What your mask says about you


Eight mask-wearing personalities in Victoria 

Graphic by Sie Douglas-Fish.

The ear hang, the nose poker, the mouth hole, the I-can’t-believe-I-have-to-wear-this eye roll, COVID-19 continues to show how personalities can be reflected in one’s ability — or inability — to properly wear a face covering. But while we may ridicule certain individuals’ inability to understand the purpose and effectiveness of a mask, let’s not sit too high and mighty and free from ridicule ourselves. Let’s turn the eye of judgment back at us for a moment. There is a lot your mask-wearing habits can say about your own personality.

Buckle up, no one’s off-limits. Prepare yourself for ridicule in eight examples of what your mask says about you.

Standard blue disposable masks

Even though the pandemic has been raging for almost a full year, you never got over the it’ll-be-over-in-a-month phase and bought a reusable mask. Convenience is king for you. You are probably that type of person who was really upset when they got rid of plastic straws at restaurants. You probably walk into stores without your mask on only to make a grand exaggerated gesture of putting it on, accompanied with sighes and eye-rolls. Also, you probably hate the environment.

Extra-layered black disposable masks

You definitely hate the environment.

Sports-team or fandom mask

You probably think that liking the Toronto Raptors or Star Wars is a personality trait. Don’t get me wrong, wearing your team’s mask to watch a game is understandable, and occasionally flexing your love of Studio Ghibli films can be okay; but if the only mask you own is one of these, you may have some larger soul searching to do. You’re the type of person who dives deep, I mean really, really deep into the lore of your preferred universe. You find it physically painful to go more than thirty minutes without mentioning them and you spend most of your time outdoors looking at other people to see if they like or recognize your mask. It’s okay, grab this rope, we can pull you out of that hole. Trust me, there is a lot more to you than being a Hufflepuff. 

Masks that match your outfit

You’re definitely super extra. You’re either organized enough that you’re dealing with the pandemic pretty well and have been spending a lot of time working on your career, building your social media, hobbyist blogging, or starting a small online business. Or you’re a depressed university student who turned to fashion as a way to distract yourself from the stress of everything else. You’re refusing to let ugly masks ruin your outfits. Keep shining bright you wonderful, colour-coordinated stars.

Novelty masks

Similar to the standard blue mask wearers, you thought the pandemic would be over long before now. Regardless, back in May of 2020 you probably saw a Facebook post about novelty masks and ordered one with a pig snout or something similar on it. Hilarious! So funny. But now, almost eight months later, you are a broken husk of a human. You walk through the grocery store and where you once were met with smiles and compliments you now get nothing — no attention, no laughs. You get home, carrying your groceries into the house. A bag breaks sending cans rolling everywhere. You sigh and pick them up. You are suddenly tired, exhausted. You get inside and leave the groceries on the kitchen counter and go to splash water on your face. But when you look in the mirror, you are piggy. You stare into the mask and the mask stares back. You are piggy. You will always be piggy. HA HA.

Political masks

You fear nothing, not even God. Your tongue is strengthened from argument, your brain is constantly running over social statistics, political theory, and your own social media reinforced beliefs as you shop at the grocery store, staring into people’s eyes wondering if they have the audacity to make a comment. You stand before man and God begging for someone to dare call you out for your respective political faction, wherein you will rain fire and brimstone down upon their unholy soul. If you see two individuals with opposing political faction masks approaching one another…run. Dear God, just run. 

The see-through mask 

If you aren’t hearing impaired or don’t work with people who are, you’re probably rich and extremely self-conscious of how you look in a mask. The effectiveness of the mask is less important than others seeing your $650 teeth whitening and $80 lipstick. There’s something uncanny about the see-through masks: a gold-fish bowl effect. When you walk by people may have the urge to tap on your mask. Maybe you should consider putting a little sticker that says “please don’t tap the plastic” on it, but that might get in the way of showing off your $1500 Botox job. 

No mask at all 

If you’re the only one not doing something that has collective benefits, like putting your shopping cart away at the grocery store, then maybe, just maybe, you aren’t a wolf among sheep; maybe you’re just an a**-hole. You like to turn any degree of self-sacrifice or collective action, no matter how miniscule the sacrifice on the part of the individual, into a personal attack to your freedoms. Despite this, you still prefer to enforce your own self-interest over others in the name of a freedom that becomes increasingly harder for you to define the more it begins to resemble simple selfishness and the belittlement of others. Frankly, it’s also illegal not to wear a mask.

But also, and perhaps most importantly, maybe you are scared. Conspiracy theories tend to centre around moments of social upheaval or traumatic change: moments where individuals don’t understand what is happening in the world and turn to farfetched, paranoid interpretations to give the events a sense of greater meaning. Look at some of the most popular conspiracies throughout history: conspiracies circle around the Holocaust, the Kennedy Assassination, 9/11, and Deep State fears that emerge due to distrust in political figures and organizations. I understand fear, we all do. I’m sorry you are struggling, many of us are, but let’s talk. Let’s try and think this through. Because, in your fear, you aren’t only pushing people around you away, you’re also putting many others in harm’s way.