Refining Life, on Purpose

Why Yes, Real Men Can Have Pretty Toenails

Real Men Can Have Pretty Toenails

My toenails have been pink for about a week now. Not just pink, but a girly, translucent glittery pink! And if that’s grounds for removal of my hypothetical man-card, please take it!

I didn’t do the painting, mind you. As you may know, I have three daughters, so they of course did the work in addition to selecting the color. I would have chosen something green and less glittery. I hate hate hate glitter – but that’s a whole different post and a different topic.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to start a new men’s fashion craze, nor do I even advocate men painting their nails – fingers or toes. I do advocate, however, men being true men and being a father if so blessed.

Real Men Engage with their Children

I have three daughters. No sons and I made peace with the reality that I would never father a son long ago. Truth be told, I had a pretty solid understanding that – in observing the way God ordered my life – I would more likely be the father of daughters rather than sons. And while I have no experience being a girl, I do know what it is like to be a child, to have a desire to have a relationship with my parents and I do know the certain value that comes with having someone guide my life. Those are the things I seek to bring to my daughters. Even if that means doing “silly” things like taking my girls to father-daughter dances. I do not – I repeat: DO NOT dance. Yet, I gladly make the exception for father-daughter dances. It also means going down the baby doll aisle instead of the Legos and action figure aisle (although I have gotten to do the latter with my youngest daughter who is more into super heroes than Strawberry Shortcake – God bless her!).

Real Men Value Others Over Vanity

Having daughters and being a real man also means allowing my daughters to paint my toenails on occasion. I don’t think we would have ever seen Archie Bunker or Ward Cleaver allowing someone to paint their nails (though it would be peculiar to see Wally and the Beaver painting their dad’s nails). But perhaps Danny Tanner might. Perhaps even Mike Baxter (Last Man Standing) would allow his daughter’s to color his piggies, though it would only be after about 28-minutes of him-hawing around about manly men don’t paint their nails and then doing a web video to explain his rationale and find a way to shamelessly plug Outdoor Man. He might even correctly observe – if it’s important to your daughters and it doesn’t physically harm you or others, why not create a great memory and a story they can one-day tell your grandchildren? Oh, and by the way, you know what else features great colors? Come on in and take a look at “our” all new pink camo clothing line! 🙂

Real Men Can Have Pretty Toenails

I’m not trying to start a men’s fashion trend or advocating men painting their nails. I do advocate, however, men being real men and fathers. Photo Credit: jjay69 via Compfight cc

Real Men Do Everything Out of Love

On father’s day, I was privileged to offer the father’s day message at my church. It was on the topic of biblical masculinity, centering on I Corinthians 16:13-14 – “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

I titled the message “Hold Us Together” because of verse 14. It reminds us that even when we have bad days, when we’re in bad moods, when we are not feeling well and even when we just don’t want to do it, we are to base our actions on love, and love, as Matt Maher says, holds us together.

Dads… engage with your children. Remember they are a gift from God and a blessing you must not neglect! Learn about them, their interests, their dreams, desires and know what’s going on in their lives. If – like me – you have daughters or even boys who would rather bake a cake in an easy Bake Oven than toss the football, remember that God crafted them and it’s not about you. I’ve worn my fair share of rubber-band bracelets, clip-on ear rings and dressed far more Barbie Dolls than I care to count. And even though it’s not my cup of tea, it’s how my children and I connect. And it’s done in love.

And yes, my toe nails are quite pretty.

And I’m keeping my man-card!

About Chad Gramling

Chad Gramling makes his home in Indiana with his wife and three daughters. He’s the founder and primary blogger at 1Glories, a vision cast onto his heart and detailed in Listen Up Kids: Foolish Dreams, Syncing with God & Running to Win.

  • Great stories Chad! I’m also a father to three girls, and am right there with you. My favorite is getting the bows added to the goatee 🙂 You are so right though. All of the dressing-up, rocking out at father-daughter dances–which now get extra crazy when they play, “Let it Go” from Frozen–nail-painting, and other activities are more than worth it. Real men love their families and build relationships with their daughters–even if it means getting silly and “girly” at times.

    “Remember they are a gift from God and a blessing you must not neglect!” This is such a great line–love it!

  • Thanks @jedjurchenko:disqus. Knowing that we have similar family dynamics, I figured this one would resonate with you.

  • Mark Daniels

    And that is the key. In themselves is a gift from God. Not to be quieted or stomped out, but to be reveled in all His glory. And I ain’t even a strong Christian but I believe in this to my very core.

  • Thanks so much for visiting and commenting, Mark.

  • “Value others over vanity.” That’s a keeper – for everyone.

  • Hey, Mark. I’m just seeing this post and its comments, including yours. You stated something here which you “believe to [your] very core,” but I wanted to be sure I got the truth of what you said. What is “the key” and “the gift” you spoke of?

  • Mark Daniels

    Hi Erik. I was responding to Jed’s comment about recognizing his children’s innate individuality and creative spark within them, and then by extension his own individuality. I believe this is the gift from God versus the way human belief tries to stomp that spark out of all of us in the name of conformity. The gift is what comes from our Creator as not one of us will EVER be 100% replicated again. The key is to recognize that and embrace it in yourself and others and celebrate it. Not try to kill it. You don’t have to like their facets of individuality but merely accept it for them and their life.

    Thanks for asking me to clarify Erik.

  • Mark Daniels

    One other point. If you don’t like what they do you don’t get to vocally criticize them. That is coming from your sense of ego and a basic view that you are possessing the knowledge of the only way to live. That you’ve figured out the Truth and they are obviously idiots. You’re really attempting to have them live your life and that’s completely self centered and that’s why that is wrong to shame them into conformity when it doesn’t really involve you at all. Thanks for asking me to clarify Erik.

  • Well said, Mark. I’m glad I asked, for my sake and for the sake of others who may read these comments in the future.

  • Hi Chad,
    You’ve reminded me what my wife often reminds me of–the unique and powerful influence a dad has on his children. While I “know” it, I often need to remember to use it for their good.

    I have two children. My daughter is 19, and I tend to assume because of her age, she doesn’t need me as much as she did when she was younger. But now she needs me in a different way than she did when she was 9. My son is 12, and he needs me in a different
    way than my daughter did at 12.

    I like how you’ve simplified the tasks here. Engaging, Valuing and Loving. My experience has been that these things don’t happen naturally, but when I work at them, I see the positive influence it has on my kids. Good stuff.

  • Thanks Jon. Appreciate your thoughts and comments. I often wonder how dynamics would be different on one of the three girls were a boy, but. Seems like a constant readjustment as they age though. I guess the key is to be consistently engaging, expressing value and being inefficient with love (all credit to Bob Goff for the latter).

  • Hey Chad,

    Another great addition. I follow a lot of masculinity and manliness things. I remember a group of guys I hung out with a few years ago debate the mani and pedi’s for men. I’ve frequented a few barber shops where men get the deluxe treatment. Don’t really have an issue with it. I don’t know if I would go as far as paint my toes, but I get why you did it and no issues here. My grandfather did the same thing when I was a kid with his granddaughters and I just thought he was silly but still held his masculine card. With three boys I don’t know if I’ll be painting anything soon but we are hoping for that girl one day so maybe I will join you in the ranks of painted toe nails one day. I can’t agree with you more, it is about relationships.

    I did a fathers call one evening at our church where we discuss the life of new dads and expectations. We always had a dad with kids in college who has some years of experience raising Christ centered kids discuss a particular topic for new dads to consider as we begin raising our children. One night the Chief of Staff of our church was the host and I asked him what was the one thing he would change or do differently over 20+ years of raising kids. He said he would play video games with his boys. He said he just wasn’t into it and he probably left some quality time on the table he could have spent with his boys because he just didn’t like playing them. He said his wife did but he always opted out.

    I took from this that even if it makes us feel uncomfortable or just isn’t our thing, it probably is our kids and that is a door of opportunity to go inside their world.

    Good Stuff
    – Kirby

  • Thanks for sharing that Kirby. I often wonder how my parenting would be different had I had boys… then I am thankful I never did. It helps curb the “you treat him differently than me” debate. I don’t think that would be true, but I would try to find ways to relate to each of my children regardless of gender.

  • Hey Chad!

    I’ve decided that I’m going to “hold it down” around your blog for all of the women out there. This site needs some more female comments – and by reading your articles I know that many women would love what you share. Yes, please do keep you Man Card – it’s well deserved! (And I bet your toes look better than mine!) :o)

    Keep enjoying those little girls,

  • Haha. Just as my mom was one who raised boys to men, my legacy to-be is as a father who raised girls into ladies and women. I can think of worse fates. 😉

  • John

    Just my two cents here. I’m a fairly masculine guy, I hunt, fish, fix cars, etc. My daughter paints my toes a few times a year. Doesn’t bother me one bit. She’s thirteen, and I’ll take any opportunity to have quiet time spent with her, as that gets harder and harder as the years go by. As an aside, my father spent 25 years in the Marines. He is one of the manliest guys I have ever known. When my sister was 7, she bought him a pink hello kitty tie for Father’s Day. He wore it to church off and on for months. I was helping him usher one Sunday, and I asked him about it. He said, “What you wear or how you look has absolutely nothing to do with being a man. It’s your thoughts, your actions, your faith, and how you serve the Lord.”
    And I believe that too

    Best wishes and God Bless.