Masks Are The New Lipstick

Do you like my new mask?

My friend Tora (HI TORA) made it for me, and I’m so grateful. Even though I’m only getting groceries once a week, I was feeling weird about throwing away a mask every time. Does it seem strange to anyone else that only six or seven weeks ago we were all talking passionately about plastic straws and bags, and reducing everything, and now the grocery stores are encouraging use of those same plastic bags instead of reusable ones, and we are all throwing away gloves and dying to get our hands on plastic bottles of hand sanitizer? IT FEELS WEIRD TO ME. I am still using my reusable bags – I’m packing my own groceries, as per recommendations – but I am feeling weird about throwing away the gloves I wear to the store. Well, anyway, I like my new washable mask, and it has hearts on it! And it’s pretty! And every little bit counts.

God bless you all who have to wear masks all day, every day, due to your jobs, because they are – in my opinion – very unpleasant. I am a person who is Cold All The Time and I find them hot and awkward to wear; I find when I smile that my lower lashes get stuck on the mask, causing many mascara smudges, and if I find myself wearing sunglasses while waiting outside for thirty-five minutes just to get into Costco, those sunglasses are constantly fogging up. I guess you get used to it.

The upside? If you find yourself close to Ladies’ Holidays, and subsequently have the need to use your teenager’s acne medication on a spot on your jaw, and you find yourself despairing over using acne medication AND wrinkle cream, well. At least the mask covers things up nicely, is what I’m saying.

The lineup for Costco was “light” but, as I said, took 35 minutes and see all those carts? That’s the maze that one needs to stand in to get through it. I am not at all complaining; it wasn’t that cold and I had the foresight to bring a book with me, so I finished re-reading Bridget Jones’ Diary, which was much less charming than I remembered. It doesn’t really – in my humble opinion – stand up to the test of time, but then again, it was written almost 25 years ago.

The upside to the Costco lineup is that it is actually very pleasant to shop in the store. There are so few people allowed in that it is incredibly easy to social distance, and there are virtually no lineups at the checkout. The cashiers wipe down and sanitize everything between customers, which takes a few minutes, but I am happy that they do that. There are big bottles of sanitizer everywhere, so I did not even wear gloves on my most recent trip; I just sanitized a lot. My hands look much worse than usual, but so far so good.

As I was leaving, I showed the girl my receipt from behind her plexiglass stand. “Thank you, SIR, have a great day!” she said cheerfully. Huh. Sir. I hope that it’s just the strain of repetitive speech that is getting to her and not my Pandemic Appearance.

I don’t have the wherewithal to watch anything for a long period of time – this is not pandemic-related, I just rarely can do it – and so my husband and I watched the opening sequence of Jesus Christ Superstar Live. To be honest, I don’t REALLY love the whole musical; I find it drags a lot but I do love Herod’s Song and the opening and closing sequence. There’s a name for the opening sequence, what is it, I should know this. Oh! Overture. Anyway, I have always loved the overture; the original version especially I love. What’s not to love, all those sweaty hippies dancing frantically and putting together the set in the Israeli desert. IT IS INCREDIBLE. And the Live performance is just as incredible, in a very different way.

As we were watching, though, I found myself horrified by the crowd. Everyone so close together! Aiee! And then Jesus/ John Legend went to the front of the stage and grabbed the hands of the people in the front row. “He’s touching all those HANDS!” I said to my husband, horrified. Reader, he also kissed his own hands and blew kisses into the crowd. After touching SEVERAL DOZEN HANDS. It’s amazing that only a few months ago I would have never thought twice about it and now it seems like the Highway To The Danger Zone. Good LORD.

I find I have to talk to myself calmly when I go out to get groceries. It’s hard not to think all those hands that touched this same thing, you could really lose your mind thinking about it. Did I contaminate my purse by touching it? Did I touch the door to the grocery store refrigerator and then accidentally touch my pants? Should I strip down in the yard and burn all my clothes? Well. I speak calmly to myself and just congratulate myself for doing the best I can do. If you think too much about a thing, well, that way madness lies.

Anyway. I am NOT going out of my way to disinfect every single item I bring into the house, I am trying to have faith that They Are Okay and It Will Be Okay because, well. I am just trying to hold on. There was a video going around about how to disinfect your groceries and I could not even click on it, not for even a second. I also heard – through Swistle’s blog, since I refuse to look at the news or any “articles” that people “helpfully” post on Facebook – that the transmission from touching something is much, much, much lower than the transmission from having someone talk to you (or, god, cough near you) in your 2 metre bubble. Which brings me back to the mask! And how much I love it and how grateful I am to have it. As I’ve said before, masks are the new lipstick, which is a good thing, because they have discontinued my favourite shade. But that is a topic for another day. xo


  1. I am VERY HERE FOR the fashionable/pretty masks that are already appearing to make a bad situation a little more decorative.

    Also, I saw some sort of contagious-disease expert on Twitter absolutely GOING OFF on that video about grocery-sanitizing. His gist was that the doctor may be an expert at doctoring but did not know THING ONE about contagious-disease stuff, and that the whole video was ridiculous, and I am very glad to accept that as truth because I too could not even click on it.

  2. I love your mask. My MIL made us some really cute ones too. I’ve not been crazy cleaning grocery containers; but I do wash my hands after touching any of them. Also, trying to not make myself crazy with it all.
    I have a delivery coming from Costco tomorrow through instacart. Do you have that available? This will be my first one and I’m hoping it goes well. Ordered our produce, meats, coffee, TP and PT, etc…

    You made me laugh at Ladies’ holidays.
    Be well.

  3. I do in fact LOVE your mask. Very cute. I had a depressing thought at the grocery store today which was that I wonder if we will become recognizable by our masks, since now it is so hard to recognize people by their faces.

    Considering that I also went to the grocery store today, I have been having your same frets about decontamination. My husband and I talked it over and figured most everything is fine – after all, we will simply wash our fruits/veg before we eat them and wash our hands before eating anything, so it should be okay.

  4. Evidently it takes a pandemic to end my decade(?) of lurking. I’m also a swistle reader, and was SO grateful to hear that the grocery cleaning I’ve been doing is excessive. It was going to be the straw that broke me. It truly was.

  5. So crazy that I was reading this post about Costco shopping while waiting in a 20 min line to get into Costco. How funny is that?

    I like your mask. As soon as I shipped the masks I made off to some place in California that I was matched with thru a mask donation site, my machine broke. I have fabric cut to make dozens more. Machine is in the shop. Coach had one of my masks for work. His clinic just got word ‘mandated mask wearing’ so I got mine back from him. His company is supplying theirs.

    I too find myself watching something on TV from ‘before’ and thinking ‘Wow so many people in one place!’

    BTW I had never heard it called ‘lady holidays’ till I stumbled across your term on your blog. Ha.

  6. bibliomama2 says

    I wore a mask (also a super-cute one made by a friend) for the first time grocery shopping this week and it was deeply unpleasant. I had the same thought about health care staff who have to wear them ALL DAY while undergoing exertions and it almost gave me a panic attack. I never did go all in sanitizing the groceries, but I was really happy to have that validated. I was also using Lysol wipes on the kitchen every night (because I couldn’t find any bleach) until I said to Matt “wait, if soap and water works so well on our hands, why can’t I just use soap and water on the counters?” and he said “I believe you can”. So many opportunities to second-guess ourselves, and I am a champion at self-second-guessing. Sigh.

  7. I have been using more bleach than usual in household cleaning, especially in the kitchen, but on surfaces and handles, not on grocery packages.

    North made matching masks for the whole family (well, North and Beth, who helped with production last weekend).

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