Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Man and His Polished Toenails

I stumbled across photos of men wearing nail polish. My first thoughts: ''we have a fairy here'' and ''is this somehow connected with foot fetish?''. But then I got in contact with Jake and he told me what it's really about. =)

Jake is 40+ years old and he's from mid-west of the USA. You can find him and his photos on Flickr under the name ''toepaintguy''.

BB Couture Iced Olive (source)

Here's my interview with Jake.


How/When did you first got interested in nail polish?
My interest in nail polish began when I was a teenager. I particularly would take notice when a girl would have beautifully kept nails, and especially when they were polished to perfection. I wished that someday guys could do this too.
My interest in wearing it myself was awoken when I stumbled across a number of discussions online a few years ago. I was impressed that more than one nail blogger were asking their readers what they thought of men wearing nail polish, and whether men should consider this.
Even on Suzi's blog (OPI website) there were a number of entries where Suzi suggested men give it a try. I was curious, so I began experimenting on my toes.
The single most influential event that led me to wearing nail polish openly on my toenails was when I complimented my sister on particularly attractive deep maroon color she was wearing and she responded by asking me if I would like to try it. From then on, I was definitely hooked!

How did the other people respond to that?
My wife was surprised at first, but not disgusted as I had expected. It took her a couple of days, but she warmed up to it quickly and began liking it the more I wore it. Her acceptance and encouragement was a key part of me being able to enjoy this interest with her (ladies, take note here) and I even think our relationship has become closer because of this shared interest.

As I became more comfortable wearing my toenails polished, I began to wear it publically with sandals. I remember the anxiety I felt at first, but I was almost disappointed when it seemed no one even noticed! However, an occasional compliment would be offered.
Probably the most enjoyable aspect of wearing my toes polished is that is does help to initiate some very cool conversations with others about being open-minded about life. I have met some awesome people, because they noticed this interesting guy with polished toes. It's actually a pretty fun ice-breaker!

Well, we've seen nail polish on men before. Especially in rock & metal subculture ... but they usually wear nail polish on their fingernails. Why do you paint your toenails but not fingernails?
Toes are less maintenance! Honestly, I am active enough that nail polish on my fingernails would last maybe half an hour. I have experimented with it on my fingernails, but I find that I just don't care for the way it looks on my hands. But, on my toes, the result will last for up to three weeks and I can also use discretion when and where I expose my feet to others.

There are companies who are releasing nail polish for men (ManGlaze, BB Couture). What do you think about that?
Many have said that men don't need special nail polish, that they can wear any color that is already out there. I agree, but I also see some real significance in what these companies are trying to communicate with marketing their products toward men now.
A) They are very smart in saying that it is 'okay' for men to wear nail polish when they openly target these products to male costumers.
B) Most nail polish are designed to look good on women. There are not many colors that you would consider very masculine looking. The companies that are developing nail polish colors for men have done an awesome job, and I am really jazzed by the new 'male' colors they have come up with because they really do look great on men!
C) I think these companies have even managed to increase their sales to women too because some gals like that 'guy-edge' to add to their look.

Do you get your nails done in a salon or do you do them at home?
I certainly enjoy an occasional professional pedicure at a salon, but I have acquired enough skill now that I actually enjoy painting my own nails. I find it to be very therapeutic and a good way for me to unwind - and it does not kill my budget either! Since I share this interest with my wife, I will paint her toenails for her sometimes and she does mine. That started when she was pregnant with our first son and she simply couldn't reach her toes anymore.

What's your pedicure routine?
I will give credit for how I learned to do this to my wife and many of the awesome people on the nail blogs.
A) I start by making sure my nails are clean and smooth. I use cuticle remover to get rid of the dried cuticles. I gently push them back after soaking my feet in warm water. If there is excess skin that needs to be trimmed, I use cuticle trimmer to remove it at this time.
B) I use a 4 in 1 buffer to smooth out any ridges on the nails and to give them a nice, even base for the polish.
C) I use remover to make sure all the residue is removed from the nail.
D) I apply a ridge-filling base coat and let it dry completely (at least 15 minutes).
E) I usually apply two coats or polish. Sometimes I layer more than one color to get a cool base color with a different hue effect. This is the part that makes this ''hobby'' a lot of fun. I have not gotten into Konad or other forms of layering, but possibly I will in the future.
F) I clean up any polish that spilled onto the cuticles using a felt-tipped polish eraser and for finer removal, a wooden orange stick dipped in remover (thank you for this tip J!).
G) I wait between coats about 10 minutes and then apply a clear top (matte, semi or gloss). I use Seche Vite top coat for a glossy finish because it always goes on amazingly flawlessly and it hardens the polish to the touch within minutes. Seche is the most amazing nail product I have ever used!
H) I let the polish dry for several hours before wearing any shoes or socks.
I) I use cuticle oil regularly (after the polish is adequately cured) to help keep my cuticles neat looking and moisturized.

Do you have any favorite products, recommendations & tips?
As above, Seche is the topcoat of choice. It's just a wonderfully easy to use product! It flows so perfectly and can cover up even an 'okay' polish application with a glassy smooth finish.
The orange stick tip is simply amazing. It allows very precise polish removal, resulting in a perfect polish boundary along the cuticle.

What are your favorite colors and finishes of nail polish?
I have many favorites! As far as color go, I tend to like darker and what I consider more masculine looking colors. My favorites are silver and gray, black and the black variations, dark green, dark blue, brown and even dark maroon.
I don't care much for glitters, but I do like shimmer nail polishes because they change in different light and look really great in the sun! Cremes always result in a perfect finish, so I also like to wear them. I like the semi-matte finishes, but I don't care for the flat mattes.

I think the nail polishes being designed for men are totally awesome and the two companies you mention (BB Couture and ManGlaze) are very forward-thinking and open-minded folks. I hope they succeed in helping to bring this trend for men into the mainstream.

Would you mind telling us: how often do you change your nail polish?
I change my nail polish more often than I probably need to because it's fun and I enjoy trying new shades. But I can get away with wearing a color for up to three weeks on my toes before it starts to look worn.
This is one of my pet peeves - people wearing nail polish long after it looks fresh anymore. Chipped and worn nail polish just looks bad - on anyone.

Is there anything else you'd like to say to my readers?
I think men should make an effort to take better care of their feet because it says a lot about how they feel about themselves. Maybe wearing nail polish isn't for everyone, but having one's nails cleaned up and trimmed, maybe even smoothed a bit would go a long way in making their feet more presentable and healthy.

If a guy (or a gal) is going to wear nail polish, it has to be done right. Just sloshing polish on one's unkempt nails has a similar effect as lipstick on a pig - not cool and certainly not complimentary.

I'd like to encourage folks to think outside the box. And the bottom line: Just Do It, Man!!

OPI DS Glamour (source)


Thank you so much, Jake, for answering my questions! =)


  1. Wow, really great interview. I really enjoyed reading it. Before that I never considered men wearing polish on their toe nails- guess I need to pay more attention to that in summer :P

  2. "We have a fairy here" LOL. I think its totally fine for a guy to wear polish. I think he would probably have to be able to handle a lot of weird looks though. I hafta admit, I probably would have raised an eyebrow at first too.

  3. What a great interview! It's refreshing to see a, uh, non-fairy guy wearing polish and actually enjoying it. Honestly, my hubby always stares when I do my nails and I suspect he's itching to make me paint his as wel (or he has some sort of hand fetish I'm not aware about!)l. I'm going to make him read this and maybe I can paint his toes!

  4. Wow that's so interesting! I think if I'd polish my dear's nails, he'd faint (he is such a sissy!).
    But then again, WOW!
    The interview is really interestin, I wish more men could think out of the box when it comes to nail polish!

  5. This is one of the best interviews I've read (online) in a long time! Awesome! Very enlightening and such a refreshing topic at that!

    I've been lurking here for the past few days and only started to comment, but I must say - I love your nails.

  6. =D What an awesome interview!
    And you know, he is right, why shouldn't he wear nail polish if he feels like it!
    Darn strait, thinking out of the box! FTW!

  7. Ryan has let me polish his toes every now and then since college. Alot of time if I'm on the fence about a color I'll make him lend me a hand or foot and swatch it on him... Maybe I should have him do guest spots...

  8. Deez Nailz ~ where the CANADIAN Bloggers at ?January 7, 2010 at 8:13 PM

    I found this gentleman's flickr account in springtime of this year and was impressed with his dedication to toe nail polish. He does a great job and has nice toes-

    Keep paint'in "toepaintguy"

    What a lovely interview!

  9. I've seen him around in nail groups on flickr. I admit I was weirded out by this but now that Ive read this I think about it totally differently. His feet look great. Thanks for posting this.

  10. What a great interview! I wish my boyfriend understood my passion. Sometimes he helps me pick out a color to wear, but I think at best he half-asses it. He won't look and just pick the one nearest him, other times he looks at what I'll be wearing the next day and puts the polishes up the clothes :) One time when we first started dating he painted my nails, because he always made fun of me for having polish on my skin so I'm like "you do it, it's not as easy as it looks". But he would never ever wear it just to see what it's like or anything, I've tried.

  11. Wow! Those are the nicest feet I have ever seen on a guy! I love it!!! Thanks so much both to Nihrida & Jake for this great post & interview. I would love to see a picture of Jake's face! I have quite a few guy friends who complain about how boring men's fashion choices are. No makeup, no nail polish, no high heels, no dresses or skirts. I love that Jake just said screw it, I like it & I'm doing it anyway! My boyfriend, Will is about "normal" as they come and he almost always had some polish on his toes. Now it is very different than Jake (not about good grooming); I think he just finds it fun & amusing. You can see pictures here & here
    Thanks again for all of the hard work that goes into your always entertaining blog!

  12. I've seen his pics before and I'm so jealous of his perfectly polished toes!
    I don't bend that well so mine never look that perfect.

  13. I am totally blown away by all of your awesome comments! I've seen a few discussions on nail blogs before about men wearing nail polish, but your comments are even more positive and enthusiastic about it!

    I appreciate your open-mindedness because I really think that if we want to enjoy life, we have to learn to relax and understand each other for who we are, not who we want each other to be. I think that's one reason why my wife and I are bucking the trend - we've been happily married since she was 18 - and we're still having fun!

    I want to sincerely thank Nihrida for initiating this interview and for posting it. It's pretty cool that we can all share this common interest openly and enjoy what each has to uniquely contribute. That just makes it all the more enjoyable for everyone!


  14. Kim ~ Overall BeautyJanuary 8, 2010 at 1:46 AM

    Jake is amazing all the way around! He did some great articles on the whole idea of men wearing nail polish! He is down to earth a nut in emails.. I even have a article here written by him when BB Couture first came out with their Men's Line of nail polish..
    You an amazing job with your interview with him, makes me jealous.. I didn't think to do it

  15. Jake is one of the coolest guys any guy, or girl could hope to meet.
    He is sincere, thinks outside the box, and does what he wants.
    ( He MUST be a New Yorker) lol
    Seriously, I met him a few months ago on Flicker, and we laughed that we BOTH have been doing our toes! BB Couture "Night Opts" is an amazing color for the Goth, or Punker! It is VERY much a guys color. I can NOT see a women wearing this color. It is a VERY dark, and very mysterious looking color. Just the color a guy really wants *

  16. Awesome interview :)

  17. Jake is a cool guy - and doing much better than I am at maintaining his toes during this Minnesota winter! Plus I can barely stand to peel off a glove long enough to snap a pic & he took pics in his sandals in the snow =)

  18. I'm all for the courage it takes to do this man, but I just can't dig it. I know, I know, I'm so closed minded, yada yada. I personally would be disgusted if I saw my man wearing it, but as I said it takes major courage to do this as a man, and I give you major props for that! Do what makes you happy, that's all.

  19. Thank you so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed it! =) We'll all be lurking now...

  20. =) Well, we all have our ''first impressions''. There's nothing wrong with it, if you're open-minded enough to consider it and even change your mind. =)

  21. Thank you, Lisa Kate! Tell us if you'll succeed to paint your hubby's nails. =)

  22. Glad you find this interesting. =) Not all men are ''nail polish wearing'' type of guys. And that's OK. Neither are all women.

  23. Oh, thank you so much Belle! Jake really did a great job answering these questions. =)
    And thank you for your compliment!

  24. Thanks, Thess! I agree with you - if he feels like it, why not! =)

  25. I bet Ryan is a lot of fun. If you'll ever have a bunch of polishes to swatch, you can always borrow his nails. =) I'd love to see his nails on your blog. =)

  26. I totally agree with you. I was blown away with the precision of his application. It's almost unbelievable. I wish my BF could paint nails like this (mine of course). =)

  27. You're welcome, L. I'm glad he decided to share his passion with us. =) Thanks for commenting!

  28. Thanks, Danica! My BF always picks ''the ugly'' colors for me, so I just don't ask him anymore. =) Well, if he doesn't want to wear it, that's fine too. At least he won't be borrowing your polish. ;)

  29. I agree with you. I never would've thought this were guys feet. =) You're welcome and big thanks goes to Jake, of course, for answering my nosy questions. =)
    Your BF is a very brave man. =) And I laughed my a*s of when I saw how he holds the stamp. Is he a smoker? =))))

  30. You're welcome, Jake! And THANK YOU for participating in this. =)

  31. Oh, great! Thanks for the link! =) I'm glad I used the idea before you. ;) Thank you so much for your comment, Kim! =)

  32. You said it all! Jake rocks!

  33. Oh yeah, I thought the same when I saw his photo in snow. I got goose bumps. =)

  34. We all have different tastes. I wouldn't dig it on my BF, but he's totally ignorant about cosmetics and stuff... Still, I don't mind if others wear nail polish. It's fun!

  35. St. Louis Punk RockerJanuary 8, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    I too came across 'Jake' on Flickr, he's a great person, very much 'for real!'. I have worn nail polish ever since I was about ten or so, when I was inspired by Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, who wears it on his fingers and toes which have been shown in photos in the music magazines for like forever. I am about as 'red-blooded' as they come, 100% straight, type-A driven, and I can remember when some people used to turn their heads back 15 or 20 years ago, but ever since the late 90's when all the musicians started wearing it and the word is now out, hardly anyone even gives it a second look. Which I don't care because I do dig the attention. I live my own life and do my own thing, couldn't care less what anyone thinks. I dig it, my fiance digs it. That's all that matters. Her and I occasionally share the same colors and designs, especially on ceratain holidays or for going out to sporting events. Nail polish on dudes is really no big deal anymore, and for the ones out there that dig it, go for it, don't let a few narrow-minded skeptics deter you. You'll never please everyone, even if you wore a three piece suit or a mohawk, there are some that just love being critical. Anyway, great article! (ps - if anyone's interested in checking out my nail polish photos, which are buried amongst tons of other 'ordinary' photos, just go to Flickr, type in 'nail polish,' and look for photos from the 'St. Louis Punk Rocker' to find my photoset...)

  36. St. Louis Punk rockerJanuary 8, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Sorry about that getting posted multiple times - my browser was acting up loading the comments, and I guess I hit the submit key three times which caused it to be posted three times!
    - I couldn't delete the extra posts myself, and sorry for making you extra work having to delete the extra postings.

  37. I saw your photos on Flickr. =) Keep wearing it if that's your ''thing''. If you and your fiance like it, why not.

  38. Don't worry about that! =)

  39. I think it's horrible a man wearing color nail polish.
    It's cool nails and cuticles treated, with healthy look but painted color it's a No no no.

  40. ROFL =)))) OMG, I *love* your honesty. Thanks for making me smile and thanks for your opinion.

  41. I remember when I used to polish my nails DH would sit and watch me very carefully. I did not do it much when he was around because I did not know about Seche Vite at that time. I just thought maybe he found it arousing in some way. Maybe he wanted to wear it! But i guess I'll never know! But I used to always wonder what he was thinking.

    Great interview! If guys want to wear nail polish, then why not! They seem to have been given the nice eyelashes anyway so they may as well go ahead and wear mascara. I always wanted to put mascara on DH's best friend because he had the thickest, curliest eyelashes I ever saw on a man or a woman.


  42. His toes are awesome! I really enjoyed reading this interview, nice topic and discussion!

  43. Nice interview that you gave! To be honest, I'm also thinking about wearing nail polish on my fingernails & toenails. If only people would be more accepting of it.

  44. I really enjoyed reading this interview! I will have to take a look at his flckr account but I must say his pedicure looks 10X better than mine! Great Job!

  45. Thanks for the interview!

    The motives of the interview kind of surprised me but I enjoyed reading Jake. I know his pics for a long while and I really enjoy them. He's a true nail polish pro and his toes looks perfect. Reason of my surprise is that I'm used to men wearing make up so it's strange to read an interview as if it was a tad weird (no offense of course): a guy wearing nail polish is in the spectrum of my normality for years (even if so few or none blog about it). :) I used to offer frankenpolish to a friend of mine in artschool who was painting his nails (hand and feet) silver. Men look so cool with polish. Some others friends of mine were wearing black eyeliner, some other were wearing bondage pants with skirts. To me, it's not even conceivable to imagine make up exclusively for women. I love it when men borrow to women and when women borrow to men. It's sexy to walk on edges. I wish more men could be open and adventurous about it.

    "I think these companies have even managed to increase their sales to women too because some gals like that 'guy-edge' to add to their look."
    He's right. It's exactly the reason why I adore Man Glaze "Matte Is Murder". Because it totally spouse my masculine side. That's the sexiest polish ever. =)

  46. Good interview! I've seen his feet before on BB Couture. He has very nice toes!I like the polish on me. Didn't take me long at all to get used to it.

  47. I wanted to use mascara on my BF. He wouldn't let me. =) Thanks for posting this, Marsha!

  48. They are indeed! Thanks, Jackie!

  49. Thanks, Garland! I'm a little black sheep myself, so I'll say - go for it. =)

  50. =) His pedicure look a hundred times better than mine. Thanks for commenting, Dandy!

  51. Hey, Nathalie! I guess you're surrounded with very open-minded people and that's very often with people who are artistic. At least in my experiences. It's not ''normal'' for some people that men wear nail polish or make up. That's why I wanted to let the people know his side of the story. To loosen up and except different looking people. Like I try to. =)

  52. Jake the ToepaintguyJanuary 11, 2010 at 1:59 AM

    To those of you who commented that you thought I take better care of my feet than you do, I thank you very much for the compliment!
    But, I will add that I can't wear my fingernails long and beautiful as you do, so we all have our 'thing' that we're good at. I think that if you have something that you are really in to, and you enjoy it enough, you will do a good job at it. That's what I call 'satisfaction', and it is in short supply these days.
    Kudos to all you other nail affecionados because you 'get it' too!

  53. 16, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    Great interview Nihrida! Rock on Jake! Great toes. Lead the way! pedicurefetish

  54. Everyone has their favorite way of using the internet. Many of us search to find what we want, click in to a specific website, read what’s available and click out. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because it’s efficient. We learn to tune out things we don’t need and go straight for what’s essential.

  55. I get my nails done occassionally at a salon, they always look great, I bring my own colors mostly but sometimes let the girls at the salon pick for me. I occassionally get some stares from people as I am white haired male, happily married. but I do it for my self I enjoy having color on my toes and would do my finger nails if I could, oh well when I retire I will and will care less what others think. and Yes I wear sandles as often as possible as I am proud of how my toes look.

  56. another Minnesotan male, normal guy. I love it too. Maybe it's something in the lakes up here. :) I know email jake, rather blog jake, and like him, could never do color on my fingers, I'd trash them in an hour. OTOH, Orly matte works really well to protect my fingers. Toes last two weeks, and I use essie mademoiselle for the natural look with a gloss on top, not french though. My wife is so traditional, that color is just odd to her since she's afraid of what folks will say about her. But I drew a line in the sand about clear, she said ok , and off we go and that makes me happy. Jeez, it's just a polish, colored or not. The whole gay commentary I hear is just so much nonsense. Been married to #2 for 5, this September, the previous one for 20, so one would think my interest in same sex hook ups would have come out by now, but apparently by this cultural view I am REALLY good at intrigue. NOT. Man, like Jake, I always noticed it on girls, and loved the colors. So, I said WTH and did it anyway. Just love the shine. Maakes me happy!

  57. I've been married to a beautiful woman for 21 years, have two teenage sons, and don't have a gay bone in my body (insert joke here). I've been going to the nail salon with my wife for about 3 years for manicures and started getting pedicures about 2 years ago at the suggestion of the husband of a client that is a construction worker. My wife loves that I take care of my hands and feet, and that I'm a bit eclectic. I'm a musician and photographer and have recently started doing product photography and hand modeling for the men's line of nail polish from BB Couture for Men, who was the first to come out with a line of men's nail polish. I wear polish 100% of the time. Most of the time it's clear, sheer or a matte. I started wearing color on my hands this year, and what I have found is that most people either don't notice, or say nothing. If they do say something it is either a positive comment or they are just inquisitive. I've seen blogs where other guys are getting bolder with colors. I still prefer the more masculine colors like blacks, dark grays and dark blues. Times are changing for the better. Just like long hair and earrings were once only a female thing, and tattoos, pants, voting and driving was a male thing, fashion options are becoming more readily available for guys--as it should be. I wear polish because it protects my nails and I like the way it looks.

    There are four companies I'm aware of that are marketing nail polish for guys: BB Couture, ManGlaze, Evolution Man and Alpha Nail. There are currently 313 million people in the United States with the split being about 50/50 male/female. The cosmetics industry is leaving a lot of money on the table by not trying to sell nail products to over 150 million males. It is a huge untapped market with only social stereotypes keeping them from increasing their revenue. As ManGlaze says, "We guarantee, it won't make you grow tits", and someone has posted many times on other blogs, "It's NOT magic gay sauce". Hang on...checking...YUP...still NOT gay.


Thank you for taking your time and leaving a comment! I read all the comments and I'm happy of each and every one. However: any rude, inappropriate or otherwise disturbing comments will be deleted. Do not post links in my comments unless you're asked to. If you have a blog and want me to take a look at it, contact me via contact form or e-mail. Thanks!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Help animals!

People Who Are Violent to Animals ... Rarely Stop There