Men Asking Me To Un-Mask Is Weird

Makes me feel naked

Zed Bee
3 min readJan 27, 2022


Photo by Maia Habegger on Unsplash

I know that what I’m about to say is going to sound a bit crazy. Or a little bit mad. But I’ve experienced this a couple of times now and it still elicits the same reaction. I’m usually standing, minding my own business when some guy will enter my zone of peace and after a few pleasantries, he’ll ask me to remove my mask so that he can see my face.

Whenever it happens, I inwardly cringe. It’s an involuntary reflex. It almost feels like I’ve been asked to remove my clothes so that my body can be inspected. That’s the only way I can describe it. Just the mere request makes me feel vulnerable, not to COVID, but to being, for want of a better word, sexualized. Is that the right word? I don’t know.

I find the whole scenario very, very weird. I find it weird that someone would approach me with just my eyes on show (because I wrap my hair in a scarf too, it’s winter and it’s cold) and on the basis of this little information alone, this person has decided to strike up a conversation.

I don’t know whether this is a testament to how amazing my eyes look or how low their standards are.

And to clarify which way I think the needle is swinging, I have never ever received a compliment on my eyes. They’re not blue like the ocean, or green or hazel, or even honey brown. They are so dark they look black. For a long time, I actually thought they were black. So I know it’s not my eyes.

It’s definitely not my body. As I mentioned, it’s the middle of winter and I have perfected the art of “just stepped out to the corner shop” look. Headphones on, mask on, hooded sweatshirt on, non-figure hugging parka coat on.

I don’t mind people approaching respectfully but I do wonder whether coronavirus is affecting people’s ability to measure risk. Going out on a limb to talk to me when there isn’t much to go on is a risk.

Photo by Spencer Backman on Unsplash

But it’s the idea of having to lower my mask to be assessed by someone else is what makes me cringe. The mask is on for a reason. I’m struggling to find the right words to describe how confounded I feel…



Zed Bee

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