The guy (not the one in the photo) is a barista, and he paints his nails. So one day a mom comes in, sees his bright green nails and says, “Wow, you’re so brave!” It gives her the courage to allow her son to paint his nails. Next week she comes back in with her son, to show the barista the boy’s sparkling blue nails.
My friend Cathy Richards found the story on The Other 98%’s Facebook page. They found it on the FckH8 Facebook page, which posted it on August 27th. The brief story made me wonder if there was much online about boys and men painting their nails.
The ABC show, What Would You Do?, had actors play the parts of a mother and her son, a critical customer and an unhappy dad. The “son” wanted pink polish. He and his mother sat side by side for their manicures. The “customer” and the “dad” disapproved. Real customers were filmed reacting to the scenario. The responses were mixed, but enough of them were positive to reassure me that things are changing for the better. Watch to the end because the last woman, mother of three boys, speaks with such loving acceptance you will want to hug her.
I’m obviously slow to catch on because I also found:
- Those who weighed in two years ago on the experience project’s question about whether or not guys should wear nail polish were overwhelmingly in favour of it.
- Scott Gent devotes his blog, One Gent’s Ten, to encouraging men to wear nail polish. Men with Painted Nails takes a similar approach, as does Men and nail polish.
- The New York Times published a piece in June 2013 with the headline, Manly Manicures End in Color.
- Reddit has a whole stream on Malepolish.
- Even Fox News watchers did not get overly bent out of shape in 2011 when J. Crew sent out advertising that included a picture of president and creative director Jenna Lyons holding her son’s pink-painted toes. Predictably, that did not stop the network’s contributing psychiatrist, Dr. Keith Ablow, from weighing in with dark predictions about the boy’s future need for psychotherapy.
A quick Google search is not enough to declare an end to bullying over gender-stretching issues. Still, if the Internet had been around while I was growing up, I can declare with 100% certainty that a similar search would have yielded near-universal condemnation.
A little dab of colour is a small thing, but it can have big significance. So I find reason for hope in the support for boys and men who want to wear nail polish.