Monday, March 17, 2014

NOTD - St. Pat's Mani 2014

Here is my mani for St. Patrick's Day. It's another sponge gradient - this time, with OPI "Jade is the New Black" and "Alpine Snow".

I'm still getting inconsistent results with the sponge method - the fades aren't as smooth as my airbrush makes them, and the polish solvents slowly soften the sponge, so if I use one too long, I start to get little lumps of sponge sticking to my nails... but, cleanup of the airbrush is such a hassle that this method is worth more practice.

And, I'm still limited to only weekends in polish, so it's harder to justify the time to make a perfect mani. One way I'm lucky to be a man, is that I have much less competition... my manis are infinitely better than 99% of what other men have... ;)

Also, here is a link to a column with several fun and cute ideas for St. Pat's manis - give these a look!

Anyway, here are my NOTD:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Hello lovely ladies and lacquered lads!

(I promise... there ARE photos, just below the fold. But first, I'm feeling verbose...)

Again, I'm sorry I haven't posted sooner... the thing is, I was prohibited from wearing nail color at work. If that directive had come from a corporate employer, I would have filed a formal complaint for discrimination, basically demanding equal treatment - either they accept my nail color, or prohibit ALL employees from wearing it. But, I don't have a corporate employer, I work for my parents in a small family business that I expect to take over in 4 years. So, if I complain, I ultimately hurt my own future.

Anyway, that's relevant here, because I now paint my nails on Fridays after work, and remove it Sunday nights - and the short time to apply, plus the short time to wear, doesn't permit or justify a lot of effort to make "blogworthy" manis. I'm not really a "polish reviewer" - I don't feel I've been doing this long enough to speak intelligently about formulas, application etc.. - so my focus is more of "check out this cool effect / technique / look". But, with the work rule in place, I find myself slapping on two coats of something you've already seen, and there just isn't much to say here.

Also, a consequence of the work rule is that my thoughts have bent toward political activism. Specifically, I've been looking at the "Employment Non-Discrimination Act" (which has passed the U.S. Senate, and is pending in the House). Of course, I found a few flaws in ENDA. Basically, the bill prohibits discrimination based on declared or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. By far, the biggest flaw, is that unless someone can prove their employer acted upon "perceived" SO/GI, it provides protections ONLY for those who declare a protected status AND can prove that their employer discriminated FOR that status. But, a lot of people don't necessarily want to declare a protected status - "out" themselves - and others (like me) can not do so honestly.

In my situation (which is trivial, but it's the one I know..) as a male (I have a penis), ENDA would protect me from being fired for wearing nail color at work (for a company with 15+ employees which allows women to wear nail color), IF I was wearing it as part of "identifying as a transgender female". But I'm NOT a TG female, I'm not "a woman in a male body"... I identify as a man - male sex, masculine gender - and my nail color is a celebration of individual style freedom, and a demonstration of opposition and defiance of the sexism upon which "gender" is constructed. So, ENDA provides no protection for me - even though I engage in the same conduct that is protected for some, I do not qualify for its protections because I am not a member of a protected class.

So - instead of writing here, I have been writing to legislators, proposing House amendments to ENDA that would remove its de-facto requirement that people "out" themselves to qualify for protections, and generally shift the focus of the bill away from "victim qualification", toward "prohibiting discrimination on the basis of conduct" and "prohibiting the enforcement of sex-segregated workplace rules".

But - that's enough soapbox. Today, I have something to share with you!

First, for shits & giggles, I gave myself acrylic extensions, for a consistent 1/4" (6mm) of free edge on the 4 fingers of my left hand. Then, I painted them firetruck red - OPI "Color So Hot It Berns". Finally, I took a short length of silver-plated chain, and 4 small (6mm) split rings, and (after using my Dremel to drill 4 holes at 2mm thru each nail tip) I gave myself chained nails!

I saw this look online once, and it was very intriguing - so I decided I had to try it. Today is Tuesday, and we're having our first major snowstorm of the season, so everybody's home, there's really no place I can go to show this off or gauge reactions. I ventured out for some fast-food, to a store I don't regularly visit, and the one person who saw this was very enthusiastic! She said "I love it" at least three times, "So cool" a couple times.. she wanted to know how I did it, and how I wear it all day - she seemed really fascinated! So, I'm calling it a win!

As you can see, the holes are really close to the edge - there's barely 1mm of nail between the hole and the edge - but as I type this, it's been 4 hours and none have broken out.

It's an interesting experience to have chained nails. I'm finding that I have to be a little bit careful - the chains wrap around keys, they catch car door handles, and they sometimes change how I can hold things... but the jiggly, dangly feeling on my fingertips is actually a lot of fun. I've caught myself several times, just absent-mindedly wiggling my fingers to feel the chains move.

I was planning to take this right off tonight - but with this storm, I doubt that I'll be working tomorrow.. so I'm going to sleep with it on, and see if I can wear it all day tomorrow. Tomorrow night is supposed to be a big night for bars - if this survives, I'll take it out and see if it inspires any comments...

This is fun! I got the supplies (chain and rings) from the "Jewelry Making" section of a local craft store (shoutout to Pat Catan's here..) I've had the chain for a while, I forget its price but it wasn't much, and the rings were $0.89 for a pack of 50. If you want to try this, I have materials left to make a few. I'll make you one (while supplies last..), just let me know the distance along the chain that you'd want each finger (I went with 1.75-1.5-1.75) and PM me a mailing address.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Things I've seen recently

I wanted to share a few things I've seen recently.

The first is kinda funny and kinda sad - - it says that Saudi men have been tweeting photos of their painted nails, under the hashtag #tweetlikeagirl, to make fun of girls who spend "too much" time tweeting about their own nails. My view... the girls are having fun, but if that bothers you, don't look.

The second and third are a little more important. They are segments of ABC's "What Would You Do?" feature on their 20/20 show. One segment explores public reactions to a boy (with his mom) in a nail salon, getting a manicure with pink nail polish. This one is at The other segment explores public reactions to a transgender teenager shopping for a prom dress. That one is at Barbara Walters has conducted several interviews with a transgender child named Jazz, who has explained her status as "I have a boy body and a girl brain". I admire the effort ABC is making here to expose society's prejudices and promote tolerance for the transgendered - but I think they are missing the real problem.

 The last is more important, as it provides a framework to consider the other items. I found a webpage where the World Health Organization defines the terms "sex" and "gender". It's at They say:
"Sex" refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.
"Gender" refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.
I agree with these definitions. But, consider the implications here. "Gender" is defined NOT by one's anatomy, but purely based on what "..a given society considers appropriate for men and women". So, "gender" is built on sexism. If one identifies as "cisgender" (they conform to the roles etc.. that society considers appropriate for people of their same sex), they are subscribing to and SUPPORTING one set of sex-based societal expectations.... and if one identifies as "transgender", they subscribe to and support the other set of expectations. Either way, it all happens within a sexist paradigm - and current initiatives to increase tolerance and acceptance of transgender people really amount to statements like "It doesn't matter how a person's body is shaped - if one likes these 'girly' things, they're a girl, and that's OK".

But, very little in life is truly specific to just one sex. Condoms only fit onto penises, tampons are intended for use inside vaginas, bras are designed for female breasts (a small percentage of men have "man boobs"... and a smaller percentage of them wear bras to support them.) Public restrooms must be segregated by sex (not gender), so that any person with a vagina may use a public restroom secure in the knowledge that nobody with a penis will enter the room. Otherwise, there is no reason to consider anything "girly" or "manly" - most everything we can do in our lives is suitable for anyone else, regardless of their sex... and it is SEXISM to assign gender to things like clothing, fashion, lifestyle, hobbies and interests, behaviors and attributes.

My problem with ABC's effort, is that they seem to be advocating a departure from a society segregated by sex characteristics (anatomical configuration) - in favor of a society that would be segregated on the basis of gender (sex-based societal prejudices). In ABC's perspective, if someone has a penis, and wants to paint their nails pink and wear a dress to prom and do all the things that ABC considers "girly" - that person is expected to accept the label "transgendered" and declare "I am a woman" - and IF they do that, IF they accept that since the things they like are 'girly' they must identify as girls... THEN society is expected to accept this person as a woman, and (under the new California law) grant them access to the vagina restroom. I think it would be a better message for ABC to challenge society's assumptions about "masculine" and "feminine", to promote "everything which is OK for anyone is OK for everyone", instead of simply changing the criteria by which people will be judged and expected to identify as "women" or "men".

In light of the W.H.O. definition of "gender", and the obvious sexist basis of it... I can not identify as either "cis" or "trans" - instead, if I MUST declare a gender identity, I identify myself as "postgendered" - except for the few things that are specific to one anatomical sex, everything that is OK for anyone, is OK for everyone else.

Friday, June 14, 2013

AWESOME media today!

Hey guys - I think "men wearing nail color" might be reaching a tipping point, and poised to take off in a big way!

Just today, the New York Times posted this column:

Then, I saw this from Yahoo! Shine - also posted today:

And, finally, this tweet from "The VIEW":

If The View discusses this tomorrow, or in the near future, I think a whole lot of women will be suggesting nail color to their men... and we'll be seeing it more often.

My thoughts on this should be obvious (I AM a male nail blogger...) but for the sake of those who haven't read back, basically this:
  •  It's REALLY just paint - reserving it for one gender only, makes as much sense as applying a gender exclusion to hats... or sweatshirts.. or painted cars. 
  •  It looks good, it has the ability to improve the look of one's nails - and generally, men's nails need the most help in the appearance department. 
  •  It has no magic powers - it can't "make" me anything, or change who I am, or define me in any way. It does convey some information about who I have always been - committed to gender equality, intolerant of sexism and prejudice, and defiant of "herd mentality" (where people blindly follow customs that they assume to exist based solely on observation of others blindly following them). 
  •  In a society that is dedicated to equality, what is OK for anyone is OK for everyone. 
  •  Some people see my nail color and make assumptions about me - but I know they are wrong, and I know that their inaccurate assumptions do not define me. 
  •  I wear nail color as a man - I do not consider this "crossdressing" in any way, nor is it "an expression of my femininity" (I do not see any inherent femininity in a bottle of paint) - and as I see it, if my masculinity was so weak that it would be threatened by a few drops of paint (or dependent upon the opinions of strangers), then it would be too weak to carry a "man card". 
  •  Nail color is fun - mine has inspired many interesting conversations and interactions with people, which has enriched my life in many ways.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Snakeskin Nails! & Snakeskin Redux

Snakeskin Nails

OK... I've been wanting to try this for a long time. There are a bunch of youtube tutorials out there about creating a faux snakeskin look on your nails - basically, they all involve sponging accent colors over two different sizes of mesh. I used a piece of tulle (fine mesh, to simulate the scales (OK, they're not really scales like fish have..)) and a piece of woven (macrame?) mesh like is used for laundry bags, to create the color patterns.

I used a base of OPI "Alpine Snow", then sponged Sally Girl "Grape" (really, a light tan) over the tulle mesh, then alternated CG "Hook and Line" and Essence "Chic Reloaded" (an AWESOME green duochrome with maroon flash) with the sponge over the coarse mesh

I'm not totally happy with the outcome, but it was my first attempt. I will definitely try this again with my airbrush instead of the sponges. Anyway, here is the result:



Also, my toes have been rocking CG "Flying Dragon" for about a week. I think it's my favorite purple... And, I just love these shoes. Men's sandals are always so bulky, they conceal the foot way too much.Flip-flops are more revealing, but I hate the sound they make, and the feeling like they could fly off at any time. These shoes are women's thong flats, with an enclosed heel and ankle strap, $20 at Payless, and I think they look great!

Snakeskin Redux

I said I wasn't quite happy with the outcome above, and I would try again with my airbrush. After wearing that for a day, I was almost content with the thumb, but seriously annoyed by the rest. So, I wiped it all off, and tried again. This time, I skipped the fine mesh tulle, I left off "Hook and Line", and I used the airbrush thru the coarse mesh. After the base white, I sprayed the whole nail, all 5, with Sally "Grape" (it's a TAN!!), removing the mesh from each to dry. Then, I mixed up some "Chic Reloaded", realigned the mesh on each finger, and sprayed some highlight areas. I got a kind of ombre effect, but in shapes - a couple of chevrons, a couple of lengthwise stripes. (This mani would have been much easier if I had two airbrushes set up, one for each color, to avoid realigning the mesh patterns on each nail.) Finally, I removed the mesh and VERY LIGHTLY dusted the whole nail with the "Chic Reloaded" - not enough to darken the tan or white parts, but enough to get a little duochrome flash on everything. What you can't see in the photos is the gorgeous, shimmery maroon flash from the "Chic Reloaded", which really makes this look like a snakeskin.

(I had considered "Just Spotted the Lizard" instead of "Chic", but "Lizard" is a bit more foil-ey or flakey - I was worried that larger flakes might not pass well thru my airbrush.)

I am much happier with this version - THIS is why I own an airbrush!!:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Camouflage Nails

I'm way overdue on this post - sorry - but I finally have time to share an awesome camo mani I did!

I did this freehand with the regular polish brushes, plus a fine tip paintbrush I have, and also a pin. A real dotting tool would have been better, but I don't have one yet. The colors used were:
  • OPI "A-Taupe the Space Needle" (tan - base, then a few details)
  • OPI "Get In The Expresso Lane" (dark - details)
  • China Glaze "Westside Warrior" (olive - details)
I think that more than 3 colors starts too look too "busy", especially on such a small canvas, so I stayed with three. The secret here is layering - put a little more of the olive on than you like, then a little too much of the dark, then cut in with some tan, revisit the olive, and touch up the dark.

What you don't want with this design, is little islands of olive or dark, floating on a sea of tan - so try to bridge the gaps and break up longish runs of any color. Beyond that, there is no "wrong" shape for camo - it's supposed to look random... so if you find yourself wondering if it's "too much [this]" or whatever, know that others won't see it that way.

Anyway, this is what I ended up with...

If you look closely at my ring finger, you can see a "river" of tan from side to side and tip to 80% back - a screaming defect to me, but if you didn't notice until I mentioned it, that proves my point about not sweating it too much.

I didn't get a lot of compliments on this one, because I think people just couldn't see them (camo... get it? ;)
No, seriously, this was very well received, and I was very pleased with the result!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I never wear black. But today, nothing else will do.

I promised that this blog would be my "adventures with nail color". To me, that means the good and the bad. Today, I am absolutely despondent about the outcome of yesterday's election. I'm not too upset that I lost my race for the Ohio 14th Congressional District - I had a campaign budget of $85, which covered the filing fee - but the outcome of the Presidential race, and the whole lying, stinking, foul, corrupt process that led up to it, has me literally beside myself with grief. It turns out that "HOPE" is a finite resource, and I feel like my hope has been taxed to extinction, to be redistributed to those who support Mr. Obama. I see no way for America to avoid fiscal emergency and a prolonged, painful period of economic catastrophe and unnecessary decline. And, I believe that as the problems worsen, as the promises CAN'T be kept and people's hardships increase, they will increasingly look for MORE impossible, illogical promises from Uncle Sam for their salvation.

I am in despair. And, the only color that fits my mood, is black.

I wanted to wear my ManGlaze "Matte is Murder", but I had given it away last Summer when I was feeling particularly hopeful. So, the best I could do on short notice was NOPI "Razzle Dazzler". I wasn't happy with the application, it was a bit thick and hard to apply evenly - but I've had this one untried for about a year, so it's probably just age. Anyway, here it is:

Also, on Monday, I ripped off half of the tip of my index (pointer) fingernail, right own to the quick - bleeding and everything. Sorry for the uneven length.

Anyway, if you're happy with the election result, congratulations. If you're unhappy about it, know that you're not alone, and that nothing lasts forever - this too shall pass.