Face Masks: The Condoms Of Coronavirus
There are many things we don’t yet know about the Coronavirus. But one thing is certain: wearing a face mask helps protect you and everyone around you.
Hmm, a small covering that you can wear to stop the potential spread of disease, to keep you and others safe…remind you of anything?
That’s right folks, I’m talking about condoms. Of course there are major differences between these two prophylactics. But there are also, and perhaps even more, parallels that I’d like to point out between them. Face masks are kind of like the condoms of Coronavirus. And just like actual condoms, everyone and their mother should be using them.
It seems like just yesterday our health teachers were saying things like, “Don’t be silly, wrap your willie,” or “No glove, no love.”
And though just hearing the word “willie” is enough to make you give up sex for good, there’s something to be said for the pro-condom propaganda we learned in our teenage years. It feels especially relevant during, you know, a global pandemic that spreads via respiratory droplets.
If you need any more reason to wrap it up before you slap it up, here are four ways face masks are like condoms, and why you should wear one whenever you leave your house.
1. You Need To Wear It Correctly For It To Work
Wearing a mask with your nose hanging out is like wearing a condom with holes in it. The same goes for wearing one of those “stylish” lace or fishnet masks. Those literally come with holes in them! Like condoms, face masks need to be worn correctly for them to really serve their purpose.
If it’s too big and falling off your face, you’re not really protecting yourself. If it’s too tight and you can’t breathe or talk, you won’t be able to function normally. Make sure your nose and mouth are both FULLY covered when wearing your face mask. If you’re nervous that you’re breathing in too much CO2, just think about how dentists and doctors have been wearing these for your entire life and you never once questioned it!
2. It’s Not Ideal, But It’s Better Than The Alternative
No one has ever said that wearing a face mask is the funnest thing ever. No one has EVER said that. I’m not pretending that it’s super enjoyable. Much like wearing a condom, face masks as a requirement for safety are not a part of anyone’s ideal reality. Wearing one doesn’t feel “just like” not wearing one. And yes, I concede that they are definitely a minor inconvenience during the day.
However – and this is a big however – the situation we are in is, not ideal, and wearing a mask is better than the alternative. The alternative is getting yourself or someone else very sick with a disease that doctors don’t know very much about. You don’t want to endanger someone that may not have health insurance or someone with a robust community to take care of them if they do get sick. Right?
You wear a condom to keep you from potentially spreading or contracting STIs or preventing unwanted pregnancy. Though wearing a condom may not be ideal, it’s certainly better than dealing with either of those two things. The same goes for face masks. It’s a small price to pay in the moment for something that could majorly affect your life forever.
3. It Helps If You Haven’t Been Recently Tested
In a perfect world, everyone would be routinely tested for STIs and there would be no stigma attached to a negative or positive result. In world we actually live in, people don’t get tested for STIs enough, which is why using condoms is super extra important.
Like STIs, face masks help you if you haven’t been tested for COVID-19 yet, or if you’re waiting on your results. Additionally, they help you if you don’t know the status of all the people you’re interacting with. While you may ask the people you date or live with about their test results, you may not get a chance to ask the cashier at the grocery store or the mail person.
4. It’s Not Really *For* You
The person that’s wearing the condom isn’t at risk for getting pregnant. They’re at risk for getting someone else pregnant, but not for carrying a literal human in their body for 9 months. The same can be said for Coronavirus. You may not be at super “high risk” for the virus. You may not even be worried about getting it. But a lot of other people definitely are. You wear your mask to keep other people safe. You wear your mask to show the people around you that you are taking the virus seriously and you care about their health. Wear your mask because it’s not really *about* you. Well, it’s about you, it’s just not only about you. Practicing compassion and empathy is as easy as tying a little piece of cloth to your face. It’s never been easier!
So if you’re conflicted about face masks, and feel like you’re being made to do something you don’t want to do, think about condoms. The similarities are profound. But our collective attitude about these two protective barriers are shockingly different. And P.S. keep your hands clean while you’re at it.
Griffin Wynne is a non-binary writer, artist, and plain seltzer drinker. When they’re not discussing sex in the ~digital era~ or crying to the Dixie Chicks, Griffin enjoys camping, reading, used clothes, and documentaries about cults. They’re a Capricorn King, a genderless cowgirl, and a ’70s mama who is always down for dollar oysters and road trips. Griffin uses they/them pronouns and has the same birthday as Kyle Richards.