Given that wearing masks has become our new normal, many people are actually dreading a return to our previous normal without them. And not necessarily because of COVID, but because they’ve found it useful in covering up a lot of their insecurities.
“Ugly teeth + pretty eyes gang. I feel so much less confident going maskless,” writes BlackBerryChaos on a recent thread on the r/NoStupidQuestions subreddit entitled, “Have Many People Started Liking Wearing Masks Just Because of Insecurity/Not Showing Their Face to Others?”
And bad teeth were just the start. In all, more than 1,400 people chimed in, with their answers ranging from other facial features of theirs they don’t like (“I have very nice teeth but an ugly nose. Can I still join?”); to never having to worry about bad breath (“The mandates just ended in my area, and I had to buy my first pack of gum in two years. My jaw muscles have atrophied”); to the freedom masks provide introverts (“I’m an introvert to my core and I love the superpower the mask gives me to feel invisible.”)
The most common responses, though, mostly had to do with not having to pretend in public anymore. Case in point: Redditor Philarama writes, “I work in customer service and whenever I’ve had to serve rude people, I love being able to mouth the words ‘fucking idiot’ or ‘OMF’ under my mask. Now, I’m worried I’m going to do that by accident without the mask on 😆”
“I love not having to make conversation with people because I’m harder to hear,” SummerofMayhem agrees. “It’s wonderful to not have people see my whole face, because it’s very expressive and open. I feel less vulnerable.” Along those lines, NotThatChar adds, “I cannot fake a smile to save my life. I look demented. Now I can better pretend to like strangers.”
This extends far beyond strangers, too. As Bibbityboo explains, “Seeing my in-laws. We were pretty cautious but did some masked visits outdoors during the height of things (they were shitty about being cautious and we have a high risk kid). Those were the best visits. Didn’t have to hide my annoyance. Could make a face behind the mask. It really helped to get the frustration out and let off some of the pressure of the visit.”
Practically speaking, the masks bring along a certain degree of literal warmth as well. “I’m wearing them all winter because I move things from inside to outdoor storage all night, and it feels so much better with face coverage,” writes Beowulf33232. “Can’t do a scarf because they hang loose too easily, masks work great at keeping warm.”
But again, it mostly came down to less about protecting what ails the outside of our bodies and much more about pains us on the inside. Or as OfficeChairHero succinctly (and bluntly) put it, “I have Betty Davis eyes and a Steve Buscemi smile.”