A definitive guide to what your face mask of choice says about you as a person

If you wear one with a vent, you’re an absolute weapon

Now that face masks are compulsory, even the laziest person can’t avoid wearing one. Your mask isn’t just something you wear to protect others from your mouth germs, it’s an extension of your soul.

That bit of fabric making your ears look silly tells people all they need to know about your general vibe. Your choice defines you.

Sure, we’d like to be at the point where we weren’t writing articles simply because someone on a uni confessions page said “why haven’t The Tab written this yet”. But we’re not. So here it is: What your face mask of choice says about you as a person.

The weird blue-y white-y surgical ones

You look scary and like you have no intention of committing to a face mask long term. Every time you put one of these on, it’s with the hope you’ll never have to wear a mask again.

A designer one with a logo on it

You know these things only work for like a few hours at most, right? No one in the Co-Op respects your drip.

The one that looks like a stormtrooper mouthguard (you know the one)

Very popular with Deliveroo drivers (possibly makes them more aerodynamic). You reckon you saw them at one point on a fashion runway back in 2011 but you can’t be sure. In any case, they’ll be an iconic fashion throwback in 2026 when the 5oth strain of COVID comes a’knocking.

One of the ones with the little vents

You bought this mask in like, March, and were wearing it on public transport way before everyone else. Definitely the kind of maniac who irons their clothes.

A fabric one made by your mum

You don’t have the heart to tell her these don’t fit properly unless you wind the straps round your ears (sorry mum), but when a bunch of these arrived in the post you were buzzing to have something a bit less acne-inducing.

Until you realise they’re made either from your Dad’s pants or your favourite childhood t-shirt.

One of the masks that nips up to your nose

Roughly 40 per cent of the conversations you have at the moment are about how bad masks are for your skin. You’re getting break-outs like never before! So to try and solve it, you got one of these badboys, which covers all your face holes but a minimal amount of skin. Congratulations, you’ve got slightly better skin, but at the price of every stranger thinking you’re not wearing a mask properly.

A fancy fabric one ordered online

In some ways, you have to respect the commitment to mask-wearing – you recognised that masks would be a significant part of your life, and decided to get a nice one. It fits really well over your face and doesn’t need to be twisted to stop it falling down.


However, this kind of mask – always with a nice pattern – also marks you out as a bit neurotic. Hand cream for when they crack from over-washing, throwing clothes in the wash as soon as you get back from the shops – there’s no measure too much.

A uni-branded face mask

This is a habit that starts ironically and ends with you losing a hotly-contested election for social sec of your uni’s finance society. Find another mask and save your soul from creeping corporatisation.

One of the very thin, velvety ones where you can see the cut edges

Ok, fair, at the time these were an improvement on the basic, surgical masks. But now, months into the pandemic, you wearing this mask really shows us how little you leave the house,

A scarf

You realise about 20 minutes after leaving the house that your fluffy number from Zara doesn’t just filter your breathing, it outright prevents it. Not only that, the cashier at Sainos can’t actually hear you so you end up taking it off entirely. A scarf is a bad idea, buy a mask you weirdo.

A see through or one with actual holes in

Are you a Facebook mum who saw this and thought it was a good idea?

A t-shirt pulled up like someone’s farted

You’re very forgetful, aren’t you? As soon as masks become compulsory in shops, you’ll be standing outside big Tesco, patting your pockets forlornly and making cute eyes at the security guard. Instead of being a big boy and going back to get your mask, you pull your t-shirt up over your nose and enter the shop without making eye contact with a single soul.

When you get back home with your Ristorante pizza, you have to call a housemate back from the pub to let you in as you’ve forgotten your keys.

One with tie-up strings instead of elastic

Not being funny but you are a weird kid. How do you even tie these up? Where did you learn this skill? The war? I genuinely don’t understand why they continue to make these without the elastic and I never will.

An actual fucking tea towel

Jesus Christ are you okay? I know Boris said it was technically okay to use these as face masks but you didn’t actually have to go full Bear Grylls and grab the nearest possible thing – like, everywhere sells regular face masks at this point. Plus, you look like you’re at a riot, please show some decorum – we’re in a pandemic.

A perspex face-shield

Unless you are working one of those “job” things I’ve heard about online, you do not need to be wearing this much protection. In fact, your wearing it is borderline insulting to the people who actually need to shield their whole face from the evil corona particles everyone’s spewing about these days. Maybe you’re trying to make a statement – you’re so on board with the new rules you might as well build a HS2-esque line directly into Boris’s bumhole and live there. You neek.

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