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wearing a mask explained

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To wear a mask or not to wear a mask – that seems to be the question on everybody’s mind right now. I don’t really understand how or why it’s a question. Wear one. Okay, I know, simply yelling at people on the Internet to do something rarely gets results. I am not going to demonize those who aren’t wearing masks. I know a lot of people are right now. And even though I feel very passionately about the mask issue, I know that those who don’t wear them don’t do so because they want people to die or get sick. They don’t go out, mask-less, thinking, “I hope I infect somebody and I don’t care about other humans.” It’s mostly a misunderstanding or pseudoscience that makes them feel justified in going out bare-faced. And, look, I get it: wearing a mask every time you leave your house isn’t ideal. If you haven’t gotten COVID-19 or haven’t witnessed someone you love suffer and/or die from it, it can feel almost like…it doesn’t exist. It can feel, at least, very difficult to be motivated to wear a mask. But I implore you to look up the stories of those who have lost someone, or lost their lives, to the illness. That should make you more inclined to cover up your nose and mouth. In addition to that, here are excuses not to wear a mask, busted.

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It gets too hot

Well, having your face be warm for a little while is nothing compared to potentially getting or giving COVID-19. Think of it as an opportunity to open up those pores and sweat out some impurities. And if you really can’t stand it, you can always wear a face shield, which doesn’t sit directly on your face, to give your skin some air.

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I’m only going in for a minute

You’re only popping into the pharmacy for five minutes. You’re just going into the grocery store for 10 minutes. It’s always “just a few minutes.” Well, the COVID-19 virus doesn’t really care how long you’re staying. If it encounters you, it’s going to try to get in you. Unlike the bouncer at a club, you can’t pass by and say, “I’m just using the bathroom and coming right out, so we don’t need to do a whole thing here.”

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It fogs up your glasses

So, wear contacts. And if you aren’t comfortable with that, there are ways to keep your mask from fogging up. You can place the bottom of your glasses over your mask, so as to seal the top shut, and keep hot air from escaping. You can also get a special mask with a nose bridge that leaves no openings over the top of the mask.

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You look stupid

I hear this one a lot: masks look stupid. Okay well, the good news is that, if that’s true, then the whole world looks stupid right now, and if everybody looks stupid, then nobody looks stupid, you see what I mean? It’s like when getting braces in middle school isn’t so bad because everybody has them anyways.

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You’ll just keep your distance

That’s a good effort, and also an important part of minimizing the spread. But realistically, if someone lets out a good, hearty sneeze that carries the virus, it could travel six feet. Furthermore, you could keep your distance from humans, but still touch something that an infected person touched a few seconds ago. The person is long gone, but the virus isn’t.

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You feel okay

Haven’t we all figured out by now that symptoms can take a while to show up? And that some carriers never develop symptoms at all? And, finally, from a selfish perspective, wearing a mask not only helps you not give COVID-19, but it can also help you not get it. So if you feel fine and want to stay that way, wear a mask.

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You’ll be outdoors

You won’t be in an enclosed space, sharing recycled air with people. Okay, well, that’s good, and being outdoors is likely safer than being indoors when it comes to avoiding the virus. Nonetheless, again, people can sneeze and cough outdoors, too. And they can touch and infect things outdoors, too.

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The staff are wearing masks

The staff at the restaurant, hotel, bar, pharmacy, boutique – you name it – are wearing masks, so you don’t feel the need to wear them. And they’re only allowing in limited customers at a time, so you feel totally safe. Great but…when did we stop seeing the workforce as human beings? They deserve to be protected, too. Wear a mask around them.

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I can’t eat or drink with it on

First of all, just eat or drink before you go where you’re going. Or lift your mask slightly from the bottom and sip from a straw. At a restaurant, when your tables are spread out, you may take off your mask to take bites of food. But you should put your mask on any time your server approaches the table to talk to you, or any time you get up from your table.

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It messes up my makeup

Well. Wow. When you put it that way, yes, you should certainly expose others to a potentially deadly virus so that you can look beautiful. If they get sick or die, they will understand – pain is beauty, right? Like, the pain of others, right? Oh…no. Put on a damn mask! Nobody cares how anybody looks right now, anyways.

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It’s my constitutional right not to

Some are leaning on this constitutional right thing – that they shouldn’t be told whether or not to wear a mask and it’s their right to go mask-less. But, think of wearing a mask like any other rule that’s in place to protect others and yourself. Like…don’t drive on the sidewalk or…don’t run with scissors. You sound about as dumb as someone saying, “It’s my right to eat broken glass!” when you say, “It’s my right not to wear a mask!”

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I forget to pack them

Well, this is so easily fixed. Buy a couple of boxes of disposable ones. Keep a box in your car. Keep a box by your front door. Tie a bandana around your most commonly-used purses and bags. Put up a sign on the inside of your front door that says, “Wear a mask!” to remind yourself.

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They don’t match my outfit

Again, nobody really cares how anybody looks right now. It’s not on the forefront of our country’s mind. But if this is really an issue for you, it’s still no excuse, since so many brands and designers have put out cute, fashionable masks to match with all sorts of apparel.

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I could be breathing in my own germs

Uh, I’ve got news for you: you can’t infect yourself. If you’re infected, then you’re infected, and that’s that. You’ve already been breathing in your own germs by the very fact that you live in your own body. Wearing a mask won’t intensify or prolong the illness for you.

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Nobody has it in my town

You don’t know that. Maybe nobody is getting tested. There are also a lot of false negatives. Also, there could be people who come in from out of town and pass it around. ALSO, also, also…remember back in February when the country at large took no precautions because “Nobody has it in the US?” Yeah. That worked out real well.

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