Do you know that moment of serious shock after you see a person taking of their mask for the first time? Does the person suddenly look utterly weird or different than what you imagined to you? And you neither know why you do not like it, nor why you even relive that uncomfortable moment until you get used to their face? Or do you yourself even feel more comfortable wearing a mask because, well – turns out hiding your new pimple behind the mask comes in kind of handy!
Well then, you are not alone. Who knew that COVID would result in this trend on TikTok called ‘Maskfishing’, which is about judging a person’s face after first seeing them with a mask. ‘Maskfishing’ is a play on the term ‘Cat Fishing’ which is about faking an online persona to lure another person into a relationship; therefore, Mask-fishing is about the hurtful act of seeming more attractive by wearing a mask. But luckily, most of the people participating in this trend are conventionally attractive, or are they? Though, according to this article from Distractify, some – who are not as conventionally attractive – really show the severe issue we are facing right now, specifically in the dating world: people apparently feel deeply disappointed and betrayed, sometimes even cheated on, when they are being mask-fished. There is an online feud right now about either showing that you take COVID VERY seriously by wearing a mask on your profile picture or showing your full face. So how are people supposed find a match, a date, a partner, a soulmate, the love of their life, especially in these already lonely and distant times if they are not even able to see their whole faces’ online? It is a tragedy and people suffer.
However, the actual reason for the surprise and shock of seeing peoples’ whole face after only knowing what they look like with masks on is not because they are ugly, but because of our brains have this certain ability called Amodal Completion where we can fill in visual gaps by retinal information or memory. Obviously, you can not fill in a gap with the visual information of something you have never seen before, like a stranger’s face. But you have probably seen enough lower faces during your life, that your brain remembers the basic look of a nose, a mouth, a lower face. The interesting part now is that you will see a ‘mash-up’, an average of every face you have seen before, and if the person does not actually look like that, you are confused, as this article from Psychology Today states.
Therefore, judging people after taking off their mask for the first few times is not smart, but ignorant. Usually the person is not ugly, just not average, and you are just not used to their face yet. So do not be an idiot and let yourself be led off the rails by the simple tricks your brain plays on you, but be kind and empathetic. Then it will also not affect your dating life too much).