As news from the governor of the Lone Star State finally issued a notice stating that masks can come off and businesses can get back to full capacity, I found myself hugging two strangers. One of the women pulled her mask from her purse and said, “We need to have a good ole fashioned bra burning with these masks.” Noticing that she had pulled the mask from her purse and had not been wearing it, I had no doubt she could lead the charge!
I have not worn a mask since April 2020 when I sensed something was not right with the pandemic hysteria. As the months dragged on and I lived in my leggings, I was more and more convinced that something wicked this way comes. I could not shake the feeling but decided to go everywhere without wearing a mask. I would smile at strangers and talk to them as I passed them in stores. There were times when I would get into an argument with a hall-monitor type in the produce section about my constitutional right and my right to my medical privacy. One such monitor went so far as to tell me she did have a right to know if I had a medical exemption to not wear a mask. Another one asked me to step away from her while I was in line at the check-out counter as if I had the plague.
These experiences that I had were not unique to me. My close friends and I are very like-minded and were discussing our experiences about being in public without a mask on. Often, the biggest problem was that we were completely alone at a store and stood out like a sore thumb. We devised a plan that developed into what we now call a Masquerade.
A Masquerade is an outing with friends into local retail establishments or restaurants without a mask. We typically plan on visiting 3-5 local businesses on each Masquerade. When we arrive, we enter the premises separately on 2-5 minute intervals and spread out to shop separately. The goal is to let the public see several unmasked and smiling faces in one store. Humans are created for relationships and we firmly believe that people need to see people. There were times that we were told how inconsiderate we were by the above mentioned “hall-monitor” types. We kept our phones out so we could text each other if we felt like we needed support and one of our team to come to our side. My small group of friends has become an influential action group.
How to Masquerade:
- Gather a group of interested, unmasked friends.
- Plan an itinerary: usually we venture into 3 or 4 “problem” stores but make sure we stop by stores that are friendly to our cause. We want to support fellow patriots!
- Arrive in the parking lot at the same time but stagger going into the store.
- When you go inside don’t do it with a mask on and then take it off later. When the greeter tries to hand you a mask simply say, “No, thank you.” Keep walking. They are usually too shocked to do anything else about the matter.
- Stay and shop for about 20 minutes. Ask an employee for help finding a product. Look people in the eyes and SMILE. Know that you are helping our country heal one smile at a time.
- Keep your phone out in case you run into anyone that tries to harass you. Do not be afraid to call the manager or record any negative interactions.
- Stay calm, kind, and confident, and never confrontational.
- Repeat at the next location!