Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm about as liberal as they come, but then I drew a line.

One of my little indulgences is getting manicures and pedicures.  I don't like my nails to be particularly long, but I like them nicely groomed and painted and pretty.  And it's lovely to sit and relax for an hour while someone else massages your hands and feet. 

But in these days of skyrocketing food bills (which are already high because my husband eats what would be normal for 3 adults his size) and monthly daycare checks that are more than my mortgage, I was looking for places to cut back.  And since I love getting a full-body massage even more than I like getting my nails done, I decided to substitute bi-weekly professional manicures with bi-weekly massages (on the cheap, courtesy of Groupon and the like) and just do my nails myself.

This coincided with my discovery of nail polish strips.  They're strips of real polish that you stick on your nails like a decal, and they come in different designs that are fun and super-cute.  Plus they stay on for a couple of weeks, so you get a manicure-type look and it lasts for a while.

Now, it turns out that Zeke likes having his nails painted.  Occasionally when he's seen me get the polish out, he'll ask if I can paint his as well.  I often use colors like navy blue or slate gray that aren't that ultra-feminine, so I'll put some on his nails or toes and he giggles and enjoys it.  J isn't crazy about it, but I don't think it's a big deal.

Sally Hansen's Salon Effects Nail
Polish Strips, "Girl Flower" -- would
you let a 4-year-old boy put
this on his nails?  Am I being an asshole
and overreacting?
But then the other night I was putting on some new nail strips that are a bright flowery pattern in pinks and oranges and yellows and purples.  I was sitting in my bed while Zeke sat next to me watching The Upside Down Show.  When he saw the nail strips, he was all curious and wanted me to put some on his nails as well.

I thought about it for a second, but then shook my head and told him "no" and made up some bullshit about how they were just for grownups.

I don't want to make a big deal about things that aren't a big deal.  And I don't want to stigmatize behavior that obviously has no sexual or gender-driven motivation.  He likes the nail polish because it's colorful and different and because I'm doing it.  It's fine.

Why do I care?  I don't care.  Who cares?  What difference does it make?

I want to be the cool J. Crew mommy who lets her son paint his toenails neon pink.

But it turns out I'm not.    


  1. I think your line would be my line as well. Or I might be fine with pink but not flowers. Not because I am opposed to the idea, but because people are cruel.

    I like the butterflies! So fun!

  2. Maybe that's it. I don't really care in a vacuum, but I don't need the looks from people on the street or the risk of him getting teased about something he doesn't even understand.

  3. Yeah, I agree, it would be my line too, and mostly because of "societal pressures", not because I would care myself.

    Love, love, love, The Upside Down Show! Didn't think it was on anymore! Do y'all have it on DVD?

  4. I'd have done the same thing. It's not them so much as it's how other people would react to them.

  5. I paint Walt's toenails but not his fingernails. Mainly because he puts his fingers in his mouth a lot, but also because of every thing you wrote. Luckily, he picks the browns and dark reds, not the pinks, so I don't have to make that decision.