Today I have something different to share.
So... I haven't painted my nails in several days. A couple of my nails started peeling pretty badly before I bought my crystal file, and I've been trying to nurse them back to health, which included trimming down all of my nails as short as possible (so I wouldn't feel the need to paint them), and fixing my rough ends with the crystal file. The damage is mostly on my right hand, so I could still swatch something on my left hand if I wanted to! I've just been avoiding it because I know that will make me want to do a full mani. :P I still have some time before my nails will be okay to paint. :( It sucks waiting.
So instead, I thought I'd hammer something out about my thoughts/experiences regarding nail polish. Today I'm going to keep it pretty personal. No big ideas about other men wearing nail polish; this will mostly be about myself.
But first, a general idea about nail polish:
Society views nail polish as a form of gender expression. I don't think most people would actually use the term "gender expression" when describing nail polish, but we know that it is almost always associated with femininity and femaleness. There are some exceptions in certain music scenes and subcultures. But let's be honest. Most rock n' roll dudes are sticking with black. So did I, when I first started painting my nails.
For most of my teenage years, I never once painted my nails or so much as touched a bottle of nail polish. I would sometimes tag along with my mom and/or younger sister into the cosmetics aisle in the supermarket, and silently admire the colorful images and swirling pots of pigment surrounding me, but when my sister wanted to look at nail polish, I would stand next to her, picking out bottles and making fun of the names.
Nail polish was so pointless and difficult! Of course, I would say things like that out loud, but deep down I thought painting my nails would be... cool.
I was intensely attracted to the idea. I can't remember exactly when it was, but I sloppily painted my nails a few times during my last few years of high school. I borrowed the bottle from my sister--a near-black Sally Hansen creme. I think it was an old one from our mom's collection, but at the moment I have no idea what it was.
Like I said, it was sloppy, and I only did it a few times. At that point in time it just didn't stick with me.
Eventually when I made some new friends in college, nail polish made its way back onto my fingertips. I surrounded myself with amazing queer people who shared new ideas with me about sexuality and gender, and I found myself wanting to be a little more relaxed about my own gender expression. I let myself be more feminine, and I loved it.
Most importantly, I bought my own bottle of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear.
In Black Out, of course. :P
I probably wouldn't have taken my nail polish obsession any further without my boyfriend.
I'll admit it, before we met I was afraid of being "too" feminine; I was worried that other men would be turned off by my femininity, and I was only a little afraid of being single forever.
But five months ago when we were first getting to know each other and I showed him my meager makeup collection, he was intrigued by my one bottle of nail polish.
"Oh, you like to paint your nails?"
"Well, yeah... I mean, only sometimes. I kinda wish I had more colors though."
"Well then we should get you some."
I was afraid he wouldn't like it. Once again, I was worried about being too feminine. (as if such a thing were possible!)
But he encouraged me to paint my nails, and I found myself enjoying it more and more. Soon I was painting his nails too, and I was slowly getting better at using nail polish. I started looking up techniques. I started researching brands and searching for shades and swatches.
I still remember the first time I searched for "essie swatches." After that, I started reading nail polish blogs.
The rest... is history I suppose. Nail polish is important to me. I will probably be sharing more thoughts on that at a later date! For now, I have some cleaning up to do. And then maybe I'll reward myself with nail polish. ;P