Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Masks That We Wear

I was in a club in Makati with my friend Toph, looking down from a ledge at a large group of people dancing. Toph wasn't in a good mood, and when he's not in a good mood, he has a tendency to rant.

"Just look at them. It's so disgusting."

Eyebrow raised, I looked at him sideways, curiously. "What do you mean?"

"Everything is just so fake."


"Fake. I mean look at that guy." He pointed at a guy dancing on a small stage to our left. "I'm sure that when he's at home, he's a minimum wage worker who probably had to save money all week just to be able to get in here. But here he acts like he's the coolest guy ever created in the history of the world. It's so annoying."

"I'm sure that he's just here to have fun."

"Of course not. Look at him. That swagger, that annoying posture. He acts like he's God's gift to mankind."

I didn't really know what to say. So I kept quiet.

"See, I have a theory," Toph elaborated. "A lot of these people who act so cool, and so composed, and so goddamn perfect are really losers out in the real world."

He now had my attention. I looked at him directly. I wanted to see if he was sincere.

"See, look at that guy." He pointed to another guy dancing in a dark corner of the bar. "I know him. He's jobless, and practically homeless, and he sells soap to random people as a means to get by. I even know one person he slept with whom, right after they did the deed, he tried to sell soap to. It's just all so sad. But here, look at him. He acts like he owns the place."

"Well, he doesn't really act like he owns the place, but I get what you mean. He does seem a bit conceited."

"That's because he is. And I don't get it. These masks."

"We all wear masks Toph. You know that better than everyone else. Hell, it's your job to make something or someone look better than he really is. I think you call that marketing or advertising. In the real world, we call that lying."

"Hahaha. What can I say? I'm a corporate prostitute. And I get what you mean. But it's one thing to wear a mask and know it's a mask, and another to believe it is the real thing."

"I agree. But we all need to wear masks sometimes."

Photo taken here.


  1. there's where the poker face comes in.

  2. Sometimes we all have to wear masks to get away from the world we know as failure. It makes us feel better about ourselves for those few hours before we have to go back to our not so awesome lives that some people have. So what if the guy sells soap, at least he's not doing something negative like stealing to get by. As it has been proven, we pick on those who we feel are worse off than we are just so we feel better.

    P.S. ♥ the background.

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

    Your writing is absolutely beautiful. I love the way that you just take what you want to say, and say it. It's simple, and yet completely extraordinary. Although this post is about hiding behind a mask, I think it's amazing that you are not doing the same with yourself through your writing. You're showing the world who you are, and you're not changing, whether or not we choose to except you. And that, my dear, is more beautiful than could ever be described in words.

    So thank you, for sharing your wonderful talent. And feel free to stop by my blog again. I'll be following you. :)

  4. We are actors in a play, called to perform our parts in this danse macabre of life. Lifeless forms, barren clean slates, culling from narratives and dialogues the character we need. Rehearsing in our minds the personalities we wish to project. Creating worlds of infinite possibility, and immensely frailty, suspending disbelief of our own sordid sonatas.

    The vespertine bell tolls, and the play begins. Whose sharp and twisted foils will progress, regress, and caress until the dusk breaks its plot. Till then, it's a play. After which, we pay.

  5. "I think you call that marketing or advertising. In the real world, we call that lying." <-- I love this line. so true!

  6. It's so true, we all wear masks. Some wear them better than others.

  7. This artik is wonderful! True enough, we all wear masks, but we should know when to take them off. We wouldn't want to come to the point where all we've got are our own hands to cover our face because of shame. Nicely written! Really. :)

  8. I sometimes wear a mask. If I was who I TRULY and UTTERLY am, I wouldn't have many friends. Maybe. But I'm trying to change that.

  9. Some wear masks to mimick who they wish to be and some where them to disguise who they have become

  10. I wear a mask at work. And home. I feel like only my fiance and the people who read my blog know the real me. Sometimes it's just easy to conform and not be honest with what you have than to be honest and let cruel people see what makes you vulnerable.

  11. Loved this slice of life conversation!

    Some people might consider good manners a mask.

    I guess we all wear them to one extent or another, usually to protect ourselves or to put forth some image our bosses insist upon at work. Professionalism and all of that.

    Thoughtful post. I'm liking your stuff.

  12. Wearing a mask is an individual choice. A mask is unnecessary we are not born into this world with a mask. People decide to put on masks and by so doing compromise their own humanity and reinforce a synthetic society. An individual's desire to wear a mask has everything to do with "learned behavior."

    Participating in a particular social environment is also.. a choice.

    Thank you for visiting my blog!

  13. Anyone can pull a face behind a mask, but be careful, you never know who else might by pretending too.

  14. I think if we all take a deep look at ourselves, there's not one of us who can say "I have never worn a mask, I have always been myself". Seriously who can really say that and truly believe it? It's a human trait I guess. As far as I'm concerned, I know I've worn masks, and a lot of time is to hide insecurities, pretending to be stronger then one is when all you should really do is put the mask down and let others in. I'm thinking about the people you talked about in your post, it's easy to criticise them from the outside, like your frined was doing, for wearing a mask pretending to be happy or the "coolest guy in the room" when their lives aren't that great but maybe they're afraid to show their true self, I mean honestly, now-a-days society isn't very kind to anyone, now, is it?? It's much easier to hide behind a mask then to take it down, it takes a lot of courage to throw yourself in the lion's arena completely naked... It's those people, who wear masks as evidently as those two men, who need a lot more affection and friendship than they want others to believe.

  15. Thank you very much for your comment, Fickle Cattle. You are a very interesting, fun to read writer. I guess we do all wear different kinds of masks, don't we?

  16. weird naman kung pupunta ka sa isang party place tapos iisipin mo pa how much fun am i allowed to show since in real life, regular, corporate slave, middle-class lang ako? mejo restrictive naman, eh minsan you go to places to actually have fun.

    i say the friend had issues deeper than mere annoyance at people who wear masks. super nice blog btw. :)

  17. I loved that. What does your friend Toph do?

  18. 1) To defense of advertising - true advertising is telling the truth well. In other, more beautifully said, words, according to McCann advertising is the truth well told. (We will not argue because this will not end. =p)

    2) Masks - Sometimes (SOMETIMES), the masks that we wear become the people who we are. I glean from Ayn Rand that in a capitalist society, the man with the bigger dream wins bigger.

  19. nothing's wrong wearing a mask, sometimes. minsan it's escape when we feel miserable.

  20. Great post.
    Masks are a great way to protect yourself. We all do it. And we all, at one time or another, fall for our own BS. Sometimes the easiest person to fool is yourself!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  21. I love this piece. so true! I feel like a lot of people put on their mask before they leave in the morning, which is why it's so tough to break through and see people for who they really are.
    Thanks for commenting on my blog!

  22. Totally agree, everybody is guilty of wearing a mask to conceal, to disguise, to hide and to protect one's identity against something.

    It may be helpful for the meantime but I guess at some point, it will also ruin you as you're not showing your true emotions or intentions to something.

  23. Letting go of the mask takes courage...stand naked in front of a mirror in front of yourself staring truth in the eyes.......ask yourself, is the mask worth the lies that weigh heavy upon your Soul.... Step by tiny step you can begin to walk in truth, light and honesty, all it takes is that one first step towards the mirror......♥

  24. Your friend must be really in a bad mood that night. :)

    Masks are like opium to the soul. It can do good as much as it can harm.

  25. Are they really masks people wear or is that the REAL them, dancing happily in a club and NOT their rubbish job or lack of career? Interesting thoughts! Thanks so much for your lovely comment on my blog! :) x

  26. it is inevitable to wear masks sometimes. it protects us from preys and helps us find out who also wear masks.

  27. Perhaps the masks merely represent different facets of one's personality. The professional 'work' mask. The fun 'night-out-on-the-town' mask. The sexy 'vixen in the bedroom' mask, etc. People are like onions. They have many layers.

    Then again, when it comes to fame whores and other types of tool heads, this particular theory would probably be giving them too much benefit of the doubt.

    On another note, you are doing an amazing job growing your follower base. Keep up the great work! xo The Empress

  28. @nicky05: Hahaha, I love that song.

    @BeMistified: I agree. Sometimes the "real world" sucks, and we need to pretend for a while. There's nothing wrong with that.

    @fizzleh: You honor and humble me. Thank you. I have no words.

    @Red: Hahaha. A comment influenced by Shakespeare. I don't know if I completely agree. I agree somewhat.

    @DSM: Thank you. :-)

    @Dyche: Yea, others wear it so well it doesn't look like a mask at all.

    @Kai: Thanks! :-)

    @Mizz Ali: Me too. I doubt people would like the "real" me. Cultural and intellectual barriers are there for a reason.

    @Jayme: We have different reasons for wearing them, but I think we all have one at least.

    @Jenni: I completely understand what you mean. Sometimes I think they aren't masks, maybe facets of a personality.

    @Terry: Thank you. :-) And I agree. Good manners is a kind of mask.

    @natural selection: Interesting point. I'm not sure if I agree though.

    @Talia: Hahaha. That's true.

  29. @Ely Ann: I agree. Like I said, sometimes masks are necessary. :-)

    @Liz: Hahaha. Me too!

    @Kay: Thanks! :-)

    @Pat: Thanks. And don't be too hard on my friend. His comment had a whole history behind it I didn't have the time or the energy to put in my post. Let's just say he had a right to say what he did in light of the circumstances. :-)

    @Audrey: He does a lot of marketing work. :-) Thanks.

    @V: Hahaha, I knew tatamaan ka don. Well, in fairness, I agree with your definition of true advertising. On the other hand, mabibilang sa isang kamay ang dami ng ads na masasabi mong pasok sa ideya ng "true advertising", at least dito sa Pinas. So I think, pareho tayong tama. :-)

    @Cio: True, true.

    @Scarlet: Thanks! And I agree. I've fallen into that trap a few times myself.

    @Deanna: Thanks! Well, sometimes it gets us through the day doesn't it?

    @Life: Maybe. But, as I said, sometimes you do what is necessary right?

    @Gemel: It does take a lot of courage. But is it always necessary?

    @existence: Hahaha. He probably was.

    @Jessie: Oooh, nice point. Maybe.

    @Joanne: True that, and I completely agree.

    @The Empress: Thanks! And I agree. What I called masks may really be facets of a personality.

  30. @Life, the 2nd portion of your comment is spot on.
    I did not make my comment for anyone to agree with me. It is simply the sharing of information.

    We are not born with prejudice and bigotry anger and greed. We are not born into this world trying to be someone else It is "nurtured" by the environment we live in.

    We are born sentient human beings capable of the most beautiful acts of courage. Unless you change the "environment" or the experience you get the same abhorrent behavior in people, wearing "masks" for example this creates the inability for people to be the true self.

    The recurring theme in the comments is that people want to protect themselves... protect yourself from what exactly?


  31. @natural selection: Hahaha. I can probably make a whole new post in connection to your comment. I probably will. Thanks for the inspiration. :-)

    I still don't agree with you, but we can agree to disagree right?

    And like you, I did not write this post so everyone would agree with me. I wrote it to spark discussion. Which it did. I appreciate all comments, even those which are not in line with my own ideas.

  32. We all wear faces most of the time. Sometimes its inevitable, sometimes its just that we may look better.
    It reminds me of the song "Bodies" By Robbie Williams,

    All we ever wanted, was to look good naked,
    hoping someone could take it,

    God save me rejection, from my reflection,
    I want perfection!

  33. Thats just so true. Just so true. Less than a year ago my friend told me she didn't want to be friends with me anymore. She couldn't name a single reason, and you know why it was? Because i live in the wrong neighborhood. Because my parents aren't rich. Lovely, ain't it?


  34. Love love love the soap-seller. I mean it. I want to meet him. What an impression he's made!

  35. I want to hear everything you have to say! This is a great blog and your a great writer! I look forward to further elaborations!


  36. Nice post. You write beautifully. :)

    I'm more interested in the trigger behind your friend's theories.


  37. Masks are forms of self defence for a lot of people. Funny thing is, the masks they put up are often not all that likeable;v)

  38. We DO All wear masks from time to time!! I know I do!!

  39. What an intriguing perspective.
    Love your blog name. So creative : )

  40. wow, really lovely blog.
    wonderfully creative!

  41. well in the end it is a lot easier to fool other people than to fool yourself.. =)

  42. hmm.. well this was a message in tolerance. It remind us that we're taking the time to judge others we should just look in the mirror

  43. Fickle:

    Sounds strange to call you so. Thanks for stopping by my place. All of us role-play at different times and places. We are THE great performers and I improvise very well (Winks). Toph is a modern-day philosopher. The problem starts when we perceive the mask to be real.

    You're too good not to follow. So I shall follow your work but promise to write more of Toph chronicles! Lol.

    Joy always,

  44. i too do have a mask...which i wear everytime to guard me from the fake ones

  45. I told you last time you visited that i will come back for more truly enjoy your writing and every day of our lives we're wearing masks and changing them to fit our environment~

    Wild Rose~

  46. @Catharine: Hahaha. He did make quite the impression didn't he?

    @Angelo: Thanks. Maybe for another story. :-)

    @Cinette: That's true.

    @gayle: Thanks for dropping by!

    @Life and Taylor: Thank you.

    @Paci: Depende rin sa tao. :-P

    @SY: That's another way of looking at it. Interesting point.

    @Susan: Sure! And thanks!

    @Zealous and Raquel: Thanks for finding my post worthwhile. :-)

    @Wild Rose: Thanks for coming back. I hope you enjoyed reading more of my posts. :-)



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