a colorful debate

Redditors argue about whether guys’ painted nails are a turn-off


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Men have been wearing nail polish for decades: David Bowie did so during his Ziggy Stardust era, for example, and Kurt Cobain’s “nailed” his grunge vibe with chipped nail polish.

But the trend has really taken off in recent years, especially among celebs: Brad Pitt sported a colorful manicure at the 2015 Palm Springs International Film Festival. Harry Styles rocked green and blue nails at the 2019 Met Gala, and A$AP Rocky showed off bold nail art at Milan Fashion Week later that year.

Bad Bunny, meanwhile, told Twitter followers a few years ago that he was turned away from a Spanish nail salon for being a man.

“I’m not telling people, ‘Hey, paint your nails or color your hair, do this or do that,’” the Puerto Rican rapper told Paper in 2019. “I’m simply saying… do what makes you happy, and to never limit yourself.”

(And other famous fellas — including Zac Efron, pictured above — paint their nails as part of the Polished Man protest, which spotlighting violence against children.)



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But not all men are fans of the trend. “Does anyone else find guys painting their nails a huge turn-off?” one person asked in a recent Reddit thread in the r/askgaybros subreddit. “I have noticed a lot of guys tend to painting their nails — I have no problem with people expressing themselves and have nothing against it. However, out of curiosity, does anyone else find this a massive turn-off and find it a dealbreaker? Or am I paying too much attention to the small details?”

Here’s a sampling of replies (which we’ve “polished” for clarity and readability).

Some guys are turned off by guys with nail polish.

“I don’t like how painted nails look — on women or men or [nonbinary individuals]. Not my vibe.”

“I don’t get it, and it immediately turns me off.”

“Black nails remind me of rotten nail beds and make it difficult to tell whether they are clean. Men’s nails are usually not that clean, and that’s… a bad thing for our activities.”

“Usually, when a man paints their nails, they just paint them all black, and even that is a huge turn-off for me. Just to be clear, I am 100% against gender norms. This is solely a matter of what I personally find to be attractive versus unattractive, which is something I have no control over.”

“I do [find it a turn-off], which is weird because I like feminine guys.”

Related: Gay high schooler suspended for nail polish tears into local school board at public hearing

Some take it case by case.

“I don’t mind it if the nails are short and painted solid colors like black or maroon, but long, sparkly, pointy ones are definitely a turn-off for me.”

“If a man got acrylics, hard pass. But white or black fingernails? I couldn’t care less.”

“Depends on the color.”

Related: Nail polish is the secret to this cute college track star’s success


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And it’s a total turn-on for others.

“It’s cute.”

“I don’t like it aesthetically, but it’s actually a turn-on for me, him being confident in his sexuality and appearance.”

“I like it, and think it looks great if they have the confidence to pull it off. I see mostly younger guys doing it, and they tend to be more open-minded in their self-expression, which is a turn-on.”

“I appreciate LGBTQ+ people who dress in ways that express themselves. Partly because I really enjoy people who find ways to say ‘f*ck the system’ and live their own life apart from heteronormative gender norms, but mostly because I love the self-expression. It’s kind of like being an artist and using yourself as a canvas. I love it!”

“I think it’s kinda hot.”

“I’m a very masculine guy, and I love to mix it up and paint my nails. It takes confidence and pride to stand tall in who you are. … It makes homophobes angry, and it makes everyone else’s day! If I can make people happy and others questions their own values based off paint, then yes, I’m going to do it. I also value a man who has that much self-confidence to say, ‘This is me, I’m going to be myself and if you don’t like it, sort that sh*t out!’ It speaks volumes.”