Saturday, April 14, 2012

An Interesting question about 'Mens' Nail polish

Saw an interesting post recently on Facebook in the 'National Assn of Polished and Lacquered Men' with a question that resembled a question I've seen before.  The question was basically, 'Why do we need nail polish for men, I mean, what's the difference between other nail polish and that labeled as Men's Polish'?  And that's a great question that many people might be wondering.

Well I and a few others answered it and here is my answer as I gave it on Facebook-

It's kind of like buying socks, if you happen to see a pair of socks in a cool color or pattern you like as you're walking through say Target, but they're in the women's section and you're a guy, 99.9% of guys would never buy that pair.  But if they found the same ones in the mens dept, voila, it must be ok so many more would buy them.  Same holds true for nail polish for guys who haven't tried it and gotten comfortable enough to wear polish in public.  If they can see that some polish is labeled as mens, it then becomes OK to wear polish and you can always say, 'Hey, it's a polish made for men, so there's nothing wrong with it'.

Folks, there are MANY more men out there interested in wearing nail polish themselves, but they are too afraid to admit it, even to themselves because we are so brainwashed by society to believe that if the label says it's for women, or society says something is for women, then it's wrong for men to use that item.  Now, there is some logic in labeling items as men's or women's.  For example, obviously men and women have different anatomies and therefore certain items of clothing are made to more specifically fit a person of a certain sex.  Items like bras or underwear are made differently for men than women and vice versa.

Now some guys find those items of clothing so fascinating or they are drawn to the style and choose to wear them anyway, and I'm perfectly fine with that.  Women wear men's boxers all the time, so it's no big deal.  But my point is that many items are labeled by sex simply because of the dept they are sold in at stores, or because the sizing is different for men vs women.  Or it's because of simple profitability because they know that men for example are much less likely to buy underwear with flowers on them, or socks in fun colors or patterns.  And the stores are out to make money so they only market flowery underwear to women and simple colors or whites to men.  It's simple economics in this case. 

But where we get our values mixed up, or we're basically brainwashed or confused is when we see that an item is sold in the women's dept or that mostly women use an item (or so we think) and we draw the conclusion that items like that are ONLY for women and that's it's wrong for men to use that item.  That's really not logical thinking.  I mean think about it.  If a sock manufacturer found out that men would buy socks with cool colors like red, lime green or with kittens on them or something like that, they'd have a line of socks like that labeled as MEN'S in a heartbeat.  So labels are not rules about which sex can wear or use something and which can not.

Nail polish is much the same way.  Society associates nail polish as being feminine because it's mostly women that wear it.  There hasn't been many lines of men's nail polish simply because nail polish companies felt there was not enough demand, period.  Not because it's wrong for men to wear nail polish.  But over the past 10 yrs or so there have been MANY more men trying nail polish on their fingers, or toes, or both and discovering that it's just fun, and looks good.  But the problem was, they always felt like they were probably the only guys in town who were into it so they never let on to anyone.  Yeah, rockers could do it and it was ok, but for an average guy to try it, god forbid.  They figured people would stare, ridicule, possibly physically harass them or they might get fired at work, etc.  Or they were afraid it would somehow diminish their manhood and make them a sissy.  Geez people, it's only color.  What makes a man a man is more about the persons actions, and what's in their heart and soul, not whether or not they have color on their toes or fingers. 

Then a strange thing happened..... The internet.  Suddenly there was this new way of finding out that there were a lot of other guys who like nail polish as well.  Damn, there was actually quite a few guys out there.  And then it began to grow.  Slowly at first, but as more and more of us bought computers and learned how to surf the net we began typing in search terms like 'men with nail polish', or 'Guys who paint their toes'.  And wow, we started finding groups and forums and such with other guys who also painted their toes, or fingers.  For example, I have a group on Flickr with almost 300 members titled the same as this blog at: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1113911@N20/ . Through the internet we found out about a few brave guys who actually went out in public with painted toes and flip flops, and it was no big deal.  Plus we saw tough macho guys like UFC Fighter Chuck Lidell get into the ring with his toes painted pink, or blue or whatever .  Not just black, he went for pink too.  So some guys thought, if a tough guy like that can do it, so can I.

Going out in public with my painted toes
Soon more and more guys started doing the same thing, myself included, thanks to guys like Toepaintguy on Flickr, or St Louis Punk-Rocker.  I saw that these guys were painting there toes and going out in public and they loved it, and a LOT of women loved it.  They were not getting stared at all the time, they weren't getting harassed everywhere and it wasn't the big deal I thought it would be.  So I tried it and it was the same for me.  At first it was a little uncomfortable, but soon, I felt more awkward without polish on my toes than with.  And yes, I got a lot of positive comments from women about my painted toes.

Well now there is a lot more guys who are into nail polish and some companies have taken notice of this and developed a line of polish just for men.  The reason is simple, like explained above, if you label it for guys it suddenly becomes OK for them to try it.  I mean hey, they would label it for guys if it wasn't ok, right.  And I think it's great that they have.  They understand that they have a possibility of expanding their market if they can reach the men.  And the best way to do that is to have a line just for men.  Now men who were uneasy about trying it can buy the 'Mens' line and feel more comfortable about it.  I have to admit that a number of years back a company called Hard Candy came out with a line of polish called 'Candy Man', and I thought COOL, now it's getting to where it's OK for men to wear nail polish, and I bought some.  Mind you I already had other NON mens colors, but this was cool because there was polishes that said they were for men. 

BB Coutures 'Military Blues' polish for men
Since then I've come to realize that yes, polish is all the same whether labeled as for men or not.  And so I buy whatever line of color suits me, although I love to support companies who promote polish for men like BB Couture.  By labeling some colors as mens colors it will encourage more men to try nail polish for the first time, at least in public.  This way they can always say 'Hey, it's a men's nail polish I'm wearing'.


So to companies like BB Couture, thank you and we hope you keep promoting your mens line.  And to other companies, you could be missing out on a sizable market share by not letting men know it's ok to wear polish.


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