Slate’s homepage editors spend a lot of time looking for editorial photos to put on our site. Those searches sometimes yield unexpected results: random, perplexing, and mesmerizing photos that don’t belong on the homepage, but that are too good not to share. Every week, we’ll share the weirdest photo from the wires.
It takes a healthy dose of self-confidence to wear black lace lingerie on your face. I’ve seen a lot of, ahem, creative face masks in the past year and change, and this April 13 photo, taken at a German anti-lockdown demonstration, is perhaps the strangest of them all.
Where do I even begin? Besides the bold fashion statement this man is making with the panties, there’s an abundance of colors, textures, and patterns in his ensemble. He is layering a navy wool coat, a pink-and-blue plaid button-down, and what appears to be a silky polka dot cravat—with a backpack, so you know he means business. The neon orange glasses over the underwear tie it all together. (The person wearing all cheetah print in the background is icing on the sartorial cake.)
But what’s going on behind those glasses? The man’s gaze exudes ennui, which is not exactly the vibe I’d expect for someone wearing such a zesty outfit. Is there a German word for this feeling?
The photo is from a recent Berlin protest against Germany’s COVID-19 measures. The country’s Querdenker movement, composed of self-described “lateral thinkers,” sees the country’s pandemic response as an infringement on civil liberties. It has gathered steam among far-right conspiracy theorists, but it has attracted followers from across the political spectrum.
Setting aside the more disturbing elements of the Querdenker movement, it’s safe to say this guy thinks he’s pretty clever, sticking it to the man with his racy face covering. You want me to wear a mask? I’ll show you a mask! But who’s laughing at whom here, really?