Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How did I start wearing nail polish and why?

I have always liked pampering. I absolutely love a deep massage, I like having facials done and I like having manicures and pedicures done.  The last two, I have been doing for the past 10 years regularly. Some people like to call a man who likes these things a metrosexual, I personally do not like labels. When I first started doing pedicures, I did not wear nail polish. I have been wearing nail polish for the past 5 years and colored nail polish for the past 4. So here is how it all started for me. One day, when I was having a pedicure done, the nail tech asked me If I wanted clear nail “protector” and I said yes. Ah, the word “protector” suckered me in. Like all males, I was programed by society that “polish is for girls”, so most probably if the nail tech had asked me if I wanted “clear nail polish” most surely I would have answered NO immediately.  My feet looked so good clean and shiny, that from that day forward, I always had clear polish applied to my toes. I liked the way my nails were shiny, like any new shiny thing would look. Then, one day talking to a female friend of mine, I saw her nails with a french style manicure and I asked her what was that color called, which she responded “nude with clear topcoat and a white tip”. I liked the way her nails looked, so clean and defined that I thought to myself, “I think I will give that a try”. So the next time I went to have my manicure and pedicure, I told the nail tech to please give me a french manicure and pedicure minus the white tips. So she applied a “baby pink” color to my nails with a clear top coat. From that point forward, I was officially hooked to nail polish. 

This is Sally Hansen's "Unbreakable Heart"
I had been wearing french style nails minus the white tips for some time when I came across a very cool color that I liked from china glaze called “diamond black”, when I saw it, without thinking about it much I reached for it and bought it. Then I applied it to the nails of one of my toes just to see how it looked. I was amazed at how cool my toenails looked in color and how cool my feet looked with colored nails. Then I removed it, and applied the usual baby pink. Not being a regular color wearing person up to that point, It was hard for me to have my nails done by myself, so I though, If they looked so good after being done by me (all out of line) how would they look if a professional nail tech did them?. So my next trip to the salon was with my bottle of nail polish at hand. When the nail tech asked me If I wanted the regular french I immediately pulled out the dark nail polish and she gave me a weird look. She said, are you sure you want this color applied on your toes? So I said YES IT'S NO JOKE! . She went on and applied it on my toes, when she finished, she looked up at me and said “you know something? Your feet look really cool, that color suits you very well”.  That day, I had french applied to my hands, so I wore color on my toes only. When I got home and my wife looked at my feet, she was very upset. She was ok with me wearing clear or french, but somehow, she was not ok with me wearing darks. She even told me,  “you look like an EMO boy and you are 45 years old” “next thing I will see is you wearing it on your hands too” which I immediately responded “NO, THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN”. Yeah right, as the saying goes, “never say never”. 

A few days later, I had forgotten that my toenails were colored, and I stepped out in sandals to the local supermarket. When I got back, my wife told me, “did you go out in sandals?”, that’s when it hit me that I had my colored toes exposed for everyone to see and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENED. No comments, no weird looks from people and no good  compliments either. It was as if I had them with no polish whatsoever. And that's when it hit me, It was not the fact that a man wears nail polish, it is all about how you wear it, how confident you are wearing it, how bold you are and how secure of a person you are. 

Why do I do it? This is the simplest of answers, JUST BECAUSE I LIKE IT. I like the way my hands and feet look when my nails are colored. If you think about it, we all look at our hands and toes much more than we are conscious of, like 95% of the time we spend doing things, we look at ourselves, our bodies, be it our legs, knees, face, hands, feet, etc. heck, I guess the only body part we don’t look at frequently is our backside. Let me give you examples; Driving? We look constantly at our hands. Taking a shower? We look at our feet and hands. Walking? We look at our feet (if you wear sandals of course). Writing checks? Hands, Sunbathing? Feet. Cooking? Hands. I think you get the picture right? So as a personal preference, I like the way my hands and feet look much more with colored nails than with plain unpolished nails. 

A couple of months later, I went to the salon and had the nail tech apply the same color on both my feet and hands. That gave me a sense of empowerment when I did it. Suddenly, I felt different from all the other men around me. I felt sexy in a way, because I discovered Women were paying more attention to me than the other guys around me. Of course not all women, but certainly more than before. And this was not the “attention for the wrong reasons” kind either, It was that feel good, honest and here’s a little boost to your ego attention. I started to receive positive comments like “good for you, I wish my man had the guts to do that”, or “what a really nice color, I wish my feet were as good looking as yours”. I have also received comments like “I like your sense of individuality” and “You pull it off nicely”. Of course, there is the other side of the spectrum too, bad comments will also come from ignorant people, like “are you gay”? or the most stupid of all comments, “you look like a girl” or “nail polish is only for ladies”. What my personal experience has shown me is that it is a 50-50 thing. 50% of people will NOT like it, 50% of people will NOT comment. 50% of people will give you a compliment and 50% of people will bash you or give you “the look”. 50% will consider it NOT NORMAL, and 50% will tell you WHAT EVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT. But, the most important thing for me at least, is that I do it for me, not to please others, but to please myself.