Opinion

Fitting in the perfect mask

By James Bennett

Interesting times, interesting times.

First it was a blob of hand sanitiser and social distancing, now it's masks.

Curfews will sweep Melbourne, and the Goulburn Valley might have the same restrictions if things don't get better.

It's hard to determine which of former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld's ‘known knowns, known unknowns or unknowns unknowns’ will play out.

But for now let's deal with the masks.

There are some creative designs going around: floral patterns, sporting teams and multi-coloured sensations.

It's a big tick to see how people are using old fabrics and materials, which can cut down on waste.

Week one of mandatory masks produced a below average level of creativity among colleagues at the News office.

Some were too bland, but a few said others were on the way or they had material and a sewing machine ready to go.

I'm trying to have masks for different occasions. What goes well with my dinner jacket? Will that pattern match my car? Does my bum look big in this mask?

At this stage I have four masks on the go.

I will admit, my work mask is bland.

I have giant ears that also stick out. So I've selected a basic full brown mask that is light on the ears, blends in with the beard and easy to breath through.

My second mask was purchased from a 14-year-old girl, who created a heap of masks using material from her grandmother's dress.

The material has a hessian feel, which begs the question: who ever had a dress or article of clothing made from hessian?

I'm not in the fashion industry, so my knowledge extends only as far as reusable bags and roof lining.

The ‘questionable hessian’ mask has a jigsaw puzzle look about it. If you use your imagination you can guess how the shape fits with another part of the pattern.

It covers the face well, but it's not ideal if I go for a walk — uncomfortable, if I'm honest.

There's also a couple of medical masks floating around my desk.

Not entirely sure when these will be used, but I'll find a way. Maybe light exercise.

My favourite designed mask is also the roughest on the ears.

It has an orange base that fully encloses any part of the face south of the eyes.

But the elastic is too big and uncomfortable to wear.

I fear my elephant-like ears will fall off by Thursday lunchtime due to a lack of blood circulation.

Plus, it pushes my beard up, so when the mask comes off it looks fake.

That has led to a call from people around me to consider shaving the beard. I shall do no such thing — unless the government says all beards must be shaved when outdoors.

But if that's the case, I won't be leaving my home, and my housemate can do the shopping.

I'm here to fight for the rights of beards — and big ears, for that matter.

The orange mask can be saved for outdoors. Gotta look my best when in public.

Who doesn't find selecting the best mask for the day fun?

Ah yes, interesting times.