Step by Step Guide: How to Wear a Mask

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Maliha Momtaz Oishi

It can be pretty easy for us dummies to get lost into the plethora of word meanings that Google throws at us so before I continue, let me clarify that ‘mask’ here is not a metaphor for the searing anguish that life has to offer. I am talking about a piece of fabric draped over one’s face as a protectant from impurities that have the potential to inflict harm onto an individual.

It’s a seemingly menial task, but even in these trying times of Covid-19, there are so many people who just can’t get the hang of it. You know there’s something’s off when even the world of Indian soap operas—infamous for nonsensical portrayals of life—encourages the viewers to wear masks and we still won’t wear it, because “it’s too much work”. Maybe we’re doing it wrong? The surge in the number of Anti Mask Movements, as well as people who refuse to wear masks out of sheer ignorance is pretty concerning. Therefore, I present to you an instruction manual on how to successfully equip one.


1. Getting into the zone

The first and probably the most challenging step is getting yourself into the mindset for the big feat you are about to achieve.

“Why should I wear a mask? How will it affect me? Will my life ever be the same?”

No, you won’t be the same. In fact, you’ll come out of this experience as a better, WISER person—think about it, this is your chance to make the world a better place for yourself and those around you. 

Deem yourself a masked crusader, if you will. Upon inquiry, you may discover that there have been many complaints regarding wearing masks, “I don’t wear a mask for the same reason I don’t wear any underwear, things gotta breathe”.

If Florida woman #643 is going to compare her ’things’ to the immensely complex system that is the human respiratory tract, then I think she has much bigger problems to worry about. 

“This is absolutely ridiculous. 1 minute in and I already feel suffocated! I don’t see why they’re getting away with blatantly imposing on our rights,” said Republican_at_HeartXx.

Well, surgeons and niqabis all over the world and the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe would have to disagree. Jim Carrey filmed 101 full minutes of The Mask and he’s still thriving. Even if it is bothersome, a little trouble breathing sounds better than never breathing again, doesn’t it?


2. Finding the right fit

Much like dating, finding a mask that is fit for your needs is extremely crucial. There’s a lot to choose from—mainly surgical masks, N95 masks, and clothing masks. You want a mask that’ll give you space and cover for you—a mask with the perfect length to width ratio that’ll hug your face just right. You could even couple it with a decent hand sanitizer, if you’re feeling funky. And I’m sorry to inform you, that fashionable-yet-functional lace mask isn’t going to work. Sometimes, looks aren’t everything.

3. Taking the big leap

Now, let’s come to the physical aspect of it all. You’ve done your research, you’ve had all the mental preparation you needed. It all boils down to this moment. Firstly, we’ll put on some music, say, Gloria Estefan’s Put on Your Mask to set the mood. 

What you want to do next is, extract the mask from its plastic packaging and gently place the mask on a hard surface in front of you. Contemplate this moment, you’re about to take it to the next level. Relax your finger muscles and bring them above the area in which you have placed the mask, and be careful so as not to bang your hand against the hard surface. Put your hands on either side of the mask and use your thumb, index finger and middle finger; take each of the loops in your hands and make sure not to tug too roughly. Stretch the mask and bring it closer to your face. Unclench your jaw to release any tension and close your mouth, we do not want the mask to get dirty. Pull each of the two strings behind your ears and snap them securely into place. The mask should be firmly planted on your face by now, bringing you one step closer to safety.

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You have successfully worn a mask and I’m very proud of you. It is now time to step out into the world, and enjoy the bounties of sweat and humidity and air pollution. Buy those groceries, take that walk and capture those sunset photos (not advisable but you don’t care, do you?) — 3 feet apart because you’re not stupid. Not anymore.

Fly my little birdy!


Maliha binge watches bad reality TV when she’s not busy laughing at men’s rights activists.


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