Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Wrapped Up and Ready

Bandito Chic, that is the term now popular in Los Angeles to describe our new obsession with face masks. I learned this in the Wall Street Journal so don’t blame me if you think it is a poor choice of words. I grew up with the Frito Bandito character by the Frito-Lay company from 1967- 1971 (voice by Mel Blanc) before the lawyers got involved and he was both canned and banned. His pencil eraser is still in my procession someplace, I believe incorporated into a small scale Hoard Couture dress.

So…face masks. Love them, hate them, tolerate them, make them? Are these bits of protective face coverings the new fanny pack, pager, ear buds or phone case? You know, the “must have” accessory of the moment that will be mass produced in infinite quantities to match every outfit, taste level and designer logo? Will there be whole display sections devoted to merchandising these nose diapers?

Now I am not talking about the need for medical grade masks, of course there is shortage and supplies are woefully under-stocked. I am not talking about the thousands of home seamstresses (myself included) that have joined the cause and made hundreds for local use by our health professionals. What I am speaking of are the do-it-yourself-er solutions to looking like a bank robber. Speaking of which, add them to the list of the currently unemployed. (in addition to strippers, toothpick makers and people working on facial recognition technology).

Between the internet and the local grocery stores, anything goes. Socks for instance, there is video to cut a sock and make a mask with the unfortunate protrusion of a heel section on one cheek. The simple bandanna performs just fine of course which is totally Frito Bandito, even though he never wore one but we do associate bandannas with train robbers in vintage western movies. I saw a man wearing what looked like a knit jersey shirt sleeve that had been cut off and pulled over his face like a turtle neck gone wrong. Personally, I am waiting, just waiting, for control top pantyhose to make an appearance!

Then there is the elastic vs strings debate. Myself, I prefer elastic, but I make only strings. Elastic is the new tickle me Elmo. Can’t buy it, can’t find it, can’t order it… substitute with hair bands say the experts. Or cut open a bungee cord which makes me feel like a cross between Survivor and MacGyver. As for strings, the seam bindings are sold out, shoe laces are hard to find, and ribbon is just weird. It took me multiple tries to finally find a string method I like, long after my batches of masks have been delivered. Isn’t that always how things go? (FYI – String ties are better for people who wear hearing aids, oxygen tubing or eyeglasses, less irritation behind the ears, just say’n) Personally, I prefer strings because I like to tie one on.

Medical people aren’t bothered by masks, they have grown accustomed to that aspect of protection. Us lay folks however, ugh!!! My peripheral vision downward is completely cut off. Nobody can tell if I am smiling at them, of course, they also can’t tell when I curse at them either. Hmmm…bonus!  But there are advantages. If you happen to be someone (not me) who gets lip injections or Botox around the laugh lines…money in the bank! No need for that stuff. So too if you wanted a rhinoplasty (aka nose job), save the bucks and put on a mask. Make up? Why bother, those rosy cheekbones are no longer visible, that perfect shade of lipstick is a waste of time and if you put on sunglasses, damn the mascara as well. Think of all the time we are saving to add to our tally of time to kill while hanging out at home. Have you alphabetized the spices yet?

Internet sites including Pinterest, Etsy and others have multitudes of creative mask ideas using feathers, netting, bedazzlers, fur, and so on…. I predict there is an industry coming and a marketing ploy in place to get you to purchase masks as a "must have" fashion accessories. Heaven forbid what would someone think if you wore a mask that didn’t match your outfit? I bet sports franchises and other logo/mascot based businesses are already cranking out the fabric. Staying at Caesars Palace in the future? Forget the golf shirt souvenir, it will be a signature logo mask.  Rooting for the Steelers? Better have their team colors on your face. Wearing Chanel to the ladies lunch? Coordinate with pearl trimmed CC fabric hiding those now deflated lips.

So much can change with the addition of mandatory masks such as the art of self-defense, now just a sneeze away. Feel threatened in public or while on a hike? Pull down your mask and start coughing.  Perhaps a teen afraid to be laughed at for wearing braces? Put on a mask, “doctors” orders, nobody will argue. It does make it tough to chew gum and blow bubbles however. And Halloween!... costumes will not be a mask, but a face without one (with its unbleached teeth, mustache waxing, nose bob job, lip fillers, chin hairs….who needs a werewolf mask now?) So as long as Dr. Action rules our fashion and DeWine says the look is fine, we here at Hoard Couture will do our part and make face art.  

PS – Banana bread follow-up number two. Follow-up one was on the last blog but only 7 of you read it. This time I made 2 loaves but had to substitute plain pecans (walnuts sold out) and some left over chocolate chips I found in the back of the pantry. The extra oil and milk didn’t seem to affect the outcome either since I did not want to leave a half cup in either container.

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