Wearing a face mask – and making sure you never leave home without one tucked into your pocket – has become a way of life for most people during the pandemic.
Now, the legal requirement to don a mask is expected to be scrapped in England from July 19 though official guidance will likely say they should be worn voluntarily in some settings, like crowded places, indoors or on public transport.
And that continuing expectation might actually come as a relief to some, who’ve accepted that important little scrap of material to be as much a part of life as handbags and keys when leaving the house and don’t feel ready for them to vanish.
Here are a few reasons why some of us will be content to keep wearing our masks in public for the foreseeable future…
1. It’s just what you do
Obviously it was weird to put masks on when you went out in public at first, but they’ve been mandatory for so long now that it will feel weird NOT to wear one. It’s almost a tradition now for whoever you’re with to ask if you’ve got your mask as you leave the house…
2. You own loads of them
You started off with just the one surgical blue mask, then thought a black one would go better with your outfits so you bought a pack of those, and now you’ve got virtually every colour to match what you’re wearing, in a vain attempt to look as good as the Duchess of Cambridge did with her pretty floral patterned face masks at Wimbledon.
3. Not wearing masks would mean facing a big clear-out
By now, every jacket – both summer and winter – and bag you possess is likely to have at least one mask stashed inside. When we finally do stop wearing masks, there will (eventually) need to be a big effort to hunt down and get rid of them all. Rest assured, in a few years’ time you will find one (or more) stuffed in a forgotten coat pocket and it will remind you of the surreal pandemic period we’ve had to cope with.
4. They show you care
Wearing a mask shows you care about other people and want to avoid passing germs on to them. And this isn’t just about Covid, masks can also reduce the spread of other ailments like colds and flu, which none of us want to catch either. The past year has actually made us wonder why we didn’t wear a mask on the bus before whenever we had a cold brewing.
5. You’re saving a fortune on lipstick
You do your make-up as normal and it’s only when you put your mask on that you realise there was absolutely no point in applying lipstick since the mask has immediately wiped it all off. Lesson learned, you will save money on cosmetics until masks are gone forever…
6. It can be great that people can’t see your mouth
While it can be frustrating that others can’t see you smiling when you have a mask on, they’re great for hiding behind as you secretly mouth swear words, or even stick your tongue out at those who annoy you. They’ll never know if you do it skilfully – but you will, and that’s strangely, childishly satisfying…
7. You have a favourite mask
Like anything you use frequently, you develop favourites, and that includes masks. In much the same way as a comfort blanket with a child, you don’t want to be parted from your fave face-covering (but don’t forget to wash it when you’re spending a day at home).
8. It can be nice to hide
Face masks cover half our faces, so if you don’t feel you look good on a particular day – or on any day – or if you have a huge spot on your chin, they’re a godsend. We’ll miss the anonymity they bring when they are gone…