The Daily Telegraph

Nine reasons to enjoy masking up From dressing as a highwayman to a new way to flirt


Stick your tongue out – the possibilit­ies for silent insurrecti­on are limitless

Tomorrow is masking up day. From then on, we’ll be required to wear them in shops and there will be fines for noncomplia­nce. Not many people will rejoice at this turn of events. You have to dig deep to find the positives of face protection, but that is what we must do. So, here goes – nine reasons to make you feel better about masking up:

♦ You can do anything you like under a mask. Sneer. Grimace. Pout. Bite your lips. Bare your teeth. Curl your lip. Stick your tongue in your cheek in an “Er, Don’t Think So” sort of way. You may even stick your tongue out (though this will not be possible to conceal in certain closer fitting masks). The possibilit­ies for silent insurrecti­on are limitless.

♦ It’s an excuse for a cravat. If you have always quite fancied a polka dot cravat, but worried it looked pretentiou­s, then now is your chance. Wear a neckerchie­f loose around your throat and people will assume it’s your mask, when your real mask is in your pocket, and you are wearing a cravat.

♦ If you missed your highwayman moment in 1981, it’s back. Anyone who has ever fancied themselves as a highwayman – surely most of the population, at one time or another – get yourself a swashbuckl­ing mask and imagine yourself shouting “stand and deliver”. Also, as Autumn approaches, the highwayman scarf might give us permission to wear frock-coats, overknee boots, capes, billowing white shirts, leather trousers (more Adam Ant than Dick Turpin, still… could be fun).

♦ If you are a wannabe Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, then a mask is a bonus. You may have seen pictures of Cruise getting out of his helicopter in Richmond this week, wearing a black sweater and jeans, black baseball cap and, naturally, a black mask. The mask is very TC in MI (he is over here filming numbers seven and eight). Not only does it not look out of place, it looks like an accessory that he will be jumping-on-the-sofa thrilled about: mysterious, a bit menacing, futuristic – what’s not to love?

♦ If you are vaguely avoiding someone, such as the neighbour you haven’t got around to waving at since lockdown began, a mask is your friend. Masks are like XL baseball caps. They make the wearer feel like they are almost invisible, which is more than half the battle. v You can flirt in a mask, if the situation allows. That is if you are outside, and a reasonable distance apart, you can tug down the mask and smile. I have been on the receiving end of this tugsmile-replace gesture myself and can confirm that it is a new form of courtesy and – unless I was imagining it – flirting. The tugger-downer is both making you feel at ease/restoring a bit of humanity to the situation, and giving you a flash of their best smile. It’s a bit like a wink but less fresh. Certainly made my day.

♦ The whole mask situation makes you more appreciati­ve. Of mouths. And eyes. And a warm tone of voice. And people who laugh all the time. It makes you grateful for the flash of teeth and the glint of fillings.

♦ You would be surprised how easy it is to forget you are wearing a mask.

I accidental­ly went swimming at the weekend with a mask on (pulled down admittedly) and no alcohol had been taken. New Normal.

♦ You can tell a lot about people from their masks. The Johnny Depp bandana worn as a mask is for old rockers and public school boys of all ages (see Prince Harry in early mask wearing days). The turquoise paper ones are for those who couldn’t care less and found this one lying around at home.

You won’t have a ball analysing people’s mask choices, but let’s take our fun where we can.

 ??  ?? Incognito: actors Lily James and Chris Evans
Incognito: actors Lily James and Chris Evans
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