I am terrible with faces. I forget people five minutes after I meet them; BUT:
A few days ago, I walked into a comic shop. While in there, I saw a guy I hadn’t seen in about twenty years, and he was wearing a mask. He’d gained weight, his hair was grayer than the last time I’d seen him, and I still recognized him immediately. No hesitation.
I once saw a guy in a full Batman costume outside the same shop; again, instant recognition.
I remembered a time at 13 when my middle school had a Hallowe’en party; I threw together some costume based on nothing in particular, but I had not a patch of skin showing anywhere. Nonetheless, everybody recognized me immediately. No hesitation. The same thing happened later, when I went to a costume party as a Black Rider.
And yet, I’ve been riding my bike and waved at people and gone up and spoken to them, and they haven’t recognized me. People I work with every day. My sister. Me.
So, if masks don’t disguise us, what does? Do we recognize each other by height, body language, hair color? Context? (On the bike I was bent over, holding the bars, and wearing a helmet, and in an unusual place.) With the guy in the comic shop, it was the eyes; also, he used to work there. How do we recognize each other, and how can we disguise it? Have you all run into the same phenomenon?
Edit: So, I’ve just recently met somebody for the first time when she was wearing a mask, then I saw her later without one, and didn’t recognize her. So maybe they do work, but only one way!