Opinions, Trends

Bro, should I paint my nails?

Here’s what we think.

words by: Harry Hill
Feb 9, 2020

2020 is in full swing. An 18-year-old girl who makes dark-pop in her bedroom is arguably the biggest musician on the planet. A gay black cowboy went from meme to mainstream in a matter of months. Lizzo exists. It’s a new decade and times are changing faster than you can say, “I wish Rihanna still made music.” 

And when times change, trends change. One trend in particular has been showing up more and more frequently among the straight men in Hollywood: painted nails. While it’s not a groundbreaking shift by any means – Kurt Cobain, anyone? – it does seem to be gaining traction. Harry Styles rocks nail art on the daily, Bella and Gigi’s grunge-y little brother, Anwar, paints random nails, and Latin trap star Bad Bunny has been experimenting with full blown acrylics

It’s a thing. 



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While it makes sense for ASAP Rocky to don some nail art at some trendy club here or a gallery appearance there, it’s another for the average Joe to show up to a Tinder date with smiley faces gel-painted on his nails. Do chicks dig that? Can I still do it if I’m not related to Bella Hadid? Bro, should I get a manicure? 

I know you’re probably looking at your nails right now, making notes of previously unnoticed irregularities, overgrown cuticles, general grime, or 3-day old Cheeto dust that just seemed to stick around after snack time. Don’t fret, my guy, I have the answers for you. I enlisted my Instagram followers (mainly 18-24 year old girls in NYC) to answer some nail-biting questions on the topic at hand: Is it cool for the average straight dude to paint his nails? 

Here’s what I learned…


Harry Hill, influencer du jour, surveyed his 50,000 followers – predominately straight women – to see what’s in.


Nail hygiene is sexy

This might come as a shock to those who enjoy having dirt caked under their claws, but girls want guys to, um, buff their situations. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go out and book a manicure, but you should pay attention to your nails, especially if you’re trying to put them in… delicate places. I got one too many messages about dirty-nail-causing UTIs. Please, don’t be that guy. 


Black nails are whack nails

When asked how they’d feel if a guy showed up to a Tinder date with black nails, the girls we’re split: 48% said they’d think it’s “hot” and 52% said “this isn’t a music video.” After prodding them more, I discovered that chipped black nails are even worse – 63% disapproved. However, multiple gals stepped forward to say that it simply depends on the guy. Probably meaning: if you’re Shawn Mendes, I don’t care what’s on your nails.



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Steer clear 

On the other hand (literally), we’ve got the clear coat, which is a single coat of clear polish to make the nails shiny. 68% said they’re happy to leave nail art to the celeb guys that have an upcoming performance on Ellen, which means you’ll be golden with a simple spit-shine. If you’re looking to be discreet about your manicure, a clear coat is barely noticeable. If you’re paranoid, make your manicurist sign an NDA. 


Perhaps a pedicure?

Nearly 100% of those polled said that they’d be totally into their boyfriend getting a pedicure. It’s also a good way to ease into the whole salon vibe. Who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy getting your feet pampered so much that you’ll say “fuck it” and give them your hands, too. 


Date night

If you’ve got cold feet (or in this case, hands) about making a salon trip, fear not. Over half of the girls said they’d think a couples manicure would be “cute.” I’ll start the car, babe!



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Don’t do it for clout

This one is tricky because it kinda-sorta contradicts the idea that anyone and everyone is welcome to paint their nails (they are). A common complaint was about guys who paint their nails in order to appear more “soft” for the sole purpose of getting with chicks. Another was about guys who made a big deal about getting their nails done, as if they should be given the Edgiest Boi Award for having a mani. In my opinion, though, showing off a manicure is part of the experience. Like, I didn’t pay $25 to not put them on my Instagram Story. Plus, a post-mani interrogation isn’t necessary (unless you drove to the salon in a stolen car). 


*  *  *

The decision to paint your nails is yours, obviously. Whether or not you decide to go under the brush, you should at least pay attention to your nails to make sure they’re well-groomed. And if you do decide to make an appointment at the local nail place, know that 82% of my followers will support your decision.


For more of Harry’s antics, follow him on Instagram here