Back in March 2020 when the world came to a screeching halt, I had no idea face masks would become the most fashionable item of the decade. I resisted wearing them at first. When it got hot in Phoenix, AZ, in May, the nasty little virus bug would go away – heck, everyone else does. There was enough ice cream in the freezer and cereal in the pantry, I could wait it out and stay hunkered down in my suburban bunker for two months. But hubby ran out of milk, so I had to go to the grocery store.
Hubby had purchased a package of ten N95 face masks in 2016 for $14.95. Why, you say? Because he wears them to spray Round Up on the weeds in the yard. He doesn’t want to contact Screwum and Run Law Firm because of inhaling the toxic herbicide. He gave me one of his prized N95 to wear, because by then, Amazon was charging $20 for five masks. I was hesitant at first. I was afraid I would be ostracized for wearing protective face covering reserved for health-care workers. I envisioned having raw eggs thrown at me or being surrounded in the parking lot. I didn’t know how to put it on either. I put it on upside down, and the straps slipped down around my neck. Once I got it right, I pulled on my gloves and off I went. You can read about my experience here.
Amazon has 7 pages of face masks listed on their website. Some include masks for dogs (I don’t think a Boston Terrier would wear one), a full-face respirator gas mask, Lego masks, and a 3D Mask Support Frame Silicone Mask Bracket for lipstick protection. How do you measure yourself for the right fit? Is it like taking measurements for a bra? Maybe I could snip one of my underwires to create two masks.
In March, everyone and their great aunts started sewing face masks. I considered hauling my sewing machine out from under the rakes and Christmas boxes in the shed, but decided against it. The last time I sewed was when I made a Stretch ‘n Sew pair of pants for hubby, which he never wore. (Some of you are Googling Stretch ‘n Sew right now. Yes, I’m that old.) So, I waited. Maybe one of the neighbors will make a mask for me. Until then, I can make do with one of my dog’s bandannas. (Larry is not happy)
Lo and behold, a friend sent me a face mask. It was a pink and black batik design, but way too big. In order for it to stay on, I had to wrap the straps around the back of my head to the opposite ears. Sewing it is. I dusted off my little 1984 sewing basket and pulled out a needle and wooden-spooled thread, hoping it hadn’t deteriorated. I stitched the elastic straps, so now there are two loops on each side for my ears instead of one. I resemble a baby rhinoceros.
It was the pink hippy mask that got me to thinking I should color coordinate my masks with my outfits. I’m really into this mask-wearing fashion rage. I had it on during one of my market runs, and another shopper complimented me on it. Shocked, but flattered, I returned the compliment and asked her where she got hers. Never in a million years did I ever think face masks would be a fashion statement.
On my way home, I noticed a display of masks in front of a neighbor’s house. Remembering my plan to match my masks to my clothes, I pulled over and perused the rack. I purchased an orange and yellow chile pepper design. Very fitting for Southwestern attire. Then my other friend gave me a black mask with little red hearts, so I was set with any ensemble from my closet. Back in the day, my father-in-law hung a tie with each sport coat so he knew which one to wear with each suit. (He was a traveling salesman.) I could do that with my masks.
Enter Number One Daughter with the most fashionable mask gift of all. It doubles as a scarf, and drapes very Dr. Birx-like around my neck when I’m not covering my face. Bonus aspect – I can actually breathe when it’s covering my nose and mouth. So, I have my yellow, orange, red, mauve, and black outfits covered, now I have a mask for hot pink and royal blue fashions. To enhance the mask wearing experience, it’s necessary to include long dangly earrings and spiffy sandals. (Did I really write the word “spiffy”? Alliteration is important to a children’s book author.)
According to psychologists, it takes 18 days for people to form a new habit. After seven months, masking up is now a habit ingrained in stone. When leaving on an errand, I mentally check off all the necessities: keys, phone, purse, mask.
In my humble, ordinary, suburban opinion, I’ve established some advantages and disadvantages of wearing masks:
- You only have to put on makeup on half your face. With the money you’re saving on foundation, you can invest in a set of fake eyelashes.
- There’s no need to put on any lipstick. This will save a ton of money.
- You can wear your most dangly earrings to appear dressed up. Be careful about taking off your mask, however. I took mine off in the parking lot and one of my earrings popped off. There’s nothing pretty about an older woman crawling around on the asphalt sweeping her hand underneath cars.
- The mask doubles as a tissue.
- People aren’t able to tell how old you are.
- No worries about exhaling bad breath on people.
- The chunk of quinoa stuck in your teeth will not be detected.
- You can sneer at someone, and they won’t know it.
- Advertise your favorite sports team by wearing their logos.
- Your glasses fog up.
- You can’t smell the cantaloupe to see if it’s ripe.
- Zits pop out on the lower half of your face.
- Your nose runs.
- You have trouble breathing.
- You have to smell your own breath, which could become toxic if you’ve had onions for lunch.
- People misunderstand what you say.
- Masks are hot.
- Just another item to sort with your laundry. And, it might run away with the sock that escapes from the dryer.
Just kidding. I am no fashionista by any means. I’ve lived in yoga shorts and tank tops all summer, because, honestly, it’s been over 110 degrees for over 50 days in a row here in Phoenix hellhole Arizona, and I haven’t gone anywhere except the grocery store. But when I do, I know I’ll be dressed to kill in my hot pink tank top, matching faux silk mask/scarf, and dangly earrings. Spiffy sandals and lipstick optional.
I want one of these.
PS: I fibbed a little when I said I haven’t gone anywhere except the grocery store. The beach and 70F degrees were calling me, so I flew to San Diego for a few days. You might have read my blog about it. Southwest Airlines didn’t like my N95 mask, so they let me choose one from their magical disposable mask box. Let’s see, blue, blue, blue, or blue. I guess I’ll choose the blue one, thank you very much. At least they didn’t take my N95 away from me like the TSA agent who stole my 8 oz. Bath and Body Works Gingham body lotion. So now I have a baby blue disposable mask. I’ll have to buy some scrubs to go with it so I can get my Grey’s Anatomy on.
Tell me about your face masks. How many do you have? Do they match your outfits?
Books for Sale
I don’t have any books about wearing face masks. Perhaps I should write one about raccoons. But, you can purchase my picture books about Lonnie the Loon, Quincy the Quail, and Trumpeter Swans from my website, and I’ll personalize them for you.