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The Benefits Of Wearing A Face Mask: ATD Edition

By Anne T. Donahue

I’ve shamed us all about the benefits of wearing face masks during a pandemic, and I’ve tried very hard to stay professional, seem grown-up, and make the argument for being a responsible person. But here’s the thing: now, face masks are mandatory if you want to hang out indoors in a public space, and even if I wanted to sing the song of, “Please be a good person – please! I beg you!” you likely wouldn’t care because you’re wearing a mask solely out of not wanting to break a bylaw.

Which, like, great. If your only reason for face-masking is to be able to waltz into the Gap and stare at piles of t-shirts without being asked to put a mask on or leave, my work is still done because you’re doing exactly what I want you to do. (See: wear a mask.) But why should “because my Dad told me to” be the only justification? (I am Dad.) Why should the process of being a decent human being hinge entirely on it now being mandatory? Why not replace the bitterness with better truths that will make wearing a mask feel exciting or heroic or free to avoid a person you don’t like?

Why not begin basking in the following reasons for covering your beautiful face; in the benefits for wearing a piece of fabric that already has many benefits? Exactly.

You can pretend to be on Grey’s Anatomy
It makes me sick that we don’t talk about this constantly, but if you’re not putting your face mask on while announcing, “It’s a beautiful day to save lives!” you are wasting the time of yourself and everybody around you. Did you go to medical school? Are you planning on going to medical school? Then congratulations, this is as close as you (or I) will ever get to being Meredith Grey or Cristina Yang, stepping into our roles as the only people capable of pulling off the most complicated, emergency surgeries, set to pop-rock jams from 2006. Welcome to Seattle Grace, or whatever that hospital is called now.

You can avoid people you hate or even just don’t want to speak with
I saw no less than 25925825 people I knew at the grocery store on Monday, and I said hi to none of them. Am I rude? Probably. Mean? Sometimes. A woman desperate to pick up some ice cream and ready-made sandwiches to eat as part of a well-balanced lunch? (The balance is that I eat an equal amount of each.) Absolutely. And now instead of finding myself in the juice box aisle wondering if my small talk is good enough, I . . . don’t. I just continue to move. So do they. Everyone is moving and occasionally squinting at each other as our new fun attempt to show we are smiling, and then we are gone. There will be plenty of time for small talk and catch-ups when we are vaccinated. But now? I will revel in knowing that I am absolutely unrecognizable, or at least not recognizable enough that no one will risk saying hello.

You can pretend to be a celebrity
Am I Anne T. Donahue, shopping at a supermarket? Or am I super rich, famous, and in need of privacy, just trying my best to seem “normal” in the “real world”? (I am Anne T. Donahue, shopping at a supermarket. But I absolutely pretend to be Ben Affleck sometimes.)

You can hide your chin acne
You think this is a joke? We’re broken out. We all look like hormonal humans. Our chins are now enduring a shocking amount of heat and moisture, and it’s not the greatest look if you’re someone who would prefer not to have a perpetually red and broken-out chin. Me? My chin is already always broken out, so I’m merely existing in the same hell I’ve been living in since I was 13. But now? Nobody gets to see it. Not you, not the cute guy I’m charming with my jokes and super-cool attitude, and not me, which is helpful when I don’t want to worry about whether or not my concealer is caked into my chin zits to create a 3D art installation. Now, I communicate with my eyes. Like a vixen. Or someone who all of a sudden isn’t self-conscious about eye contact.

You can rely entirely on your eye contact
And by that I mean, now is the time to stare into the soul of whoever you’re speaking with so that they are bewitched, frightened, or a combination of both.

You never have to wear lipstick if you don’t want to
Which I say because truly, can any of you really be bothered right now? I can’t. My closest is either a tube of Lip Smackers or a light pink colour that doesn’t actually look like a colour at all. I used to care! Oh man, I used to care so much. But now? NOW? My life revolves around my parents’ house and various drive-thrus. Maybe The Body Shop. I also went to The Beat Goes On last weekend. That’s it. Does this mean I lied every time I said I wore makeup for me? Nah, because I still love makeup. But I’ll be damned if you think I’m going to spend time on applying unnecessary lip colour. Also, it always gets on my chin.

It’s a beautiful day to not get lipstick on my chin.

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