How To Mask

499D9DD4-C6B7-4DA9-8449-EE85ABF8C3BBIt is now mandatory to wear a mask indoors in Toronto. This is good, because since last March, when things started to shut down, people were haphazard about wearing masks because not all humans will follow good advice and need to be legislated into action. Although there are still plenty of people who seem to think their rights are being assaulted by asking to show some consideration for their fellow humans.

I have asthma. I wear glasses, I get panic attacks. I am hearing impaired. I wear a mask. If anything I hope  this post will prove to naysayers that there’s a face covering option for everyone and every occasion. I don’t deny that it may take some getting used too. But you can do it!

I’ve been masking up ever since March. At first I started out with bandannas (because I already had a million of them). But as the months passed, I’ve experimented with different kinds of face coverings and thought I’d share my findings with you.

93410928-8AE5-4DE8-8C76-1AAE8BD43935Like watches and footwear, certain circumstances require different masks. For the last four months, I’ve tried to stay at home as much as possible, only going out when it as necessary to go get groceries or pick up supplies from the post office. For these short trips, I found that over-the-ear masks made of t-shirt material were the best because they   could be easily slipped on and off. Because I wear glasses and hearing aids there is a bit of discomfort from the elastic behind the ears. Also, now that it is super hot out, the t-shirt material is a little hot and I always end up getting super sweaty which seems to make everybody around me paranoid.

FFDCEB83-0428-45EE-8909-78118E83B033I also ordered three flashier versions of the stretchy mask from Adidas because I am a hype beast. These masks have a little pocket for a filter, which makes them more useful when you find yourself in a higher risk/longer exposure situation. They are also cool and I get a lot of compliments when I wear them (once, a fella in his 20s asked “remember me? We went to school together” — the masks work).

Based on a cyclist friend’s recommendation, I also bought a gaiter — a sort of tube you can wear around your neck or as a head wrap that you can also pull over your face. Unlike a bandanna, there’s no need to tie it, so you can pull it on in a flash. It’s also made of a stretchy weave. I haven’t tried it out in public yet, but it seems like it might be a better option when the weather gets cooler. I think it might also be a good option for campers because it would also prevent bug bites.

I’ve only gone on one longer sortie since the start of self isolation. That was a trip downtown to visit the dentist and give blood. Based on that experience I would probably opt for a cotton bandanna for travelling. The fabric is more breathable and the way it ties up is more comfortable with my glasses/hearing aids. If you were on a really long trip, it would also be easier to slip a straw under a bandanna when you needed to hydrate.

PS. I got this Run the Jewels bandanna at Coachellaa few years back. I got hipped to the style because the dusty desert air made it hard to breathe. I wore it for hours at a time. If I had to go on a plane or bus ride, I would definitely go the bandanna route.

I’ve had this conversation with few friends and family members now and the perception is that we’ll be wearing masks in public spaces for at least a year. You are supposed to wash them after every use. Depending on how often you want to do laundry, the average Joe should probably have one clean mask for each day of the week (kinda like underwear).

While I already had five ‘round the war masks, I recently invested in a few more masks. Five from Old Navy (which haven’t arrived yet) which I ordered because they were in fashionable colours and in a lighter cotton weave.

46B7C9A6-8016-46B3-9F0C-A4B68282E9EDI wish I’d held off on that order because Dollarama is now stocking cotton masks that have a little pouch for a filter, a metal clip for extra nose fit, adjustable ear straps and come in cute patterns.

My mom is also making me masks out of some Liberty of London fabric that I’d been hoarding. It’s okay if I have too many though. I’ve already lost one of the Adidas ones.