As you probably figured out from the title and description, one of the unusual things about me is that I am a man who wears nail color. Actually, I love to wear nail color - mostly on my toes, occasionally on my fingers too. Since this is an inaugural post, I might as well tell the story about how I started doing this.
Basically, in July of 2011, I lost a bet.
Some friends and I were together, and we were making bets on movie trivia. But, instead of money, we were wagering dares. I thought I had an unbeatable question about Apocalypse Now - and I had a bottle of pink nail polish I had confiscated from my son after he - at my niece's suggestion - had painted my nephew's toes pink while the nephew slept. So, I bet my friend that he could not answer my question, with the loser required to paint his toes pink for a whole week. My friend was as confident as I was, and together we negotiated the stakes - finally agreeing that the loser would:
- Paint his toenails - all 10 - hot pink for 7 days.
- Wear the nails exposed in public whenever away from home except for work.
- Take photos of the pink toenails in a public location.
- Post the photos on Facebook and any online dating profiles.
- Appear with toes exposed when summoned.
- If caught in non-compliance, pay $100.
This was my first photo:
Another thing I did not anticipate was that this was not embarrassing at all. First, I was extremely lucky, in that a Susan G. Komen breast cancer awareness event was coming to town at the end of my "pink week", the local media was reporting the preparations heavily, women everywhere were wearing pink, and many people thanked me for my "show of support" for the cause. Second, and more importantly, the color - even pink - looked much better than my natural feet. I work in heavy construction, I spend 10h/day, 5d/week in poorly ventilated steel-toe boots. They trap moisture and breed nastiness - and for as long as I can remember, I've been embarrassed to let anyone see my feet. The paint hid the fugliness, and (I later discovered) protects my toenails from moisture and decay just like it does on my car. Then, the increased air & sunlight from wearing sandals, made my feet healthier than they've been in a very long time.
The other thing I did not anticipate was that my dating site responses INCREASED after I posted the photos. Like 6 times! Honestly, it took 3 months on PoF for 22 women to click that they'd like to "meet me", and that number doubled in 5 days! Women were writing to me! Suddenly, I wasn't just another run of the mill guy, I was actually getting noticed. And, the women who were appreciative of my toes were the bold, confident, independent, open-minded women I admire. Of course, I'm sure some women saw my photo and thought "no way in hell" - and I'm happier to NOT hear from timid, prejudicial conformists anyway.
By the end of that first week, I had figured out that my masculinity is mine to define - it's not defined by ignorant strangers - and any definition of masculinity that depends on a specification of my toenail color is irrelevant and absurd. My masculinity is mine, my toes are mine, nail polish is really just paint - there is no REAL reason for society to discourage men from painting their nails, and I've found several good reasons FOR men to use nail color. So, I paint my nails. If society must judge me or my masculinity.... judge me by the content of my character, not by the color on my toes.