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Small Talk: Blowing my cover

Having vaccines come available is absolutely glorious. It’s what I’ve been praying for since last summer. It fills me with such hope after this long, isolating time. Still, I have a problem.

It means that before very much longer, we won’t be required to wear masks anymore. I know, I know. That is cause for rejoicing to most of you. But as I slapped on my mask this morning for a quick trip to the market, I was suddenly horrified.

Today I was able to leave home after simply throwing my hair into a bun and skipping any fuss with my face, knowing that my mask would eliminate the need from eyes to Adam’s apple. For me that’s a minefield I have come to love disarming so simply these past months.

I do, at least, manage eye makeup most days, but on weekends I slack off mightily. I wear my spectacles rather than contacts, and in concert with the mask, my glasses camouflage a host of other imperfections. Never mind that I look like a geek. I look mostly like everyone else for now and that will do.

I can get out the door so much faster when I can just cover my face with paraphernalia. I have even become accustomed to wearing a KN95 mask. It’s not the kind you would find in a hospital room, but it is considerably heavier than the cloth ones I first wore.

It makes me feel more secure, but more importantly, no one but I can smell my breath. It has been such a vacation, to be able to drink coffee and eat onions and garlic and not spend the day worrying if I am socially acceptable.

I still have mints and sprays at the ready, but, dang, that mask has made “close” conversation easier. I know we aren’t all that close, but one still worries.

I will have to think long and hard about surrendering my mask for all the reasons tricksters have loved masks down the centuries. Masks keep secrets better than any BFF — and what woman doesn’t have secrets?

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer thinking face tattoos are beginning to sound reasonable. Contact her at [email protected].

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