others are as uncomfortable as you are wondering what is under your mask.
That day in the elevator, the woman I chose to speak to was wearing a mask that coordinated with her business suit, and I found myself feeling a tad jealous as I donned my disposable one. After that, I started paying attention to the masked faces I encountered.
People are wearing several kinds of facial coverings. There are different materials and different styles. Some are whimsical patterns, while others announce a favorite sports team.
And that is where we are. Masks and facial coverings are emerging as a fashion statement.
At a time when some states are making facial coverings mandatory, it is time to let your mask become an expression of who you are. You might be a cat person or a dog person or want to express your love of turtles. Choose your mask accordingly, and it could be a great conversation starter!
If masks or other facial coverings become part of the “new normal,” the worst thing we could do to quit speaking to one another just because we have no sense of what might be lurking behind the mask. We need to make the best out of uncomfortable situations, and we need to do it together.
I am embracing the mask and facial coverings. If I am observing a person from afar, I find myself having the same thoughts as I would about the shoes they are wearing. Soon I will be asking where they purchased their designer mask with the turtle motif.
So, if you ever see me out and about, feel free to engage in polite banter. I will be the girl wearing the mask designed with colorful dragonflies coordinated perfectly with my jewelry.
Photo by Llanydd Lloyd @llanydd
Tina began creative writing at a young age. Professionally, she has written for legal professionals spanning more than 20 years. As an over-thinker, mother of two, she draws her inspiration from her adult son and much younger daughter, as well as her personal experiences trying to navigate life’s beautiful complications. When not writing, she spends her time reading, hiking with her family and planning her next travel adventure.