Grandfather Tree

Now having come to understand that we are all spiritual beings who have chosen to temporarily live a physical existence on this planet, certain musings are inevitable, and shared here.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Finger Nail Polish

One of my daughters is 12 and has recently discovered finger nail polish and fake finger nails. She has been gluing on this fingernails and then putting coats of polish on them of various colors. Unfortunately the glue comes loose sometimes and she tries (unsuccessfully) to get out of doing the dishes and various other tasks so as not to ruin her nails.

I really love fingernails that are painted. My daughter was doing my mother's nails who lives in a nursing home, and I let her do mine. It was a light shade of pink. I didn't realize that there is a bit of maintenance involved in caring for ones nails, as the polish started to scrape off unevenly. My partner told me that one has to apply extra touches to it perhaps on a daily basis in order to keep them looking nice, and re-apply the whole thing once a week.

I must confess that I think it would be worth the effort. I would like each nail to be a different color scheme. I think I would like extra flairs also, little dots of a different color, or little designs. I think I finally understand why there is a nail shop in every strip mall.

There is unfortunately a problem. As a male, this is not very well accepted in our culture. Perhaps if one were Goth, black would be accepted, but Goth is hardly well accepted either.

When I had my fingernails pink for a week, there were times I was self conscious. No one said a word, and I do not know if anyone actually noticed.

Am I a coward since I have not stepped forward into expressing myself in the way I really want to in regard to my nails? Why should I care what the dominant culture thinks, or what people in my life think? For one thing, I don't want my appearance to be an issue that might lose me money in my business. But this concern tires me. I have long hair and finally feel that it probably has added as much to my business as it might have subtracted. But painted finger nails? I do not know.

Why is it that women can wear anything they want but men have all these restrictions. No fingernail polish. No dresses or skirts. Long hair is "perhaps" fine as long as it is pulled back in a pony tail. What is it with our species? Males of other animals generally are the decorated ones. Compare the richly colored male cardinal with the very subtly colored female. To decorate oneself a male can buy a more expensive suit that actually looks very much like an inexpensive suit. One can wear a colorful tie perhaps, but who really thinks that a tie is comfortable? Or creative? Pretty old and tired design, in my mind. Why not a little flowing silk. Why does such a desire translate into cross dressing? A woman can wear a shirt and tie and we do not label her as a cross dresser.

So I am tired of these restrictions, but I also do not want to focus on this as a major political issue. I just want to decorate my finger nails. Am I making too big a deal out of this? Perhaps I ought to pull myself together and paint my nails the way I want and shut up about it. Anyone out there in blog land have any thoughts about this? [3160]


  • At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Go for it! Society is much more accepting now of various forms of dress and self-expression. Most people either don't notice (too wrapped up in thier own stuff), or don't care. Dressing somewhat fem, I've gotten almost no comments. Overheard one guy on a bench say to another "sometimes you just can't tell"; presumably he wasn't sure of my gender. But nothing nasty.

  • At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dear Friend,
    You ROCK, MAN! I', a 40-something aging punk rocker, and I have worn nail polish on my fingers and toes since I was about 10. All the neighborhood girls, especially in my high school, would use me as a guinea pig to try out the latest shades of polish. My first wife was kind of squeamish about me wearing polish, but she had a ton of other hang-ups in other areas as well. My daughter still gives me crap about being an old hippy. My favorite colors are chrome on the toes, black on the fingers. My latest love of my life, she is quite fond of us going out on the town with me wearing a matching hot pink on my toes, and no one says anything, either. Like what you said, I don't know why society has so many double standards about what a man or a woman can wear. All I know is, I'm having fun wearing nail polish, I'm a 100% straight male confident in my maleness, and I love wearing nail polish, and I'll be dammed if some busybody will dictate to me what I can or can not do!!!! My god, it's only nail polish! Thank you for your excellent blog, and for allowing me to share this opinion.

  • At 11:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Don't even hesitate! I have been wearing nail polish for years. I refuse to stick to black as well. I wear all different shades.

    If you get real adventurous try a skirt!

  • At 11:46 AM, Anonymous lingerieman99 said…

    i've been going out recently wearing pink polish and white tips (french manicure style)...most people don't even notice.....i was out at a bar talking up some older chick and after talking to her and using hand gestures like mad....she never even noticed till i asked her if she liked my french manicure i had gotten earlier that saturday.....she said she did notice my "shiny" nails but she didn't notice the light pink color and white tips.....she was kind of turned off by them....she quickly said she needed to use the ladies room, so at that time i figured it wasn't going anywhere, so i left the bar......i also like to wear fruity sexy female perfumes.....i can't tell you how many times if been out at a bar talking up a chick, getting real close and she says "you smell nice".....i've never told anyone that it's lady's perfume....but maybe this saturday night, if it happens.......i also like to wear lingerie under my clothes......the best is when i wear my custom made silk bikini panties under my see through white sweat pants......when i'm out dancing with a girl i love to spin around and dance with my rear facing her, hoping she notices the panties.....hasn't happened yet.....but i'm hopeful.....keep rockin' on my friend....

  • At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am a normal guy, I take care of myself, play men’s hockey, and am an every-day man. I started wearing chunky high heels about a year ago. People at work would look, but nobody ever said a word and I was a well-respected senior level manager. I have read blog after blog of men who have been willing to bend/break some gender stereotypes and in almost every case, nobody but family said a word, or cared. I have been shaving my legs for years as well and nobody says a word. I can tell when they notice, but they never say anything. This was the case with me and my heels as well. I do not wear them in an "obvious" fashion; I wear long Express men’s jeans which cover almost the entire shoe, but you can still see the bottom of the 3.5 inch heel. Since I started wearing them, only one person has said anything and she said they looked cool. Sure, people look but I don't know if they are saying "wow that guy is gay" or "I wish I had the balls to do that because current men’s shoe fashions are obscenely ugly." Sometimes, I think we create our own paranoia. In my experience nobody really cares.
    Anyway, I have worn clear nail polish and nobody notices. I would, however, like to be able to wear other colors in public but I am too worried about what impact this will have on my two young boys. I don't want to confuse my 5-year old and possibly get him teased at school. On the other hand-if we want to change society we will need to be brave. If I want my sons to have the freedom to wear what they want in 20 years, maybe I need to endure a little harassment today? (mainly from my wife!)

  • At 2:07 PM, Blogger Jake K said…

    Hey, it's not 1997 anymore dude! Men are wearing more colors and styles that used to be considered only for women these days. And nail polish is on the 'hit list'. Just look at all the male celebrities sporting their painted toes and fingernails. Heck, right here in the conservative midwest, I know personally of four other men who wear polish on their toenails, and I'm not talking clear either!
    I think we live in an age where people can feel pretty secure in being themselves and not having to be too concerned about what others think. We have so much diversity in this country with the mix of cultures and beleifs, and the beauty of this is that we all live together and basically get along!

    So, when you think of something as relatively insignificant as whether a guy should or should not wear colored paint on his nails, it seems a little odd that it would even be the subject of a debate.
    If it feels good and doesn't hurt anyone, then do it! Besides, do you have any idea how good a professional pedicure makes you feel? It is totally the best! My wife an dI enjoy one together on a regualr basis. And yes, I do wear nail polish on my toes - because it feels great!

  • At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nail polish rocks, I've been reading all those blogs, forums, etc. on whether guys should or shouldn't wear polish, get manicures or even french tips and I've come to the conculsion that I really don't care about anyones opinion. There's plenty of people who "ewww" at the thought but as far as I'm conserned, that's their problem, not mine. My wife is ok with it and to me that's all that matters. I had french acrylics done just last week and love how they look and feel. I have no quarms with my maleness, sure I may not look like the most masculine guy in town what with all the waxing, grooming and long hair to boot but other than the odd double take or pondering look from strangers I've had no problems at all. I feel refined in my appearance which makes me feel good. It's true, todays society is generally more accepting so why not take advantage of it. If women didn't push to wear pants back in the day, then they wouldn't be free to wear the things they do present day. Paint up!

  • At 8:37 AM, Blogger Wally Nut said…

    I am a little amazed. Here it is August and I am still getting comments on this blog entry of April. I guess I have struck a nerve. Blessings out there to all you guys who are painting those nails!

  • At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dont be surprised ! Its happening. More men are sporting a non-traditional look. I've been wearing polish for more then 3 yrs now. I'm sporting purple all this wk. I do tend to wear purple, blues, black, gray, chrome. Plus I wear a toe ring, solid chrome band 5mm wide. I'm a professional male, I dress nice, keep myself well kept so why cant I accent. I do live in the mid-west also and to me that makes it a little harder as people around here are a little conservative then say the west coast or east coast, I've lived there also. Congrads to all that's posted here and their standing up and saying I want to be different.
    I really dont have to say this but, :-), for the record, I'm as straight as they come. My wife think its cool and my 21 yo son thinks it cool also. Just for sh&ts
    and giggles the wife and I are going tomorrow and getting a pedicure with matching electric blue for a family reunion. That will be fun :-)
    Have fun everyone !

  • At 1:15 PM, Blogger Jason said…

    Wow, is this still an issue with some? I have been wearing my toenails polished for many years now and I don't even think about it as being something 'different' anymore.
    My wife encouraged me to try it as an outcome of going in for professional pediciures together. She always disliked the generally poor condition that my feet were in (callouses, rough and yellowed nails) and she thought there was 'room for improvement'. She had seen a few men in magazines sporting nail polish on their toenails, so she suggested I try it to see how it worked for me. We both really liked the look and so it stuck.
    I can honestly say now that even though I was not sure about it in the beginning, it has become one more way my wife and I share a common interest. And these days, when couples don't spend enough quality time or attention together, I think it's just another good reason why men should give it a try. I find it very enjoyable and have receive many compliments from others.

    Hey, it's just nail polish. Some times you just have to try something different to know what you really like.

  • At 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Many who read this will probably not agree with what I am saying because it comes from a different worldview. Please indulge me for whatever pain it may cause you. Sorry. When women really look nice for a guy and keep their hands and nails beautiful, that’s a plus for me! It shows she cares about herself and her man and how she looks for him. For years I have been one to care for my nails and hands as a Christian musician who is as straight as you can get, clean cut and very proud and secure in my maleness. I enjoy wearing polish on my fingernails and giving my wife spa manicures and pedicures. For the last 3 years I have kept my nails polished or buffed fairly consistently; but I have been a bit self-conscious about it around others. I have kept them shorter for convenience and sports, but really like to keep them just a little longer over the edge of my finger...not too long, otherwise they really look like a woman (know what I mean !?)- particularly with polish. I have occasionally buffed my toenails and they look great (to me of course); but have been self-conscious wearing sandals with the glossy look on my toes around folks at the beach.If you’re going to buff them glossy, why not just paint them clear. For several months now I have used a clear satin on my fingers and recently started wearing it on my toes as well; and that seems to work for me. But I really like the glossy French look for my nails with an off white cream tip. Several years ago I started buffing my nails and using a white nail tip pencil for a clean natural look without polish and even occasionally tested various colors (at home), which my wife was using at the time. She wasn't wild about it at all and did not like anything on my nails (for her it wasn't "manly.") Yet I have observed a few musicians and professionals through the years who obviously had “clear shiny nails” and they were very manly and highly respected. A lot of people think you are strange indeed or feminine even with buffed nails or clear polish. I could never wear colored polish in public on my fingers or toes and be able to do what I do in my work – it just would not be accepted or appropriate. I have to admit that at times I have really wanted to be able wear colored polish; but it made me feel like I was weird or something. Recently the idea of colored polish on toenails for men has been a remarkable surprise for me. I happened to find out about it quite by accident looking for something else on the internet. I called a local spa, which offered several packages for men and women, and was really shocked to find that about 50% of the men who get pedicures have their toenails done with colored polish. The rest leave them bare, have them buffed or use a clear polish. All of this sounds okay (I suppose), but I have several cautions as well. I really have a question about the "rightness" of it from a Christian male perspective. I imagine some of you probably don’t really care about my perspective and would tell me “just build a bridge and get over it - just do it.” I respect your opinion of course - and hope you will respect mine. But I don't think I am there yet, neither is my wife. Still...if she could feel good about it and paint my toes for me, I just might try it and find that it’s okay after all and really like it - especially blue and maybe charcoal gray. Nevertheless, all that being said, even though it might be okay to have polished toenails, it may not be appropriate or expedient for me to do it. I know God wants us as men to be a “man” in every sense of the word and celebrate our masculinity without looking or acting like a woman. I don’t ever want to give a mixed message or “an uncertain sound” about my gender or maleness to anyone – especially to my family. I also know that God wants us to use good practices for male grooming and hygiene in every area of life including nails. Sometimes I wonder if men wearing polish is an issue with Him ? Has anybody else out there been thinking like this?

  • At 7:31 PM, Blogger Wally Nut said…

    Thanks for all your reflections. I am surprised that of all my postings, this one continues to generate interest. For Anonymous (posted today) I find your question about what would God think as a bit odd. It seems to me that dress and decoration are cultural issues rather than moral ones. In other words, what is considered male and what is considered female seems to be tied up with cultural habits. The Scots wear kilts which are, at least from the outside, the same as skirts. In that culture a kilt is manly. Hair styles are another good example as various cultures and various time periods have very different ideas about how hair ought to be styled for men or women. The idea that God would have an opinion as to whether painting nails is a feminine thing or a masculine thing is a foreign idea to me. But it is entirely possible that our ideas about God are quite different. I would be interested in what other characteristics such a God (who would have an issue with men painting their nails) might have.

  • At 4:12 PM, Blogger Michelle said…

    Anonymous Christian, your comments are some of the most sincere that I have read on these blogs in a while. I can sense the struggle you are having with this issue, and maybe I can help.

    My husband and I also are devout Christians and belong to a large non-denomiational church, so I understand where you may be coming from. We have had many discussions in our coupels groups about current younger styles and trends (we are in our 40s), and whether they are against God's Word.

    Our experience is that if your desire has some underlying sexual desires to satisfy yourself, then it probably is not healthy. On the other hand, if it makes you feel good about yourself, it does not harm anyone, and you might also do it to please your g/f or wife, then it is probably okay.

    Too many people just assume that if they do something that is not accepted by the mainstream public, it must be against God's will in some way.

    Well, let me tell you that we also share this interest! Yes, my husband has been going in for pedicures and wearing his toenails polished ever since I suggested he try it about five years ago. He liked the way it made my toenails look and so I invited him to join me with it. It is a harmless way that one can express their more creative side, and enjoy one more of the many gifts God has given us.

    I can only say that it has been very enjoyable for my husband and I to share this together, and he receives many compliments, even from many at the church!

    Just enjoy it Anonymous!

  • At 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    it is about time for males to show off and be noticed. I just started painting my fingernails as well. I don't see why women should be the only ones that can wear whatever they want to and get always with it. Is time for the male revolution and lets stand up and be noticed. I enjoy even shaving my arm pits and chest hair after all we are not from the ape family. Paint those finger and toe nails and lets start sticking up for our rights.

  • At 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Heck yes! And why shouldn't men wear nail polish? After all, it's just paint. I have seen a bunch of blogs talking about this lately - it must be a trend starting or something.
    My experience is that women like men who are open-minded and not afraid to try something that makes them more interesting (meaning not 'boring'). I have many women come up to me when they see my toes are polished and compliment me for being expressive and creative. I love it! Besides, I keep my toes polished because they look so much better than when they are plain and bare (ughhh).
    So, what are you guys waiting for? Afraid of a little nail polish? You've got so much more to gain than lose by trying this!!!

  • At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A friend of mine works at a salon where they do hair and nails for many professional sport players. A good deal of the baseball players at least have a clear coat done on their fingernails because it protects them from cracking when hitting a 90mph pitch. I use a clear nail polish on occasion when I feel like it. I know it wouldn't be "socially acceptable" where I live but it still makes me feel good. In fact, after reading this, it's time to do it again! Think I may do my toes this time too...

  • At 4:25 PM, Blogger Jason said…

  • At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am also a straight guy and I wear skilk skirts, garter belts and stockings, man makeup, and what you could call man "panties." I also wear string bikini and thong swimwear during the summer. I live in Wisconsin and a very conservatve city of 26,000. I recently got my nails colored. The only people that have an issue with me is my Mother and my younger brother - nobody else thinks I'm gay or a cross-dresser.

  • At 4:02 AM, Blogger blackfoot68 said…

    REALLY PEOPLE?!?!? What's wrong with it men wearing polish? Are you that insecure in your sexuality that you must impose your views on someone else who is obviously secure enough to do something that they enjoy, and harms absolutely no one?

    I get pedicures and I get my toes polished (with color) regularly. I'm not a cross-dresser as some would suggest and I'm not gay as others would mistakenly assume about any guy who gets his toes polished. I have friends/associates in both of those realms and like anything else people can have an opinion on, some of them like it and some of them don't. Let's set the stage -- I'm a black (african american) man, I've been divorced once, I'm currently married and have 3 children, I'm a U.S. Military Veteran (Desert Shield timeframe), I've driven 18-wheelers all over the U.S. and Canada, I'm a Black Belt (and had my own karate school for a time), and I'm currently a Corrections Officer in a state prison. Could I get more "manly"?

    I got started polishing my toes by accident. I went to set up a surprise lunchtime pedicure for my wife, just because. While I was at the spa, the owner talked me into trying a pedi. It was awesome!!!! The nail tech asked me if I wanted clear or color. My suave answer was, "ummmm..." and she quickly said, "You'd look good with color." Spur of the moment I thought, WTF do it. Next thing you know I've got burgundy toes.

    Now, not only did it look good to me, but several people commented on it that day. The wife and kids liked it, and the pedicures took care of some "debris" from a bad case of athlete's foot I had some time ago. My feet once again look and feel like they did when I was a 20-something stationed in Europe. The pedicures themselves help since my job requires me to do a lot of standing and walking.

    Men wear pants, women wear pants; men work outside the home, women work outside the home; men get tattoos, women get tattoos; women wear ear rings, men wear ear rings; women grow long hair, men grow long hair; women paint their toes, men paint their toes... what's the connecting factor? Before someone of the opposite sex did it, all of these things were considered "masculine" or "feminine" by society at large. Other than giving birth is there REALLY such a distinction between male human and female human?

    Why do women do it? It feels good, it looks good and they like it. Is it wrong for a man to feel good, look good and like it? BB Couture is spending money on developing a men's line of polish, hmmmm... that's a serious commitment by a major company. Maybe this is something the "haters" might just have to get use to.

    It's just paint people, it comes right off.

  • At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, I would have sided with the ranks that thinks it is just ridiculous for men to wear nail polish, but not now!
    I accompanied my wife to a nail salon where she was getting her nails done because we had other errands to do together afterwards. The gal suggested I enjoy a epdicure too, since I was waiting anyway. It was actually, surprisingly enjoyable!
    My wife chose a deep blue for her pedicure, a color that was "different" for her and I told her I really liked it. She smiled and asked me if I would like to try it. Before I could react and answer, the nail tech began painting my toes with it!
    We walked out of the salon with matching deep blue toes and you know what - it was much cooler than I expected. We even received a few compliments!
    Since then, I wear my toes polished because after that first great experience with it, I like it!


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