SO I’m off the wine tonight because I am cooking a steak, which of course necessitates a bottle of Bordeaux, and as I have paid the dentist half of this month’s rent to whiten my teeth post-lockdown, it just isn’t worth it.
You may consider me vain for spending so much on teeth-whitening trays and gel, but the most important weapon I think we women can have in our arsenal is a welcoming smile.
This is followed by a clear complexion and let me tell you that, when everyone started wearing masks, a lot of the skin care companies came out with creams to treat those newly afflicted by ‘mascne’.
If you don’t believe that women are obsessed with making their faces look good, just review the statistics published by Finder on the UK beauty industry, which is worth £27billion – cosmetics alone forming the third-largest retail market in the United Kingdom as of 2020.
When the beauty salons reopened last April and I was finally able to have a proper manicure, I hauled myself over to the local nail bar. Asked to slip on a mask, I fished out a silk sequinned number from my handbag and went to the rack of bottles to pick out a colour.
Standing in the salon near the window, I got so absorbed in the various options that I had forgotten I was wearing a mask when a middle-aged lady came beaming toward me and said: ‘Oh, you have such a lovely face … mask’.
WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS THE DISAPPOINTMENT I FELT AT THE UTTERANCE OF THAT LAST WORD. I stood there, shocked and biting back the tears. We’re told to keep a stiff upper lip in the face of adversity, and normally that is hard for me, but the mask worked perfectly to hide the quivering.
Lockdown was trying for everyone, I imagine. But the mask mandates were like shoving your dog’s nose in its poo to teach it a cruel and pointless lesson. As of that moment in the salon, I refused to wear a mask on the Tube, on the bus, at the gym, in the store, nowhere, nevermore.
People who run in the park with masks, drive alone in their cars with masks and put masks on toddlers remind me of mummies preparing their faces for an embalming with the purpose of accelerating their soft tissue decay and possibly the hope that they will one day make it to being dug up and put on display at the Science Museum.
The worst members of the mask hall of fetishisation are the faskshinistas. The ones who match their masks to their outfits or get really trendy designer ones and – guilty as charged for pulling out a sequinned number that afternoon in the nail salon – of choosing the daintiest ones possible.
As with a lace fan or a handkerchief, I wonder whether some day it will become a ploy to grab some guy’s attention by dropping your mask on the ground. Would the truly chivalrous gent venture to pick it up? And were he to hand it to you, would you seductively put it back on, gently tucking it behind your ears?
By the way, I totally deserved that humiliating faux compliment from the psychotic mask-lady in the nail salon for even owning a sequinned face covering.
At the start of the pandemic, before masks were made mandatory, I had gone to Poundland to get a plastic round decorator muzzle, because I was told this was the correct thing to wear when attempting to remove mould stains from the shower tiles with bleach.
Whilst I never did manage to get around to the stains, this purchase did prove useful. A friend who was over catching up needed an Uber and, as she didn’t own a mask, had to borrow this one. I told her she could keep it and she was extremely grateful.
This is from a woman who actually had a terrible time during lockdown from not being able to get her regular Botox injections. This eventually made her so depressed that by last winter she was following all government orders to the letter and wouldn’t so much as venture out for a cup of coffee (which apparently now you can have delivered).
The final thing I have to say about masks (and I am sure you have heard all of the arguments for and against), is that my Best Gay Friend told me when the clubs reopened for parties with strangers involving the removal of all apparel (except for footwear), masks remained obligatory.
BGF said that it was rule strictly enforced in all the clubs. So you could do whatever you wanted, with whomever, as long as your face was covered. Right – so being that careful not to spread the virus or any other type of disease, it stands to reason that none of those boys would be particularly bothered about smudging their makeup.
Oh, sod the teeth … where’s that bottle of Bordeaux?