Column

I Hate Wearing the Mask

I would never not wear it, but I am a sweaty man with glasses and a hearing aid, and this sucks

Photo: Picture Alliance/Getty Images

I began this pandemic as a mask truther. I told my wife and kids that we didn’t need to wear masks because I saw a headline somewhere that said the use of masks among the general population would be of minimal help. (I did not read the full article.) I also told my daughter in February that the coronavirus was no big deal and would be snuffed out before we ever had to worry about it. Thus, I am the leading purveyor of fake news in my own home.

Anyway, the virus is now eating the country whole and it turns out that wearing a mask is a rather crucial element of keeping it contained. Will this stop Georgia Governor Brian Kemp from allowing his constituents to hold wet T-shirt contests out in the open just to stick it to them Demmycrats? No. But for the few sane Americans left, like me, wearing a mask is the right move. So that’s what I do now when I have to make the occasional sortie to the grocery store to secure vital goods such as toilet paper, flour, and salami.

I hate wearing a mask. I’ll keep wearing one, of course. You’d be a complete shitbag not to, and you’d be defying vital government mandates in a lot of states. But that doesn’t mean I gotta ENJOY it. I don’t feel great admitting this, mostly because my wife bought bulk elastic and made masks from scratch for us, for our family members, and for elderly people in the neighborhood. She made these with love, and did so according to CDC-approved guidelines. I test-drove the first one on a trip to Giant. It had little skulls on it, to make me look like the adorable badass that I am.

“Does it fit?” she asked me when I tried it on.

“Yeah! Feels good!”

I was wrong, but I didn’t realize it until I was already knee-deep in the baking aisle, searching for cans of baking powder that were no longer in stock. I was wearing both my glasses and my hearing aid. Masks are not kind to either of these accessories. My glasses fogged up every seven seconds. There are tips to alleviate all this fogging — useful if you happen to be a far-sighted open-heart surgeon — but I didn’t read up on this in advance because I didn’t realize fogging could occur. Also, I couldn’t touch my phone to access these tips while I was in the store because I might have gotten Covid-19 cooties all over it. So I peered over my glasses for the better part of an hour, grabbing all the snack cakes and chicken that I could fit into my cart without hogging shit.

I began to sweat. I am a sweaty man, and my face is not exempt from that characteristic. My face sweats when I work out. It sweats when I’m eating spicy food. It sweats when I SLEEP. So when you cover it in semipermeable fabric for more than 30 seconds, it’s gonna respond with a perspiratory onslaught that would disgust and horrify you in equal measure. I was only a third of the way through the list when the mask became saturated. Also, even though it was comfortable to wear at first, it quickly became clear that it was too small for my Jovian head. My ears were beginning to fold in under the pressure, quite literally. I could feel them bending forward. By the time I got to the freezer aisle, I was in physical pain. After checking out, I had to rush to my car at Olympian speed just so that I could finally shut the door and take the mask off. My face hurt the whole ride back.

Obviously, now that I know what I know about mask design, I’ll head out with one that’ll be friendlier to both my eyesight and my tender skin. I am learning to adjust to life as a germophobic hermit, which means also adjusting to a now-established ritual of arming myself with wipes, hand san, and a mask anytime I go somewhere other people might be. But I’m only human. My face has yet to comprehend the routine wearing of a mask, and it resists. It yearns to be free. I instinctively want the outside world to behold my beautiful visage in full, and I find myself disappointed when that desire is smothered in breathable cloth. Also, I like air.

So while I am both enraged and appalled — in standard liberal fashion — by the LIBERATE dipshits protesting at assorted state capitols for their right to dine in at Cinnabon, I completely understand their frustration. It’s deeply annoying to live like this and to know that the federal government is NOT using our time in sequestration effectively, if it’s using it at all. The longer they sit there with their thumbs up their asses, the longer I’m gonna have to wear this stupid mask. It’s enough to make me wince, although you wouldn’t be able to see me do it now, would you?

Columnist at GEN. Co-founder, Defector. Author of Point B.

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