Would You Paint Your Boy’s Nails?

I am probably way late to comment on this story. Actually, I know I am. I am still head down in my own sicknesses, and haven’t been paying attention to pretty much anything but my own ears.

So YOU probably know more about the J. Crew ad that has Fox News and other conservatives up in arms than I do.


If you haven’t heard, that is Beckett. He likes pink, and his mom is a Creative Director for J. Crew. They have fun painting their nails together. End of story.

Apparently not. APPARENTLY, because he likes pink and likes painting his nails with his mom, she is making him “turn” transgender. That he will have a crisis about his sexuality as he grows up.

What a pile of HORSESHIT.

Declan has always had a lot of friends who are girls. When he goes to their house(s) to play, half of the time he comes home with painted nails. Or flower tattoos. Or with barrettes in his pocket. To this day, at eight and a half, he loves playing dress up at afterschool care. As in DRESSES.

Does that make him gay?


Will he be gay?

I have no fucking clue. That is up to him and his biology to decide.

Sure, I have joked about him being gay before. Because that is what I do.

But seriously, I promise. The only reason I would be upset that my son was gay is that he would have to deal with pinheads like the critics of that J. Crew ad.

The other day, I saw a friend and her 4 year old boy at school drop off. His nails happened to be painted green. Bright, electric, neon green. I told him how much I liked his nails. He adopted a classic Sid Vicious pose and screamed, “THEY ARE TOTALLY PUNK ROCK, AIMEE!”

So, apparently, if you follow the Fox News line of thinking, my friend’s son is going to die of a heroin overdose at age 22.

Later that evening, I asked Declan if he felt like painting his nails with me.

“Do you have black nail polish?”

“No, but I do have dark blue.”

“You gotta deal, Mom.”

Indeed we do, Declan.

This article has 27 comments

  1. Sue at nobaddays

    SO with you on this … and happy birthday for Wednesday in case I forget!

    My kid hates anything sticky, goopy or wet (except water) or dressy-uppy, so I don’t think there will be any nail painting in our future.

  2. Pam

    I pulled a Jenna Lyons this weekend, hesitantly.

    Benjamin heard Leah and I discussing painting our nails. He wanted in, too. I didn’t really want to, but I asked him “How so?”

    He wanted 10 hot pink nails. I said we’d compromise — 2 pinky toe nails. Dark, sparkly blue.

    He said “Great!”

    Do I feel great about it? No. But it wasn’t a battle I needed to fight and a compromise when he’s 4 is just fine.

  3. Megan

    Right on sister.

  4. Tricia


    My daughter likes dinosaurs and trucks and no one thinks a thing of it – heteronormative typecasting goes both ways. If she turns into an guitar playing, short hair wearing, march-walking, dykey-dyke or lipstick lesbian know what I think? Fuck yeah sister, you go on with your bad self.

    Kids are kids. They are doing all this shit for the first time – what is so wrong with wanting to do it all? That’s more than I can say for so many people whose fires went out a long time ago…

  5. Charlie

    I too caught this story after a good deal of the smoke has cleared. No worries. But I agree, the fact that this ad caused any stir at all is a stern reminder that we as a culture have miles to go in gaining anything like a mature grasp of gender identity. There is some age-old fear that adopting ANY feminine characteristic will either “make a boy gay” or “give him issues.” BTW, you NEVER hear that playing with toy soldiers or trucks will have the same effect on a young girl. Hmmm. Of course, Fox has offered up their own homophobic shrink to bolster their case. Bottom line: I’d have better luck making my kid a vampire than I would of making her gay. Tho if she were a gay vampire, that would be incredibly cool.

  6. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Gay vampires exist, Charlie. DUH. EDWARD.

  7. Magpie

    And you know, if they hadn’t said it was a boy in the ad copy, would you have even known it? No, with that mop of blond curls, everyone would have assumed it was a girl.


  8. Carrie

    Whoa, what?! I guess I’m late to the show, too. You would think that Fox and their followers would have enough on their plate what with our non-citizen president, or the budget, or whatever. I just don’t get what’s so shocking about it… people need to loosen up – A LOT!

  9. Caleb

    Did you see the Daily Show’s segment about this? They called it Toemageddon 2011 (as they would).


    Actually formulating a post in my head about this very issue, but from a different angle (although we very much arrive at the same answer).

  10. spaceinyerface

    My younger brother has two older sisters who loved nothing more than using him as our dress up toy and he loved every minute of it. We painted his nailed, slathered makeup on him, dresses in in sequins and sparkles and feather boas all the damn time and he is 22 years old now and also happens to be the straightest guy on the planet.

    I’d better call him and let him know that since we painted his nails when he was little, he has to start sleeping with guys. His girlfriend will probably be upset, but what can you do?

  11. nsanderson

    Given the fact that I used to paint my finger and toe nails and turned out with a wife (whom I’m very attracted to) and 2 kids and am fairly certain I’m a heterosexual it’s hard to believe the nerve of some people.

    OK, so it was usually my middle finger or pinky and pointer so I could “rock on” but they were painted none the less.

    I almost feel sorry for them that they live their lives in such paranoia. My 2 year old son has a very influential 5 year old sister so I’m sure there will be plenty of girlie things my son will endure. One of which has been potty training in girl underwear because apparently my son is not big enough to fit in the smallest size boys underwear.

    Anyways, just as I have done “boy” things with my daughter my wife will do “girlie” things with my son.

    It’s a generational thing that my parents didn’t understand when I did it and something I will probably not even think twice about.

  12. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    You guys are cracking me up!

  13. Meghann

    My younger son, Logan gets his nails painted all the time. He sees his two sisters getting theirs painted and he lines up with them.

    I’m not worried at all about it. He turns right around with his sparkly blue nails, and starts shooting dinosaurs riding monster trucks in our dirt pile. I think his future “masculinity” is just fine.

    I also look at it this way: maybe he’ll be a father to a little girl someday, and when she asks him if he can paint her nails, I know he’ll be able to answer yes. I think there is something awesome about that.

  14. 3jaysmom

    People in this world really need to learn the T word… you know, TOLERANCE.

    I have 3 (now adult)sons… and I’ve done the nail painting thing. Not that it matters, but I think they are hetero.

    I just don’t see myself loving any one of them any less if they say they are gay at any point in life, tho, if they are, I hope that I am open and accepting enough (I believe that I am) that they wouldn’t think they needed to hide that from me.

    I have 6 brothers and 1 sister. My only sister is 12 years older than me. I cant teach my sons how to cook, but I did teach them how to throw a baseball, how to play soccer and how to drive!

    Sexuality really has nothing to do with the person within. And its the person within that matters!!

  15. Jenny

    Just the best, Aimee. You are awesome.

  16. Missy

    I can be a little bit more conservative at times but I would in NO way think that painting a boy’s nails pink or any color would have anything to do with his future sexuality. That is just ignorant!
    I don’t ink any of my boys wanted their nails painted but if they had asked I probably would have indulged them 🙂

  17. Bess

    As always, you hit the nail on the head. Makes perfect sense to me. Why is everyone else so confused?

  18. painted maypole

    right on.

  19. Kelly

    Amen sister!

    It just annoys the hell out of me that people think anyone could TURN anyone gay! Really? Polish is all it takes?! Dressing up?!?!lol
    Get a life people, and let others live theirs. We DON’T choose. We ARE.

  20. Kim Hosey

    Amen. Well said.

    I think another one of my pet peeves is when people say “I’d love him anyway.” I mean, sure, great, but “anyway?” No. I’d love my son exactly the same amount, and it’s not some kind of sacrifice or compromise to do so. I don’t say I love him “even though” he has brown hair.

    Declan sounds like he has a great head on his shoulders. Which of course he would, with the awesome family he has. If only everyone could just care bout that.

  21. Anonymous

    You all are crazy. I would NEVER let my boy do that,

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  23. Miss Britt

    My son would absolutely let me paint his nails.

    And he likes helping me pick out my clothes.

    However, thus far, he has not had sex with nor shown an interest in boys. Guess that means he’s not gay today.

  24. Rachel

    I love you,Aimee.

    My brothers both got their nails painted and makeup put on them and dressed up their entire childhood.

    You can’t ‘turn’ someone (oy)

  25. Rachael

    My son loves having his finger and toe nails painted. And I don’t care what anyone thinks about it. If he likes it, why not? Who wouldn’t want cool colors on their fingers?

    My son has a baby doll and Transformers toys. He has pink penguin pajamas and Batman shirts. He has Iron Man boots and loves watching Strawberry Shortcake. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

  26. Tree

    You have some of the best conversations with Dex.

  27. aimee e

    I am with you on this one too. Seriously, how closed minded can people get. My kids will have painted nails if they want them. Whatever!

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