Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shopping for New Colors

Still bashful over the new toes in deep pink, I decided to expand my color collection. After reading much about this, I couldn't quite grasp what nail polish tones are considered "manly." Odd paradox. A popular link seemed to be Manglaze, which are matte colors offered in only 2 tones, black and grey. This is one of few, if not the only brand to directly market to men. It is aimed for the rocker or punk folks. Cool! Rock on. I guess there was a brand by Hard Candy directed at men with funky macho names that didn't do so well and is no longer available.
For me, part of the allure to nail polish is the polish part of it. I love seeing my piggies smooth and shiny, reflecting the busy world around me. They especially look fantastic out in the open sunlight wearing my favorite pair of sandals or flip-flops. There is a marked difference between artificial lighting and sunlight when it comes to the brightness of your chosen color. I've found that there's even a difference between the apparent color of the polish at the store, in different parts of the house, and actually once unleashed onto your toes. I'm still figuring it out.
As my wife's collection was limited to mostly pink shades, I decided that I needed more choices. I was shopping at Nordstrom Rack and found my next adventure. I have since lost the bottle so I can't recall the brand or my wife hid it from me in a gesture of discouragement. Sultry was its name. It was a beautiful maroon that contrasted well with my light skin and well groomed feet. I wore it through the Phoenix airport without much fuzz, not that I expected any. Not before long, I was already wondering what color to feed my piggies as they got a taste for the polish. Something redder would be nice, I thought. I finally found time to visit a local beauty supply store. It was in midday as I had gotten out of work early and nobody was in the store except for the two employees. I walked around a little bit hoping to find the nail polish section right away, hastily pick a color, and pretend it's for someone else. I had no idea how much stuff they sell there and many of the items I didn't even dare guess at its intended purpose. One of the helpful girls promptly approached me with a "Can I help you find something?" greeting. I didn't have the balls to ask where the nail polish was so I had to think quickly. "Do you have a cuticle pusher?" I had read about getting one of these from an informative thread and figured that was a good start. Harmless. She showed me a variety of pushers, from the cheap wooden stick version to the german surgical grade type. Ahhh! Surgical grade. Must have it, much in the same way a guy goes into the hardware store to get a screwdriver and comes out with an air compressor and a dozen other power tools just to change a lightbulb. Once I picked one, not realizing they came in different widths and different scrapers on the other end, I moved along and shook the girl off. I browsed the aisles and walked purposely past by the nail polish display. Bingo! My adrenaline sped up my ticker two notches. Now I'm by the file section and must work my way back to all those little precious bottles of OPI. Of course it had to be right by the counter where the girls were chatting. I checked out a few low grade files, let my heart catch up, then walked over to where I wanted to go in the first place. So many colors to choose from and luckily displayed in a kind of color gradient pattern with lights on the left upper corner and darks on the right lower end. I only looked at the reds and maroons and fiddled with some bottles nervously. Vodka and Caviar was too far on the left side to consider at this time. I inched a few bottles down the spectrum and found Quarter of a Cent. It seemed to be well placed between a bright red and a light maroon. I"ll take it, along with a bottle of clear nail strengthener, which at the time I thought was top coat but didn't have a clear mind to know better. No loss though since it served as base coat and top coat quite well thus far.
I've enjoyed my new red and took it out for a spin at the mall. A pair of teen boys laughed at it but I didn't value their reaction at all. It makes me happy, which is the main reason I do it. Imagine if you could change the color of your sleek sports car every week or so. How awesome would that be?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My So Soft Feet Routine

Adorning my darling toes has not only made my piggies smile, but also my feet. I've always taken good care of them but the summers were hard on the soles. They would inevitably desiccate and crack by the fall then I'd struggle to nurse them back. Winter would then save them, as it's so cold that they're always covered and kept warm. Now they get extra attention so I think I will triumph over the summer challenge. Besides, it's already "weird" to most people that a guy has toenail polish on, but it's much worse and repulsive to anyone if the feet are gnarly and the paint job poor. So all you guys out there, keep those feet and toes looking good and healthy. Same goes for women. There are more girls out there with poor foot care and bad polish than those who take care of them and have sexy feet. I guess any of you interested in reading this already takes care of their feet.

Though it's summer now, I wear soft cotton socks to bed. When I wake up, my feet stay soft and they're ready for a full day's work supporting all of my weight and pummeling through every step. Once I come home, I keep the socks on and try to wear Crocs when stepping on the jagged surface of the slate flooring. On the carpet and wooden sections, mostly downstairs and in the bedroom, I'll just wear the socks. Crocs, though not the most attractive, have good cushioning capabilities and is less traumatizing to the heels. It also gives my back a break since I'm already having problems with it at my young age. Too much standing all day. Once things have settled down and the kids have gone to bed, I'll fill a small tub with warm to hot water and place my favorite bath solution in it. I vary the treats from peppermint salts to a gentle milk bath. I have multiple files of varied gradients, mostly on the fine side since my feet are already soft. I gently scrub the ball of my feet and the heels after soaking for 5 minutes then I sit there and relax. I usually prepare a warm drink like green tea and keep my laptop handy for music and checking my email and such. This only takes about 15 to 20 minutes. I then hop in the shower. Once I'm done, I'll rub my lotion of choice (Cetaphil from Costco, works great) then follow with body (shea) butter, which seals the moisture in. A fresh pair of socks finishes the routine. Ready for bed. This has been my routine for at least 3 days of the week. The other days I just shower and scrub in the bathtub. Sounds tedious but it's really not. As I had mentioned in an earlier entry, I discovered nail buffing (all seven gradients on each toe) and cuticle work. I don't clip nails anymore and just file them down in length and shape them.

One last thing. Since most of our bodies are composed of water, one must keep well hydrated. Otherwise no matter what you do, your skin will be dry from the inside. I'm guilty of not drinking enough water and my wife is even worse. I've also done this foot care routine for my wife but she doesn't care for it as much. Her feet have gotten better but she won't scrub them or put lotion on them consistently unless I remind her. My wife last night just commented on how sad it was that my feet are pretty and nicer than hers. Piggies need a lot of love to keep them happy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Showing Off on Mother's Day

     After the fiasco earlier, I kept the deep pink for about a week. It surprised my wife, who thought the bright pink was the end of this "joke" with our girls. It certainly hit a nerve with her and concern began to fester within her.  I confronted her and told her that I kind of liked it. I liked having my toes colored, even in pink. 
     Mother's day came around and the weather had just gotten warm and sunny. A perfect day to show off my piggies. I wore a more casual black shirt, linen pants, and one of my favorite sandals by Prada. The toes were so happy as we headed out to church and to brunch afterwards. I figured that at church people were at least restrained and on their best behavior. No one would come up to me and say, "What da f...!" Besides, we don't really know people there that well at all. For the most part, I went undetected and felt that my theory was right, that most people are nice under God's close watch. We took some family pictures at the park that turned out quite well. There's one that showed from head to toe and I think we should print that one out and place it over the fireplace.
     Scores of families were at the restaurant waiting in the lobby. My heart quivered as I held my chin up high. Afterall, this was as awkward as I made it to be. I got many strange looks and witnessed many others leaning toward their buddies to talk about my toes. Manly men disapproved of this. It was obvious. I felt that maybe they'd wait for me in the bathroom to beat the crap out of me. I felt like I was in high school again. Deep inside of me I knew I had drank too much iced tea and that I had to go sometime before the conclusion of the meal. I tried to hold it. I tried to ignore my bulging and uncomfortable bladder. I knew that I'd have to stroll through a very crowded restaurant to get to the potty. I mustered the courage to get up and made eye contact with not a soul. I entered the restroom only to find that no one else was there. Sigh! I could just see what a guy on the next urinal would do. There's already an unspoken rule among men that at the urinals one's eyes don't stray toward the other's golden stream. It's just not right. Privacy, you know. You look straight ahead or straight down. My pink would surely catch the wondering eye. A feeling of relief as well as excitement overcame me as we headed home.
     I survived my first exposure, unscathed. This would only serve to bolster my confidence. Now I can't wait to show them off anywhere.  

From Pink to Darker Pink

Though Rodeo Rose was peachy for initiation, it was only logical that more adventurous choices would follow.  Not having a collection to call my own, I sifted through the bathroom drawers searching for lost gold.  Again, it was late at night and everyone had already drifted into their make-believe dream worlds.  My wife was likely traveling through an exotic beach resort that we have yet to visit, and my kids, so peaceful and innocent when asleep, were likely spinning in their pink costumes dancing in a fantasy world with fluffy pink clouds and pink unicorns.  There was I, like a drug addict overtaken with craze and the ever dominating urge hiding in the bathroom with the door closed, looking for where my wife stored her precious supply of nail polish.  How silly of an image that was considering I was in my race car boxers and a black T-shirt with pink toenails. Hmm, I need new underwear.  
In several drawers, I found scattered bottles of nail polish.  Easily recognizable items were the OPI jewels in Wyatt Earple Purple (light pink with sparkles), Argenteeny Pinkini (whitish pink with sparkles), a deep red with sparkles without a label, and a beautiful dark pink also without a label.  Others in the mix included Gap Crimson for $2.99, a bright purple with sparkles by Nicole, and two tiny bottles with tiny brushes from Sephora, formulas 227 and 159.
Sparkles?  I wasn't bold enough that make that leap so soon.  Ok, that's cool.  "Pink is okay," I convinced myself in desperation.  I committed to changing my color after a week of Rodeo Rose and a lack of color choices would not stop me.  There's sufficient acetone left in that old bottle to clear my toes.  No cotton balls in the brushed pewter container. Damn it! Sabotage at every corner.  I hadn't realized that our drawers were so messy but I did find round cosmetic sponges with vitamin E.  Oooohh! Vitamin E.  Must be good for you.  My wife will wring my neck for wasting her make-up sponges to remove nail polish.  I'll hide it and throw it the kitchen trash can.  Leave no evidence.  So, I proceeded to take the one layer thick pink polish off my toes without a problem.  The smell of nail polish remover is very distinct and intoxicating.  It's quite volatile as our bathroom quickly permeated with that sweet chemical odor.  Nail polish smells even better.  Hee, hee.  
I grabbed the dark nonmetallic pink and tried with all my might to twist the cap open.  It then dawned on me that my daughters, several weeks ago, had asked me to untwist a bottle of nail polish and I couldn't.  That must have been THE bottle.  Crap, what now?  Hell, I'm a crafty man, capable of McGyvering through any problem or situation, even at midnight.  I leave the bathroom sanctuary at the risk of waking someone up in a quest to find a tool that would free the life from this stubborn bottle.  I find a large clamp in the basement and quickly sneak back into the sanctuary.  
Mmmph!  No good.  Still stuck.  Mmmph!  It's really stuck!  Mmmph!  SNAAAP!  Oh shit!  Shit, shit, SHHIIIITTTT!  The neck of the bottle cracked off, completely at the base.  The bottle was not full enough so luckily it didn't pour all over our slate flooring.  Sharp edges.  Pheeww! Good thing I didn't cut my fingers either.  That would have been bad showing up in the ER with cut polish-filled fingers.  Surely they see worse, like foreign objects.....  Stay calm.  Everything is under control, as my heart raced and my cheeks turned red from self embarrassment.  It's hot in the bathroom now.  Quick, paint the toes you big fool.  So, one by one, I started to give my toes a breath of fresh air in dark pink.  I didn't realize I needed spacers between my toes so I smeered a few toes.  Ow, c'mon!  Can't I catch a break? More acetone coming up.  This time, I'll stick neatly folded toilet paper squares in between.  Great!  That will do for now.  I'm getting exhausted now and I'm hating myself for getting into such an awkward position.  The toes are now drying but they also have excess in scattered places like my nail fold and sides.  So messy you are.  I'll scratch it off later, but for now, let's clean the scene of the crime.  I found a tattered ziplock bag underneath the sink and quickly sealed it, knocking the bottle over.  I hope the bag is not compromised.  I waddle out with toilet paper in between my toes to double bag the crime weapon and triple bag it with a white grocery bag.  That smell is so strong that I can still sense it through all those bags, or may be my senses are saturated from being confined in that small space.  I must get rid of it.  Paranoia sets in.  I take it out to my car and put it in the trunk where it will be safe from snitching evil doers.  I must be completely insane and out of my mind.  It's past 1 a.m. now.  I come back in and still no soul is awaken by my rustling of noisy plastic bags and closing doors.  I scrape the excess with my fingernails and the hook file from the nail clippers.  Not bad, but not perfect.  I clear all evidence and dispose of things properly.  My fingernails still have some pink just under the nail.  Oh well, it will wash off in the morning shower.  Time for bed, finally.  Tomorrow is another day.  I fall dead asleep in seconds.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pink color? How about something darker

The pink job was a great leap into self discovery, but I must admit, it wasn't the nicest job.  For a first attempt, commendable. As a person who is driven and detail oriented, I launched a massive search on the all knowing internet for answers.  Top coat, base coat, multiple coats.  Nail fungus? Yikes!  I feel bad for those who suffer from it.  After deducting hours from my beauty sleep routine in front of the hypnotizing monitor, I arrived at the simple conclusion that I could just do better.  Men with nail polish was so very interesting and the reactions are so mixed, ranging from utter abhorrence to pure delight.  Surprisingly, it is women with the most negative comments and of course, homophobic jabs by insecure men.  I was glad to find pictures of several celebrities with fabulous painted toes and it didn't appear odd, at all.  Ahh, refreshing!  In a way it made me feel better about what I had embarked on.  No, not just the celebrities but the voluminous commentary from guys from all walks of life that embraced this not yet popular practice.  It is a medical fact that men have thicker skin than women at all levels.  It's just the way we are.  So having the task to soften and beautify our feet to some degree is harder.  Plus, men don't generally think about those things, except for like-minded folks like us who don't follow the norm imposed on by a narrow society.  Rebel gentlemen and thrust forward with pushing boundaries.  So if you've been curious about painting your piggies, take the plunge like so many have done so.  To those who hide it from view, it's summer so let them shine.

Come Out and Play with Open Toes!

Hi everyone!  I was compelled to begin a new and exciting journey into the next phase of my life, a more colorful one.  As I'd always thought, life is a mystery and it's much too short to not live it freely.  
I happen to spend some quality time with my daughters, both quite young and already self-aware of their feminine beauty.  They requested that I paint their toenails, an activity they often shared with my wife.  Sure.  How hard can it be?  It's not like braiding hair.  I'm an expert at pony tails and piggy tails.  (It's the hairdo of choice when it's up to Daddy to get them ready.)  Their cute toes got the royal treatment, each trimmed nicely and polished with a bright pink, Rodeo Rose from OPI.  Keeping them still for my novice pedicure was a task in itself.  "Don't move!" was my predominant bark, which fell on minds with an attention span of small poodles.
Then, as if by chance or by fate, a spontaneous thought occurred to me.  Wouldn't it be funny and make my girls laugh if I painted my toenails as well? So Rodeo Rose they became.  One foot first.  Hmmm.... not too bad I must say.  Complete the set, as complete as the last four go.  etzcgy9u i0hvb09n-o=Actually, rather pretty... In a manly way, of course, despite the gleaming color of pink.  This was the very spark that lit up that dormant, distant, want-t0-be-pretty part of my heart.  My soul shivered with an unusual burst of giddy joy.  My sides tickled and the chaotic world around me suddenly became one small step closer toward order.  I felt young again and wished I had started this in college.  All those colors!  So little time!
That whimsical night passed and morning came as the toil of a full day's work dawned upon my lead corpse.  As I battle against adherent bedsheets, morning breath, and cockatoo hair, I rise up to find welcoming polished and bright-eyed piggies.  Hello there handsome!  My outlook instantly cheered up.  I dressed in my dashing customary manner.  Clean crisp shirt, subdued tie in a perfect knot and dimple, dark slacks.  I wrapped my darling footsies in black socks and slipped them into fine Ferragamo leathers (with gel heel pad for comfort and to minimize trauma to my soft skin).  At work, I helped a lot of people feel better, all the while with what felt like a naughty, simple pleasure that only I was privy to.  It added bounce to my steps and an occasional smirk when a woman walked by with sandals and polished toes.  "Mine are prettier. Ha!" I thought to myself as one goes by.  "Wow, those are pretty good.  Really good." I sneer as another girl slips by. "Tough to beat.  Go girl!"
Many are introduced by a significant other through a dare, while asleep, or by their own curiosity.  Serendipity.  Prior to that day, I admired women's colorfully adorned feet but never considered them on men.  I had seen one bold dad at the children's ballet where my daughters prance that had black nail polish on.  He had tattoos and a rocker look that didn't seem out of the ordinary.  It fit him well.  Still, the thought hadn't crossed my path.  Yet.  With this, I end my introduction and welcome all with an open mind to journey with me through my brightened life with colored piggies.