Guest Post from Scott at ‘One Gents Ten’
I’m very excited to start off the week with one of my favorite male nail and make-up bloggers. Scott, from ‘One Gents Ten’ provides very detailed and honest reviews in addition to having a powerful impact on the blogging community. I love his openness with each post and the fact that he takes the time to respond to all comments. Warning, this post is photo heavy! So get ready for ‘Guys Takeover Week’ to begin!
Gentlemen, want to wear nail polish? What’s stopping you? Just do it!
If you’d like to wear nail polish, but need an invitation to start, consider this yours.
The chains of men’s fashion are heavy and extremely restrictive. This is unacceptable – some of us need to start picking the locks.
Ladies – encourage the men in your life to explore new fashion options, and if they ever express interest in styles or clothing or some other part of their personal appearance that you might normally think too feminine, give them the latitude and support they need to branch out!
This post is aimed at any guy who would love to get into wearing nail polish, or freestyle fashion of any kind, but who for whatever reason cannot get past the fear of being seen wearing nail polish, a skirt, makeup, or anything else deemed outside the realm of allowable male clothing.
A lot of my work has been written with those types of guys in mind, since I was one of them until a few months ago. In some realms, I still struggle with getting out there and being myself, but nail polish is one realm I’m pretty comfortable in now.
I loved the massive variety of colors that were available, the incredibly cool look of well-manicured nails (i.e. properly moisturized, tame cuticles, correct free edge shape and length, etc) with a fresh coat of some really vibrant color. But, alas, I was unable to bring myself to wear the color out of the house.
I had visions of roving gangs beating me to a pulp for my nail color. Okay, I’ll admit that was a bit of an over-the-top fear, but it was one that I truly had for a long time. When I thought about it more realistically, I was concerned about getting snide remarks and being treated unkindly by anyone I might meet with my nails done.
The fact that I was having these concerns made me wonder, and I’ve spent a lot of time considering the issue. Was America, which I’ve always believed to be a great place, and a country that maximized personal freedom in many ways, really a place where a law-abiding man could not wear nail polish if he so desired? For a long time I was operating under the assumption that I was “not allowed” to wear nail polish as a straight, otherwise conservative-looking man.
Eventually I had to ask myself — who, exactly, was preventing me from doing this? The answer was clarion: “No one but me!”
No one at all was preventing me from exercising my right to free expression, except myself. I’ll admit its a little clichéd, but not only was I acting as my own worst enemy, I was also acting as my only worst enemy in this situation.
As mainstream men, we don’t like to admit it, but when it comes to societal norms, we follow the rules to a T, especially when it comes to the norms of personal appearance. We might be the most outspoken people in the room when it comes to politics, or sports, or whatever else we enjoy, but we won’t wear a pink shirt unless 5 guys we know or view positively have done it already.
In another post, I explained why I believe it’s silly to avoid nail polish simply because its seen as a traditionally feminine pursuit. So what if it’s been a ladies-only endeavor in the past? So too were cooking, doing laundry, shopping for groceries, communicating in relationships, and on and on. In my opinion, the fewer barriers we have between genders, the better off marriages, relationships, and society in general will be.
My point in all of this is that nothing will change in society without living, breathing individuals doing the dirty, awkward, uncomfortable work of challenging assumptions and breaking through the (often arbitrary) barriers of convention.
This has been true throughout history. People, in general, are willing to put up with quite a large mountain of bullshit before they will risk “rocking the boat” to make things better. American colonists put up with decades of abuse from the British monarch before finally flipping their wigs (…literally (?)) and dumping tea into Boston harbor, tarring and feathering royal tax collectors, and generally wreaking havoc until they finally gained the right to freely govern themselves.
The stakes associated with the “men and nail polish” issue are far, far lower than what I just described, but the dynamics are exactly the same. If men interested in wearing nail polish decide to deny their own interests and never speak of them, then men’s use of nail polish will remain taboo, or at best a transient fad.
A cursory Adwords search of the term “men and nail polish” shows there are about 7,000 searches about this idea in an average month, so guys like us are not alone.
But, if you and I and the thousands of men just like us who desire to wear nail polish simply did it without shame and wore it well, the convention would likely be accepted quickly by society, and would probably be adopted by hundreds of thousands more men who’d never seriously considered it.
Let’s be honest — how many men were getting pedicures 15 years ago? Now it’s considered completely acceptable by most of the population of the world’s developed countries.
But–get color with your man-pedicure and the prevailing logic is ‘WHOA THERE, you can’t do that!’ How utterly contradictory and ridiculous, right?
It’s that way only because on the whole, straight guys have been monolithic in their position on wearing colored nail polish, and that position has been “No, absolutely not, that’s gay” or something similar.
There’s truly no logical reason for this wholesale rejection, except that men are still reticent to adopt any behavior typically associated with females. Women are valuable, special creatures and it shouldn’t be a point of shame to have something in common with them.
Gentlemen, if you want to start wearing nail polish, just start doing it. Be smart about where and when you choose to test the waters. For example, I’m not wearing anything except sheers and clears around family or at work at this point, because I have priorities that supersede this particular pursuit of self-actualization.
Try wearing it when you go out next time, and be amazed at how few people care or even notice. In fact, it’s likely that the ones who do notice will praise you. Forget any naysayers you encounter.
Men, if you are interested in wearing nail polish but refrain from doing so, what are your reasons? Who’s stopping you from taking some Ferrari-yellow nail polish for a test-drive (like Seal did earlier this year)? What’s stopping you from trying out that skirt, or pair of heels, or that cool-looking mascara?
Break the chains of conventional men’s fashion. Free yourself, and make things better for the generations yet to come.
Please do discuss below.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Check me out at www.OneGentsTen.com and please follow me on Twitter and Facebook for timely notification of new posts and giveaways!
Thank you so much Scott for you inspiring words and fanastic mani’s (and eye make-up!). Wednesday I’ll feature Wes from Polish Me Manly! Until next time…