Why I Bring My Son to the Nail Salon


Last week I brought my whole family along to the nail salon. My son, daughter, and I all got our nails painted as my husband waited patiently up front. A few patrons glanced up quizzically from behind their US Weekly, wondering why a boy was painting his nails. The simple answer is that he wanted to! He was happy as a clam, admiring his sparkly “Galaxy Blue” polish!

It’s amazing how having boy/girl twins puts gender expectations into perspective.

My husband and I have always been open to letting our twins experiment. Somehow organically, my daughter gravitates towards pink, princesses, and anything deemed “girly.” She only wants to play with the girls, and boys have cooties (except for her brother). My son, the open and loving soul that he is, wants to play with everyone! He loves superheroes AND princesses. He’ll wear pink, blue, or any color, depending on his mood. He is too young to understand gender norms and wants to experience it all!

So, when my son begged to come along to the nail salon last week, I reluctantly agreed. My reluctance didn’t come from what people would think but rather from my typical fears over having both 3-year-olds out in public together. Would they disrupt the room full of moms trying to enjoy some peace?

Almost immediately, I knew I had made the right decision. Having been there before, my daughter was proud to show off the wall of colors and fancy automatic dryers. Like a kid in a candy store, my son examined all the polish bottles, giddy over choosing a color. They were behaved and engaged, and I quickly realized this was a fun activity we all could enjoy together!

My son is no stranger to painted nails as he’s often experimented at home. A family member once scoffed at our decision to let him play with color.

“Boys don’t paint their nails.”

“Why, Papa, Emmy does!? I want color too.”

No one could answer my poor son’s question. All he wanted was to be able to express his creativity through color. He’s too little to comprehend the gender stereotypes that our society places on us.

Girls are told they can be anything they want…a firefighter, an astronaut, yet we can’t encourage our boys to be stay-at-home dads, nurses, or wear nail polish? My husband is a preschool teacher, and I work in a corporate setting. We hope that our unconventional dynamic lets them know that anything is possible.

Who is to say what’s “normal?” We want them to define normal for themselves. A little nail polish seems like a small step towards coloring their own path.

Time will tell whether my son’s love for nail polish will wear off or develop into something deeper. All I can say for certain is that his father and I will never close any doors or stifle his creativity. The world can be a judgmental place, and we could all practice a little more acceptance of those who are different. I’m hoping to pass this lesson on to my kids, starting with the color of their nails.

Miles, the Princess Superhero! Photo by Anna-Liisa Nixon Photography


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here