Hey everyone – and welcome to the 1st anniversary of this little screed. Based on the response I’ve received over the past 12 months, I think I can pretty reasonably say this has been a successful effort so far.
I think I’ve gotten my word out to a lot of people who were looking for new perspectives in the polish-o-sphere, and its been interesting to see all the new male nail blogs that have sprouted up since this one was born on January 18th, 2012. I’m not claiming to have inspired those – only stating that it’s cool to see that there is some semblance of a trend.
As far as I know, there were only two others in existence when I established One Gent’s Ten (‘Men and Nail Polish‘, ‘LacquerMan‘ (by ONE day!)), and I discovered those only after I started paying attention to who was out there.
Anyway, it’s been very cool and a ton of fun feeling out my niche and checking out the many, many positive responses I gotten from the world. I’ve got almost 1,000 comments on all of my posts so far – almost all of them positive. How cool is that?!
Many thanks to Ms Gents for all of her support, and to the several guest posters I’ve been proud to feature here.
I plan to keep posting, and I hope to feature more posts on the idea of men wearing nail polish, rather than just posting swatch/reviews all the time.
We’ll see what happens – this road is paved with the best intentions…let’s hope it doesn’t lead to hell!
Alright, so I’m sure you’re waiting with baited breath for my 5 tricks. These tricks were the ‘logical armor’ that I used to prepare myself for what was, in my mind, the very scary prospect of breaking a gender norm that seemed completely set in stone.
These have helped me get out the door with my nails painted those times when I’ve fallen into self-doubt or started second-guessing my choice to wear the nail polish.
Since these concepts were so helpful to me, I thought it would be a good idea to share them with any of you guys out there who are enviously looking at the girl next door’s nail colors and thinking “I’d love to paint my nails like hers, but that’s just not something I could pull off…”
1. Try Neutrals.
One of the first colors I wore outside my own four walls was a neutral – OPI Fiji Weejee Fawn. I wore this color with confidence out in public, and not just once – but many times.
I liked this neutral because if I looked directly at my nails, it was apparent they were polished (with a very pretty color), but if you weren’t looking directly at them up close, they didn’t jump out and scream “My nails are painted!!” In fact, I wore this color so much, that I’ve never featured it on my blog, because in my subconscious mind, it was always ‘old hat.’ I should remedy that sometime soon, considering the invaluable service this color did for me.
Anyway, this same principle applies to all neutral, flesh-tone colors. It’s much easier to slip by undetected when your nail color closely matches your overall skin tone.
The logic here is that by exposing yourself to increasing levels of perceived risk, you’ll be able to work your way up to full-fledged free wearing as you realize for yourself that there’s actually no risk at all (or at least very, very little). With neutral colors, you can get your feet wet with low risk of unwanted attention.
I will caveat, though, that you need to have your skin and cuticles well taken care of, otherwise the polish will just jump out and clash with the overall appearance of your hands.
2. Go with a traditional “guy color.”
Choose something drab, dark, or matte (or all three). These colors will be obvious, but won’t raise eyebrows because people are much more used to seeing these types of colors on men. Anything dubbed “vampy” will work great as a traditional guy color.
Of course, as you know, I bristle at the idea of colors being separated as “for men” or “not for men,” but for the purpose of this article, think of this from the perspective of the average guy or girl on the street who will be looking at your nails. If you’re worried about upsetting people (which you shouldn’t be), you can start wearing polish by using colors that most people won’t be shocked to see on your nails.
Over New Year’s, I wore Essie “Smokin Hot,” which is a traditional guy color (muted grey-black-purple), but I added a glitter accent nail to keep it interesting.
No one even made an inkling of a comment, except for the guy putting my wristband on at the door to the club, and he complimented me without sarcasm.
3. Bring accepting friends, or go somewhere accepting.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. I usually have Ms Gents with me, and she’s awesome about helping me to feel comfortable with my nails done. The more people who know about your nails and accept it, the better you’ll feel about showing them off. This applies whether they’re actually with you or not. When you’re just starting out, however, having them with you helps tremendously.
Places to go could be anywhere that you know open-minded people congregate. Groups that lean left politically tend to be safer for this type of thing. Think college campuses, gentrified urban areas, and moderate-to-densely populated suburban neighborhoods.
4. Flash your nails in neutral territory.
What the heck does this mean?
Here’s what it means: go on vacation, go on a cruise, or go visit an accepting friend somewhere far from home, and show off your nails out in public there.
This way you can get first-hand experience in the way people react (or don’t react) to your nail polish. My bet is that they won’t react at all, or they’ll compliment you.
At the same time, doing it where you don’t know anyone will reduce the chance that you’ll run into someone you know, or someone from work, who may not be clued-in to your off-duty nail polish interests. This way you can work your way up to sharing this part of your life with those hometown people on your own terms, if you ever choose to.
5. Ask yourself, “Whats the worst that could happen?”
Be realistic here!! When I’m really doubting myself, this is one of the most effective tricks I’ve found to help me overcome those doubts.
I’m kind of embarrassed to say it, but I learned this technique from watching one of those shows about people with compulsions/obsessions. The treatment employed for people with irrational fears (fear of flying, fear of throwing out useless knickknacks, etc) is called “exposure therapy,” and it involves forcing the patient to do the thing they’re afraid of, and experience firsthand the non-result.
The patients are asked to share their ‘catastrophic thoughts’ with the therapist, who usually points out why those thoughts should be dismissed. The reason for dismissing these thoughts is usually that there’s no reasonable situation where these fears will ever come to pass.
Anyway, this technique has worked wonders for me in getting outside with my nails done. Ms Gents and I often jokingly say ‘tell me your catastrophic thoughts’ whenever I get into a funk and can’t convince myself its ok to wear my nail polish.
However, whenever I reason it out, these are the worst things that I can imagine happening:
- Someone gives me a weird look
- Someone says something rude
- I experience panic, as a result of thinking about one of those two situations coming to pass.
So, I’m hoping you see how silly that is.
I hope none of you are worried about physical violence. While I won’t completely rule that out – I would have to say the probability of such an event is less than 1/10 of 1 percent in modern, westernized societies.
With the current climate of acceptance and the widespread pop-culture celebration of “alternative lifestyles,” a guy wearing nail polish should probably be seen as passé by 99.99 percent of the population of western society.
So, there you have it! Steel yourself for the slings and arrows with these techniques, then go out and conquer your fears. I promise you’ll realize your fears are irrational in most situations.
Disclaimer: These tricks don’t really apply to the workplace, which has its own set of rules. But for doing things outside of professional settings – these approaches should work wonders!