I’ve said it a bunch of times now, but I can’t stress enough that it really is the little things that you do to take care of yourself and your appearance that others notice. Consider this the first post in what will likely be a pretty long (okay, never-ending) series on personal grooming, and how to better take care of yourself.
Today we will focus on nail care. Yep, I said it. Nail care. Which I promise you is more than just biting them, or ripping them off with your teeth when they get too long, or using some rusty old clippers “Go-Fish” (if you don’t know that reference well, then, you need to find a queer with a bad gay movie collection) style to keep things in check.
Think about it – not only are your hands often the first physical contact that you have with someone, but we use our hands to “talk,” and they are always visible, and people DO notice a gentlemanly butch with well cared for hands. This is especially noted by those who might like to get even more familiar with them, which can ultimately be the BEST reason for taking care of your nails!
You should own good nail care tools or a men’s nail care kit. These are not hard to come by and don’t necessarily need to be expensive either. A good kit will contain nail clippers, a good nail file, and a cuticle care tool, at the very least. Some more extensive kits will contain things like nose hair scissors and tweezers which are things you likely don’t need or already have, but it’s also nice to have a complete kit that looks good in your medicine cabinet. For those out there looking for a great gift for the stud in their life this leather kit from Royce contains all of those nail tools PLUS a tooth brush, corkscrew, and shoe care brush. If you’re buying for yourself? You can buy these tools piece meal for probably about $15-$20, or upgrade to a nice kit like this one from Pour Homme, which is a little more expensive but has very high quality tools. Lucky enough that money is no option? This kit from Solingen is killer.
I like to keep my nails fairly short and I do a pretty good manicure on myself every 6 weeks or so, and maintain my nails by filing and spot cutting every week or so. For my manicure days, I soak my nails in a bowl of warm water or wrap them in a hot, wet washcloth for a few minutes to soften the cuticle. I then cut cuticles if necessary, and push them back in to the nail bed. I then clip and file so that my nails are flush with my fingertips, with very little overhang. That’s it! You could buff or clear polish if you like, but for me and everyday wear, that seems to be a little bit of overkill.
Also, I keep my hands in good shape by making sure I moisturize my hands with lotion (I prefer Johnson & Johnson baby lotion) at least once daily. In the winter I use Burt’s Bees hand salve and lemon butter cuticle creme to make up the destruction that the harsh winter weather doles out to my hands.
I ALSO do my toenails when I manicure my hands. It’s not as extensive, but be sure that you STRAIGHT cut your toenails. Do not curve them into the nail bed as this will only help ingrown toenails find a place to live, and that is NOT comfortable. It’s important to take care of your toe nails because not only does this lead to healthy feet, but also, no one likes sleeping with someone who has talons for toenails.
Feeling in the mood to pamper yourself? Have a special event or first date coming up? A men’s manicure at a nail salon often costs less than seven or so dollars, and salon pedicures (about $18) make your feet feel and look SOOOOO good. You can take yourself to a salon that exclusively caters to men; most large cities have such venues that often house barbers and shoe shiners, etc, or ask your female/femme friends or partners which salons they like. Even better? Mani/pedi dates are really really fun, and usually an unexpected treat for the special person who gets to tag along with you.
Trust me, people notice your hands and your nails, and while they will probably never be commented upon, the smooth feel of your hands is definitely going to be appreciated by everyone who comes in contact with them, whether casually or…..not so casually.