Good morning, Broadsheet Readers! Estonia gets its first female prime minister, it’s time to investigate Vicki Hollub’s legacy at Occidental Petroleum, and men don’t seem to figure out how to wear their masks. Have a productive Monday.
– Masking? Last week, the New York Times tried to answer a question that has plagued us for 10 months now: why do men seem to have such a hard time wearing their masks over their noses?
You must have noticed the trend by now. The man who shops at the supermarket. A family of four walks down the street, mother and children masked – but the father’s mask doesn’t quite reach his nostrils.
Or, like science reporter James Gorman, you might have noticed at the inauguration, when President Bill Clinton, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, and President Barack Obama all had sub-nose masks. (He didn’t notice that women made the same mistake last Wednesday.)
“It’s not a Democratic thing. Or a Republican thing. Or an inaugural thing,” he writes. “It’s a male thing. It’s like manspread, but with masks. Call it manslipping. “
It’s not that women have never taken their mask down, but Gorman has given a name to a trend – and he offers a few theories as to why this particular problem seems to plague male mask wearers (no pun intended). Are men’s noses too big for masks? Do men need more air? Ultimately, though, he provides evidence that invalidates those theories, including male doctors wearing masks all day long.
Still, wearing the wrong mask is better than not wearing it at all (although the high viral load in the nose can differ from the throat!). And the occasional slip is different from a persistent under-the-nose style.
At the end of this story, we have more questions than answers. While “manslipping” has more serious consequences than death-talking and mant-ripping, it – like those crimes – can remain a mystery that will never be solved.