At least for the near future, we’ll be required to wear them in shops, outdoors, when in groups and on public transport and there will be fines for noncompliance. Not many people will rejoice at this turn of events. You have to dig deep to find the positives of face protection, but that is what we must do. So, here are some reasons to make you feel better about masking up:

You can do anything you like under a mask. Sneer. Grimace. Pout. Bite your lips. Bare your teeth. Curl your lip. You may even stick your tongue out (though this will not be possible to conceal in certain closer fitting masks). The possibilities for silent insurrection are limitless.

If you are a wannabe Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, then a mask is a bonus. You may have seen pictures of Cruise getting out of his helicopter in Richmond recently, wearing a black sweater and jeans, black baseball cap and, naturally, a black mask: mysterious, a bit menacing, futuristic – what’s not to love?

If you missed your highwayman moment in 1981, it’s back. Get yourself a swashbuckling mask and imagine yourself shouting “stand and deliver”.

If you are vaguely avoiding someone, such as the neighbour you haven’t got around to waving at since lockdown began, a mask is your friend. Masks are like XL baseball caps. They make the wearer feel like they are almost invisible, which is more than half the battle.

The whole mask situation makes you more appreciative. Of mouths. And eyes. And a warm tone of voice. And people who laugh all the time.

It makes you grateful for the flash of teeth and the glint of fillings.

Read more