While parties are a lot of fun to go to, there’s usually some stress involved: when do you show up—on time(-ish) or fashionably late? Is an ex going to be there that you’re trying to avoid? How many glasses of champagne should you have so you’ve got a light buzz going but you’re not likely to do anything embarrassing?
Social etiquette is difficult enough to navigate as it is, let alone throwing in a masquerade element to it. Wearing a masquerade mask can pose its own set of challenges, one of them being how to eat while in masquerade—and look good while doing it. Here are our top five tips for effortless masked dining.
Yes, we know: this seems obvious. However, not all masks are created equal when it comes to ease of wear and food-friendliness. Choose a compact Colombina style that only covers the eye area as opposed to your entire face. The advantages of this mask is that it’ll be easy to breathe, speak, and eat while wearing it, but the disadvantages are that you’ll be easily recognizable as it won’t offer much coverage.
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You’ll likely receive your mask before the day of the party, so sit down, get comfortable, and get acquainted. If you know you’re going to be eating dinner while wearing your mask (and it’s a mask that covers your entire face), test it out in front of a mirror before your event. Try eating a range of foods with different textures and temperatures (hot soup, ice cream, crisp bread) and see what it looks like. Does it look messy? What foods were easy to eat, and which utensils were the most useful? Keep these foods in mind when you’re at the party and you’ll avoid making a mess. After all, practice does make perfect.
Liquids are (in theory) less messy than solid foods when you’re wearing a mask. There’s less chance of getting crumbs stuck in your mask, there’s no chewing involved (which is awkward and not particularly graceful when you’re wearing a mask), and with the help of a straw (see #4) you’ll look like you know what you’re doing (and that you will, you mask-wearing, food-eating pro, you). Since you likely can’t survive solely on liquids for the night, make sure you only eat foods that are bite-sized (think little canapés), or that you’ve sliced, cut, or broken into small enough morsels.
If you really don’t want to take your mask off while you eat or drink, then a straw is going to make things a whole lot easier for you. Simply lift up the bottom of your mask, sneak a straw in there, and you’re ready to sip on whatever your heart desires without looking like a mess. This works great for drinks—cocktails in particular—and things like soup. A dessert spoon with a long handle is great for scooping up little bites of more solid foods.
If you’re happy to reveal your identity, then this is hands down the best option for eating gracefully with(out) a masquerade mask. Simply remove it and place it carefully next to you, or out of sight if you’re worried about your secret identity being compromised. Don’t lift it and wear it like a hat—it looks tacky. You can tie it back on after the meal is over and enjoy the rest of your evening incognito.
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