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Facing up to the masks coming off

February 27th, 2022 6:25 PM

By Emma Connolly

Facing up to the masks coming off Image
Mandatory mask wearing is no longer necessary from the end of the month. Being without one will take almost as much getting used to as wearing one in the first place!

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Once we got used to wearing them, face masks had a whole load of uses, other than what they were intended for. I wonder am I the only one who will miss them, even a little bit?

•SO it looks like our masks have to slip come February 28th. I’m one of the odd balls who has some mixed feelings about it. Since they were first made mandatory back in July 2020, I’ve been a most committed mask wearer. Best girl in the class. I mean, as well as being protective (when worn properly, which was the crucial bit some people got wrong), they were useful in a whole world of other ways. My own favourite was the freedom it gave you to mutter away to yourself like a mad woman, and remain completely undetected (no one noticed, right?). That could range from harmless little chats with yourself as you went about your business, to spluttering full-on profanities at the person ahead of you in the supermarket queue who took an age to find their purse; a basic ‘FFS’ when your boss asked you to do something you didn’t feel like doing, or a handy way of dodging someone, ‘oh I didn’t recognise you there with your mask on’ sort of thing. Yup, I’m going to miss those days.

• Of course if you are a spectacle wearer, masking up wasn’t always easy. I faced a constant conundrum: get all fogged up, but see where I was going/what I needed on supermarket shelves; or go without the glasses, avoid getting all hot and bothered and just wing it. Then there was the problem of your mask getting all tangled up with your earrings, as if life in a pandemic wasn’t hard enough already? On the flipside, they were useful for disguising skin break outs (even if they may have caused them in the first place), for reducing the need for a full face of make-up, and sparing your blushes if some of your lunch got stuck in your teeth. Speaking of which, I’m predicting a rush on visits to the dental hygienist, lip wax appointments and a surge in lipstick sales.

• There’s always a silver lining I suppose. Not so much for all those cottage industries that popped up with clever little mask innovations though. Also, what are we to do with our mountains of masks now? I had little baskets of them everywhere – inside the door in case a visitor had ‘forgotten’ theirs (‘no problem! Stand back and let me see your eye colour, I’ve just the one to suit your skin tone’); a stash in the car; in the handbag and in the desk. There were every-day masks; Sunday bests; evening styles and various options for in between. They’re far too small to be made into a decent duster (in the way that you’d turn an old vest or even a pair of your husband’s undies into one... c’mon, we all do it right?). Repurpose them into hammocks for the Barbies (not so) Dreamhouse maybe? For now, let’s stash them away with the iodine tablets the Government sent us in 2002 in a box labelled ‘You never know’. Because well … you never do know.

• Right, so Dermot Bannon is back with his new series of Room to Improve which, now that Smother is over, is taking the edge nicely off Sunday nights (unless you’re one of the poor souls in this country trying to get on the property ladder, it’s not going to make you feel great I’d imagine).  Incredibly it’s his 13th season of the show which appeals massively to our Irish sense of nosiness (oh would you look at that!), our begrudgery (the notions of your one! I bet that cost a fortune!) and our parochialism (I know a girl who used to work with a guy who went out with her cousin; she’s a right dose apparently!). Often times the Twitter commentary is as entertaining as the show itself and sure now that the pandemic is winding up it gives us something to talk about of a Monday if the weather doesn’t deliver. Then on Tuesday night we have Home of the Year to look forward to. That’s always a bit more predictable. There’s always the fab house, the quirky/dodgy one and then the more standard or achievable one. The judges plod along with lots of heavily scripted ‘oh lets go in,’ and ‘wow,’ remarks and Amanda generally makes the kind of  faces that suggest she’s not getting paid quite enough for this nonsense. Through no fault of its own it is all getting a bit jaded, and given the size of our country, I’m not all that confident for its future. Although, I’m pretty sure if the cameras were angled properly, and I pushed the clothes horse out of sight, I could pull off the dodgy house if they were stuck one week, with a small bit of notice. I can just see Amanda having problems masking her feelings already!

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