Sunday, April 4, 2010

Are they mice or are they men?

posted Wed, 13 Sep 2006

In Waiterrant’s latest post about an obnoxious yuppie trying to get an outdoors table, he writes:

I look at the guy. He’s about twenty eight. Fashionably dressed in surfer chic, his eyes are masked by a pair of expensive sunglasses. I notice the guy’s wearing sandals. His toenails gleam with polish. A guy can’t look tough with polish on his toenails.

What’s up with the toenail polish? Is this a new New York thing that cool metrosexuals are doing? Or have yuppies finally lost their minds? This guy is straight – he has a girlfriend. So it’s not a gay thing. But he’s wearing toenail polish.

Down here – in the South – a man wearing toenail polish would be just as good as a man wearing a sign that said, “Beat me up I’m a big sissy.” Men don’t wear nail polish. Not even on their fingers. A real man doesn’t even get a manicure. He trims his fingernails with a big knife, or, if one isn’t available, he casually rips them to the right length with his teeth. Manicures – bah! For women! For fancy men!

What is happening to the men in New York? Is it the fluoride, robbing them of their precious bodily fluids? Is there a plot to turn the men into mice? Or are the sissies self-identifying, making it easier for women to find the men? One of my rules has always been to stay away from men prettier than I am. And I certainly don’t share cosmetics with a boyfriend. Sure, I’ll borrow his – what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine and all that – if his deodorant is easier to get to than mine, I’ll use it – but it would really bother me if a boyfriend suddenly found my medicine cabinet appealing. Really bother me.

Maybe masculinity has been in short supply in New York for years. Several years ago, the CEO of my former employer and his aide-de-camp were in town (from New York). I was stuck in the elevator with them here in Memphis. What a nightmare that was. I knew no good for my career could come from that if I opened my mouth, so I merely asked what floor they wanted, hit the buttons and pressed my lips together. I was getting off on three and they were going – they said – to four.

When the doors opened at three, the aide-de-camp, a strapping lad of six feet and four inches, nearly knocked me over getting out of the elevator. My jaw dropped. I couldn’t help myself as I turned to stare at the CEO to express my astonishment at this incredible breach of manners. I wanted to say, “I don’t know how you do it in New York, but in the South, men let women get off the elevator first.” But I didn’t. I remembered that (at that point) I had a career to think of. So I shut my mouth again. But I was thinking it.

And now I know that aide-de-camp probably had painted toenails. It explains everything.

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