Dating women with long fingernails
Because a doctor told my parents that I was a boy when I was born, and because I have a male body, my parents assumed that they were doing what was right for me by choosing blue instead of pink, sports instead of ballet, and Legos instead of Barbies. Today, I describe myself as genderqueer — someone who doesn’t identify as a man or a woman, but as a person outside of conventional binary gender roles.And for people like me, learning to express gender in a way that feels comfortable and authentic can be a lifelong struggle.Take that same nail, cover it in gold glitter, and suddenly it’s a (small) way to give propriety and bourgeois beauty norms the finger.While they may be difficult to maintain, and while I may spend too much of my life polishing and re-polishing them, I am proud of my long nails.When she first saw my long nails, she was shocked — not because they were feminine, but because she’d never had nails that long in her life.She wasn’t surprised by my femininity anymore: Instead, she was impressed by it.You have to be careful not to chip them, but you also know that you could scratch the shit out of someone in a fight if you needed to.You have claws, but you know that with great claws come great responsibility.
When I was around 9 or 10, I started challenging my parents, asking them why it was so important that I kept my nails short.
People would stop me at work, on the subway, at parties, and in bars to look at my nails.
My mother, who has spent the past few years learning to embrace and celebrate my newly reclaimed femininity, took notice, but not in the way that I expected.
Through wearing my nails long and polished, I assert my right to be my own person, outside the expectations of masculinity.
But like so many feminine beauty norms, long nails are a contradiction.