Random forays: Masked conversations can be more revealing
To the discerning and observant individual, even a masked visage can convey a lot. In fact, the eyes have never had it so good (pun unintended)! After all, the eyes are the only visible expressionists of a persona which is hidden by the ubiquitous mask.
The eyes of people who frequently smile, tend to light up freely whenever they do, even under a mask. But those who are loath to show their teeth even in normal times, are also the ones whose eyes appear dull under the mask.
Everything depends, of course, on the inner citadel, the inner pitch, the inner environs that a human being carries within.The eyes could either be dancing around animatedly or sparkless and placid, easily indicating the state of mind of the masked one, unless he or she is ailing.
Some people actually look better with a mask on. No offence meant. Their eyes are obviously their best facial feature. In fact, with their wrinkles and other ravages of time hidden away under a mask, several individuals look much younger with a mask on, than they actually are.
Moustachioed and bearded men have suffered a great deal though. Months of being masked have left some of us utterly bereft of our usual auras. The hint of well-groomed hair on a man’s face can set some people’s pulses racing and other people’s hearts pounding. Quite the opposite may also happen, of course!
It is in a longish conversation or interview that the full impact of a mask can be felt, though. The wearer tries his best to make an impact with words, hand movements and even body language, but without the inborn gift of facial expression, every individual may struggle to be the person he usually is.
A masked conversation is much like an interaction on the phone, therefore, with the smile and the frown totally missing from the scene. The smell of coffee might do the trick at times, to kindle interest in what the other is saying, especially since the act of sipping coffee involves the uncovering of the lips at least.
Several people wear invisible masks all their lives, of course. It is difficult to penetrate their minds and discover what they really mean when they say something. Many mothers suffer a great deal, for instance, but hardly let their little ones know what they are going through. The forced façade of happiness which some of them have to maintain is almost impossible to uncover. Their innermost angst is seldom on display.
The voice is an amazing indicator of a human being’s mood, though. A quivering voice or a testy tone can give away hidden moods or feelings much more readily than a well-guarded facial veneer. The perceptive individual will therefore latch onto the faintest deviation from a normal tone to understand what a close one is going through.
Men probably have a lot to learn from women in this regard. A lady can often see through a lot of intangible layers with consummate ease. Men usually fail to recognise such signs and would do well to be more watchful, especially where their partners’ moods are concerned. Even the recent expedition to planet Mars has not provided any answers to this imbalance, though we men have been alleged to belong to that land!
Emotional intelligence undoubtedly plays a key role in understanding other people, mask or no mask. Those who are empathetic towards others and seldom bask in egotism are the ones who prove to be good company. Their levels of understanding the need for what to say, when and how, are much superior to those whose emotional quotient tends to be low.
The times that we live in are multi-layered and multifaceted. In any case, no one, but a true saint, can claim to have unmasked the secrets of the universe. Some masks will stay on forever-more, it seems, even when pandemic necessitated cloth coverings have long been consigned to the waste bins en masse.
American author, Lisa Mangum, said somewhat mysteriously that the best way to show our true selves is by wearing a mask. Be that as it may, a discerning individual can perhaps see through most masks.