Masks are the trendy accessory now.

Many people in the community have agreed to wear masks when we’re in certain situations and around certain people.

It’s so strange to think that just a few months ago we didn’t ever think we’d have to wear face coverings on a daily basis. But here we are, breathing in our own bad breath and having to yell so other people will understand what we’re saying.

When the pandemic first hit, most of what you saw was the N95 masks — I think that’s what the medical ones are called. Now they’ve become almost fashion accessories and as with most fashionable accessories, masks have started to reflect people’s personalities.

Think about it. The hats or belts or bags or neckties you choose to wear say a little bit about you. So do masks.

Here are a few categories of masks I’ve seen around town and a sweeping generalization of the people behind those masks ...

Plain Jane — These are the folks who wear your regular, run-of-the-mill, blue N95 masks with the little white straps. These folks don’t have time to get creative. They’ve got bigger fish to fry than finding a personalized mask. The masks serve a purpose and that’s all they need ‘em for. So why get crazy with it? These people regularly contribute to a 401K and wear sensible shoes to work. Their kids have regular names with regular spellings — Michael, Sarah, Trevor, William, etc ...

The Patriot — These folks show their patriotism any time they can and that includes when wearing a mask. They ran out and bought American flag masks as soon as they were available. These folks love vacationing in PCB each year, the husband grills a mean steak and the wife drives a Chevy Tahoe. These families always had a least one dog in their lifetime named “Georgia.” Patriots name their kids Chase, Hunter, Skye, Remington and Ruger.

Bedazzled — These people need to stand out. If something is going to cover 50% of their face, they’re certainly not going to let that thing be plain and ordinary. These are the glittery, shimmery or otherwise bejeweled masks. They could be sequined, rhinestoned or glittered but they catch the light and they catch your attention. These folks love to be the center of attention and crave the spotlight.

WWJD — These folks want you to know the Lord is their savior. Their masks are emblazoned with crosses, other religious symbols or even short Scriptures. Covid can’t hurt them if the Holy Spirit is with them.

Bad and Boujie — You can spot these folks a mile away. Their masks proudly showcase their favorite high-end brands and labels. Whether it’s Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Coach, Chanel or Versace. These masks say opulence, wealth and sophistication. EXCEPT that most of those masks are knock-offs they bought at Trade Day. But I’m not judging. You wear that Louis Vuitton mask proudly while you’re shopping at Ross Dress For Less. People who wear boujie masks have children named Aiden, Kayden and Jaden.

Barely there — Also known as the thong mask, these are made with as little fabric as possible. They barely cover the mouth and nose so people are having to constantly adjust them.

Too Cool For School♦ — These folks are just too smooth for plain ole masks so they wear GAITERS. Now gaiters are the tube of fabric you wear around your neck and you can pull it up to cover your mouth and nose. I have to admit I think these things just look cool. And the people who wear them are simply cooler than the rest of us. I don’t think I could pull off the look but if you can, then I wanna be friends with you. People who wear gaiters are naturally photogenic and have kids named McKynsleigh, Bryson and Braxtyn. Please note, my editor made me mention here that university studies have found polyester spandex gaiters are not effective in preventing the spread of germs.

The Handyman — Medical-schmedical. These folks don’t need anything approved by the CDC. They went to Home Depot, got them some 3M construction masks and that’s good enough. This is the person you call when you’ve got drywall issues at your house or you need something rewired. This is a good friend to have.

The DIY — Some folks just have the time and the talent to make their own masks. They went to Joann’s or to Hobby Lobby and bought a bunch of fun fabrics, then they got home, turned on a true crime TV show and started sewing. They make floral masks and rainbow masks, tie-dye masks and even leopard-print masks. These people are generous and thoughtful. They made masks for everyone in their family to wear. And they have one or more cats.

Team Spirit — Y’all know someone like this. They HAD to run out and get a mask supporting their favorite sports team. Since their car decal, cornhole boards, cooler, hat and flip flops bear their team’s logo, their mask has to follow suit. Once cool thing I’ve seen around town is masks with local high school teams represented.

The Freebie — This is my category. My masks were sent to me by my health insurance company. They’re good quality masks and they say the company’s name on it. If you’re like me, you love free stuff and if someone gives you free masks at a time we’re expected to wear them, then you’ll take them with a glad and grateful heart cause masks can be expensive and some of us are just trying to make ends meet. Folks who wear freebies enjoy all-you-can-eat buffets, two-for-one deals and we LOVE when you go to a restaurant and they bring you free rolls, biscuits or chips before your meal comes out.

Severo Avila is Features Editor for the Rome News-Tribune.

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