Ladies, if it were broad daylight and you were out with a girlfriend, would you be creeped out if a masked stranger approached you with a gift? Under most circumstances this would be cause for alarm, even as far back as the 19th century. ‘The Masked Admirer’ by The Continental School depicts this scenario in a straight forward manner while using our subjects’ body language to successfully illustrate this uncomfortable interaction. The woman, hunched toward her companion and away from the masked gentleman while shooting him an expression of disgust, is obviously upset by his approach, and his wearing of the mask in this public scene is probably the primary cause for her reaction. Maybe she wouldn’t be as defensive if he ditched the mask. Just a thought.
On the other hand, perhaps the anonymity of the mask offers this otherwise shy man a method to approach the woman without fear of outright dismissal. The fear of being rejected face-to-face might concern him, so he wears the mask to shelter his pride when she disapproves. Of course the creepiness factor of approaching a woman in this manner might not occur to him, since he’s so focused on the possibility of rejection. Two different worlds.
Online social networks grant modern folks their own form to anonymity as the court strangers for romantic—and not so romantic—involvements. Not sure if a masked man offering a gift at one’s doorway is equivalent to anon-bros from dating sites sending unsolicited photos of their bodies, but I’d say their the same ballpark and definitely merit caution, if not a call to the police.