Here we are, another Friday, and it’s answer time at the ManFAQ. Once again I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years. Actual questions, posed by real women, and answered by a REAL man.
What could go wrong?
Question: Why do we women have to make ourselves pretty and do our nails, but guys don’t? Why don’t I see nail polish on men?
Answer: Ah ha! I heard this question, and what did I see? I saw an opportunity for…. SCIENCE!
That’s right. Only through empirical evidence would I be able to provide a completely accurate and objective answer to this obviously burning question.
It just so happened that I was in a position to get a manicure anyway – sometimes life just conspires to throw you into your fate – and so I got the first manicure I’ve ever had in my entire life. After a full 90 minutes of creaming, clipping, shaping, cuticling, priming, coating, pumping, painting, drying, and primping, I had fabulous nails. Since I lead a double life working on an Army Post, I chose Army Green, except with sparkles!
What do you mean, those couldn’t be my nails? You don’t believe me? Fine.
Here’s another picture.
Yes, I know – I’m fabulous! The nails highlight the hat, and the hat works with everything, as we all know.
I left the polish on for 10 days, here in January, which included a full week in the office and out to many public places. So, why don’t all the guys you know get their nails painted? And I’ll cheerfully conceded that they don’t – even my mostly flamingly fabulous friends don’t (as a rule, at least) walk around with their nails done. Why not?
Let me review for you all the reactions I got to my amazingly Army Green Sparkling nails. First was disbelief, from most of the family and coworkers. Next came the laughter, mostly of the “I can’t believe you did that” variety. Then there were the inevitable questions: “Have you, um, started a new, um, phase in your life?”
To some I explained what I was doing in a nail salon, to others I merely said, “Science!” and moved on with the conversation. The interesting bits to me were more the non-reactions, which were, for the most part, very carefully studied non-reactions. The first day I walked in with my newly gleaming gelled-up nails, I happened to have a meeting scheduled with about 10 big guys – manly men – with the Army. There I was, front and center in a small room at a small table, drumming my fingers on the table while all these guys – not a woman there – very carefully didn’t ask me about the nails.
I interviewed a guy for a job we’re hiring for, later that week, and over the course of 30 or so minutes, he carefully didn’t ask me a thing about them. Mind you, he couldn’t tear his eyes away from them, but he didn’t say a word.
So, why don’t we wear polish more often? The person who had the hardest time getting used to the nails was me. I touch type, for the most part, and every now and then I’d glance down at my keyboard and freak out to see my mother’s hands doing my typing. I hadn’t realized, up to now, the extent to which I have my mother’s hands, but seeing mine with painted nails was deja vu all over again – I knew those hands! It took a fraction of a second to realize that it wasn’t my mother typing, and another fraction of a second to realize I wasn’t having a really bad acid flashback.
And then there came the big day, 10 days later. After paying a nice young lady, whom I couldn’t understand at all, good money to put it on, I went to another salon and paid another nice young lady, whom I couldn’t understand at all, good money to take it off again. While the first experience was pleasant, even if it did lack the happy ending I was curious about (turns out not to be that kind of salon), the second was, how to put this – less so. My new and incomprehensible friend started by savagely attacking my nails, cuticles, fingers, knuckles, and indeed pretty much any part of my anatomy that she could easily reach from her side of the desk with the largest sandpaper block legally allowed in a salon. She bruised, scraped, smacked, and scalped my nails until the finishing top coat was toast and the exposed underbellies of my fabulous green nails were naked to the elements. Those elements were quickly replaced with 100% pure acetone.
Yes, my battered, bruised, and bludgeoned fingers, some of them scarred and scratched from their bout with the sandpaper of doom, were submerged in the strongest consumer-grade solvent available, usually used for thinning fiberglass and prepping metal for industrial purposes. You can probably imagine without my recounting them the various words I used when the scratched parts of my tender hands hit the heated – did I mention she heated it? – acetone, but in case you lack for imagination, please assume that those words included the time-honored phrase “fuckitty-ow.”
After a mere 3 minutes of this, I was ready to give up the location of the rebel base, but my smiling interlocutor had other plans for my hands. I tried to tell her that I’d confess to anything, just please, let me go, but that’s when she pulled out the pliers – and the paring knife. I was hoping she was just going to kill me at that point, but no. She pulled my hand from the acetone, causing it to freeze, since the hot acetone evaporated faster than lines of cocaine at Charlie Sheen’s house. She then proceeded to hold each finger at an angle that would make Euclid blush and tried to scrap the entire fingernail clean off. She failed in each attempt, which caused her to dump them back in the acetone – when did a solution of 100% acetone look like sweet relief from pain? – and try again with the next hand.
Twenty minutes later, I was holding a few shaking dollars out with the stumps of my nubby little hands, paying for the privilege of simply leaving at that point, and running for the door as though my life depended on it. The ends of my fingers looked like pinkies. (Pinkie has two meanings, you know, and in this case I mean not the little finger on each hand, but rather “baby mice.”)
And so, let me answer, finally, your question. Why don’t you see nail polish on men? Because taking that shit off again hurts, and we’re wussies. Ow ow ow ow fuckitty-ow. We’re glad you do it – honest – but we don’t understand why. No one’s worth that kind of hassle and torture. That’s just crazy!
But they sure looked nice, didn’t they? For 10 days in January, I was fabulous!
Now you know. Please, feel free to comment! Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com! As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!