So I bought a crochet pattern on brioche crochet because #1 - it looks dope af and, #2 - oddly familiar..... I felt as if I'd done this already in a piece of mine, but I wanted the pattern for the specifics and to kind of compare.
And then I realized exactly what I'd done this with: my fucking bleeding moss stitch bags. One day I decided I wanted to see how how alternating colors every other row would look in bleeding moss only to be very surprised when I ended up with vertical stripes as opposed to horizontal ones. I then quickly expanded my horizons to experiment with it in round with some v cool results.
First of all, this demonstrates very succintly the increasing pattern used in round (if ya'll were ever wondering about how I was doing that, I always meant to do a tutorial on it, but its not as easy to understand with words) but its literally the jumping off point for having a good understanding of the brioche techniques used in the pattern I bought and I discovered all of this on accident. Literally years before I would formally be able to put a name to it (I didn't know this was called Brioche or Mosaic crochet until a day ago).
And this is wild to me because I realized part of the potential when working with double colored extened moss while decreasing (not shown, but decreasing brings two branches to a point), I just never made the tiny leap to realizing how easy it would be to etch wild patterns into something because I figured it'd be too complex to want to work out the intricacies.
Anyway, the tl;dr of why im making this post is that I'm absolutely fascinated by what is the equivalent of convergent evolution amongst craftsmen (which isn't uncommon at all, esp in crochet where its basics are simple but there's a lot of freedom to it if you're willing to get creative, but since we're all using the same basic technique, we're bound to 'discover' the same things). I'm not gonna say I haven't been through this before with other stuff, but its definately been a while and this is the most complex thing I've developed all on my own only to find it word for word somewhere else.
Which is not to say I've been doing this technique the exact same as in this pattern. Far from it, though the basic idea is the same. This was partly why I bought it, to fill in that gap where years earlier I'd tapped out and paid it no mind. There's obviously more to learn here, more to explore and more creativity to be had. Even if I had completely understood how to balance the stitches and properly direct the design before this, for something I had to figure out the intricacies of on my own, I'm going to absolutely love reading up on how someone else decided to go about certain things.
I love the evolution of the creative exchange of ideas too. I know its sort of very niche depending on where you are on the internet, but I'm slowly amassing a huge pool of resources to better my craft with and I'm already a slut for community discussion of things.
So what's behind a Shy Guy's mask?
Currently, there is no canon answer. However, there are pieces of canon that can give us some ideas as to what a Shy Guy is, which makes it easier to take a guess as to what the deal is with a Shy Guy and their mask. (Continued below the cut.)
Shy Guys are capable of gaining fat (see Gourmet Guy), and while the Great Enemy Homogenization (to borrow the naming from Weird Mario Enemies over on Tumblr) has left us with the standard Shy Guy, their body type, size and height has been shown to vary in the past, as seen by the enemy Stretch.
2. Shy Guys' robes are not part of their body.
This might seem like a weird fact to point out as it seems obvious it would be true, but you can never tell when talking about fictional creatures. We get this fact from a couple of lines in Paper Mario: Color Splash from some disgruntled Shy Guys after Paper Mario takes their washing machine. These lines mainly have to do with the Shy Guys being upset that the clothes they put in the machine are now gone (including apparently some jeans?).
3. Shy Guys potentially don't have a (fleshy) face.
In Paper Mario: Color Splash, during battle with a Shy Guy, they have the chance to say the line, "You messed up, fleshface!" ...which seems to indicate that a Shy Guy's face isn't fleshy. Another Shy Guy also literally tells Paper Mario that he would be a terrible Shy Guy because he has a face. However, these are single lines from single characters from a game that uses a lot of silly/funny/shocking humor in its dialogue. Also, these lines can be interpreted in different ways, with the "has a face" comment potentially just meaning that Paper Mario actually shows his face unlike Shy Guys.
4. Shy Guys (including variants) seem to have solid glowing eyes.
You would think you could see their eyes behind the mask if they glowed, but hey, video-game logic. There are some variants of Bandits (who are themselves variants of Shy Guys) where you can see their eyes behind their mask: Green Gloves, Sluggers and Zeus Guys. Their eyes are glowing white. Further proof lies with Ghost Guys, a type of Shy Guy ghost in Luigi's Mansion whose masks Luigi can take off with his vaccuum. When Luigi does this, two yellow, glowing eyes are revealed.
5. A Shy Guy's mask is capable of emoting.
This fact is potentially outdated since it doesn't really occur so much anymore, but it is worth pointing out. The most notable example of this is in Mario Strikers Charged (Football). Shy Guys are pretty expressive in this game, frowning, smiling and failing at looking intimidating. Also potentially worth pointing out, in Super Mario RPG, Shy Guys can "blink" and whenever they or a variant get dizzy, a blush can be seen on their mask.
6. A Shy Guy's mask can be taken off.
Again, an obvious statement, but worth noting. The most notable example is the cutscene when Shy Guy wins in Mario Power Tennis (the one where Luigi sees a Shy Guy without their mask).
7.(?) A Shy Guy has a special connection to their mask.
The question mark next to the number is meant to show that this is getting more into speculation than anything actually shown or said. Going back to the Ghost Guys mentioned before, there is a type of Ghost Guy whose mask is white and red split down the middle. This mask looks incredibly similar to another enemy called Phanto, which is a white-and-red mask that was first introduced in Super Mario Bros. 2, which is also the game Shy Guys make their first appearance in. What it seems to me is that a Phanto is yet another Shy Guy spirit among the other types (Ghoul Guys, Boo Guys, Ghost Guys, Phantom Guys...) that assumes the form of just the mask. If a Shy Guy spirit can just be the mask itself, that implies that there is a special connection between a Shy Guy and their mask.
So where does that leave us? At this point, it's all just theories and headcanons. Personally, based off of what I've been typing, it seems to me that a Shy Guy's face is quite literally their mask––not in the sense that they're born with it, but that they choose it and bond with it. Therefore, they don't have a (fleshy) face, they still possess the glowing eyes behind the mask, and yet they're still able to emote (at least in older games) and have the mask change and adapt with them (as seen with Gourmet Guy's mask). The mask still serves to hide what lies behind, however, and it's still something a Shy Guy doesn't want people to see––something they're "shy" about. Perhaps in the future we'll be given more information to work with and eventually figure out just what a Shy Guy exactly is.