In the immortal words of Moon Zappa, “Like, bag your face.”
I never dreamed that covering most of one’s face would become the height of fashion. Even if I had, I wouldn’t have expected the look to be so hard to get right.
Then again, maybe I should have. I’ve always been on the run from the fashion police – three years behind the style curve, the wrong shape for any size and able to make brand-new duds look under-washed and over-worn.
I was late to hop on the face mask bandwagon. Maybe the good ones were already taken. But after trying four styles, I’m still having trouble adjusting to the new rage.
First, there was this homemade mask, from a lot of 100 that a local organization donated to the hospital. I appreciate how snugly it hugs the contours of my face, ensuring that no diseased droplets will escape.
However, whether I wear my glasses over or under the top of the mask, I find my breath fogging up the lenses. Also, that upper hem cuts across my field of vision. Most seriously, it’s held on by two elastic loops that pull so hard on my ears that it hurts. I’m afraid that if I go on wearing this mask, I’ll end up with cauliflower ears.
For my next lap up and down the catwalk, my employer sent me this highly attractive and comfortable mask with a honeycomb pattern on one side and a plain brown fabric on the reverse.
Basically, it’s a quilt square with a draw string looped through it, to provide a way of tying it around my head. The only thing separating it from the height of fashion is the way it bags out on both sides, protecting nobody from nothing. Excuse the double negative.
Desperate for an alternative, I actually went out the other day with this fleece balaclava pulled down around my face.
While it does provide adequate nose and mouth coverage, it’s pretty snug and way too warm for the weather at this time of year. There’s a seam at the front that presses against my mouth and nose, making it tricky to talk clearly. And those draw strings, with their plastic toggles, feel as stupid as they look as they bang against my chin every time I move my head.
I went to the fleet store, hoping to find a thinner, more elastic balaclava, like the kind motorcyclists sometimes wear. They had a box of them on a shelf in the biker supply aisle, but it was empty. Once again, I ran too far behind the times!
However, another aisle carried a selection of elastic tubes like this, in a variety of prints – including pink camo, wild turkeys and psychedelic flowers. I went for the most low-key pattern available, so if I decide to rob a stagecoach, my appearance won’t be too memorable.
Those of you who have those lovely, pleated cloth masks with elastic around the edges are among the blessed. Even the mini-gas mask look sported by some in the healthcare industry has its points. My best bet is probably to wait for the paper-bag-over-the-head look to come back.
Meantime, unless some anonymous benefactor chooses to slip a shrink-wrapped face mask under my door, I’ll muddle on the way I always have – one head-shaking, wince-inducing style disaster at a time.