This is Highly Recommended, a column that focuses on what people in food industry are obsessing about right now: eating, drinking, buying.
Out of all the awkward dances we have learned, my least favorite is the one where I try to hide my face when a server approaches my table. In Philadelphia, where I reside, it’s not necessary to cover your face when you interact with servers. It is just common human decency. It’s easy to show respect for the well-being of restaurant staff when I eat out.
To quickly cover yourself, there are two basic movements: First, the chin buckle, where the mask touches the bottom of the wearer’s head, similar to misdirected facial hair. You can also use the ear hang to attach the mask to one ear, and then dangle it from the other. The diner grabs the mask at the lap and puts it on quickly when he sees a server. As wine flows, the speed of reaction slows down. Worst is the napkin bandit. He panics over the open dinner and covers himself with his napkin. A napkin that a waiter must clear later.
These movements can be embarrassing and awkward. I found a solution: mask lanyards. These have become my most popular pandemic accessory. A mask lanyard is an easy device. It’s a string that attaches onto the loops of a mask and dangles around you neck when you take it off. Imagine croak for your mask. This adjustable canvas mask by Tom Bihn is my favorite, but I attach one of these thin chains from Etsy shop Sun Stori to each mask. Sun Stori’s founder Tori Taylor (a 9-year-old girl) also designs customizable pearl lanyards. “VACCINES R SAFE”Oder “NO CHIN STRAPS”.
A mask wrapped around my neck makes me more efficient than reaching for my wallet or scrambling to find one when I reach the supermarket. A chain or pearl mask strap can add a touch of glamour to my otherwise heavy sweatshirt-clad wardrobe. It’s worth it for the compliments that I receive. They are so cute that members of my family stole my lanyards to use for their own purposes. I would recommend buying extra.
My lanyard hanging around my neck helped me get rid of the horrible mask choreography I hated since I was a child. Even though I have been vaccinated, I don’t think I will be removing my mask for long periods of time at a restaurant. It’s more important than ever to communicate with servers that hospitality is not a one-way street in this age of patchwork vaccination rollouts and constantly changing security policies.
Personalized mask lanyards
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