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Are long fingernails on men stylish or symbolic of something?

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Are long fingernails on men stylish or symbolic of something?

Postby chalouie » 20 Apr 2016, 14:46

I've always noticed some men in Taiwan (and I guess in other Asian countries also) like to grow their fingernails long, and have dismissed it because I didn't know many of these guys. Perhaps they were guitar players or something. Lately this boy I've been tutoring since he was quite young has started growing his nails out. He doesn't play the guitar or need long nails for any particular reason, but perhaps this is what he sees his junior high classmates doing. Is this a style? It's not just his pinky either–he's growing them all out. Looked elsewhere online, and couldn't get very good answers. Damn curious though.
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Re: Are long fingernails on men stylish or symbolic of something?

Postby teggs » 20 Apr 2016, 15:32

Some of them use the long nails (especially little finger) to clean gunk out of their ears. Asians have different earwax to Caucasians. Theirs is drier and needs to be cleaned out.
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Re: Are long fingernails on men stylish or symbolic of something?

Postby hannes » 20 Apr 2016, 15:48

Often it's only the pinky nail. Like mole hair I find it rather repulsive.

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Re: Are long fingernails on men stylish or symbolic of something?

Postby chalouie » 20 Apr 2016, 19:55

Wow Teggs. I never realized Asian earwax was drier. Longer, curved nails would be quite useful for scraping annoying stuff out of there. I did just find this rather useful and humorous video about ear wax differences on Youtube if you're interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL-2IOxIajo
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Re: Are long fingernails on men stylish or symbolic of something?

Postby Dragonbones » 20 Apr 2016, 23:08

Interesting question, chalouie. Guitar players in general don't need longer fingernails; generally only we classical guitar players prefer those, but that is identifiable by the slightly longer nails on the right hand, and very short ones on the left, as white fingernails on the left (assuming the guitar is not oppositely strung for a lefty) interfere with fretting. Also, "long" is generally quite limited in this case, to a few (.5 to 3) millimeters of white, as opposed to no white, with slight variations between fingers. A few players will go slightly longer and reinforce them with layer upon layer of polish, sometimes yellowing with time; they may have very veiny, sinewy hands.

More often you are likely seeing a long pinkie nail for picking ears, or long nails in general as some kind of local metrosexualism or something else. Other clues such as whether they have snakeskin shoes and bouffant hairdo's or a betel nut habit may help in your vital quest to identify the source of this idiosyncrasy.
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Re: Are long fingernails on men stylish or symbolic of something?

Postby kaikai34 » 21 Apr 2016, 09:07

I've heard that if a guy's pinky is shorter than the first crease? on the ring finger, then he'll get dominated by his wife. That's why guys grow the pinky nail. That and to pick their nose and ears.

*edit: upper most joint?
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Re: Are long fingernails on men stylish or symbolic of something?

Postby chalouie » 21 Apr 2016, 13:18

Good information Dragonbones. Thanks. Hadn't thought of the metrosexualism, but do recall some press about more and more men getting manicures. Perhaps that could be it, but it does seem to be predominately older, more traditional-type males not fitting any other particular category. But that's just from my limited perspective. I don't get out much either.

Kaikai, that's wild! Where did you hear that? If it's a local superstition, that's unbelievably interesting. Thanks for the info!
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Re: Are long fingernails on men stylish or symbolic of something?

Postby Charlie Phillips » 21 Apr 2016, 23:30

It's just specific cultural example of foppish priggery. Long nails on men in Chinese culture designated the wearer as a non-laborer. In fact, if you had really, really long nails, it meant that you could feed yourself without picking up chopsticks: just like mamma's little baby. A retinue of slaves would surround you to bathe and feed you.

Western prigs displayed the same behavior in other ways, such as wearing powdered wigs and such.
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Re: Are long fingernails on men stylish or symbolic of something?

Postby chalouie » 22 Apr 2016, 06:46

That's good stuff Charlie, and it makes total sense. I'm at peace with my question now. Thanks!
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Re: Are long fingernails on men stylish or symbolic of something?

Postby kaikai34 » 26 Apr 2016, 00:06

chalouie wrote:Good information Dragonbones. Thanks. Hadn't thought of the metrosexualism, but do recall some press about more and more men getting manicures. Perhaps that could be it, but it does seem to be predominately older, more traditional-type males not fitting any other particular category. But that's just from my limited perspective. I don't get out much either.

Kaikai, that's wild! Where did you hear that? If it's a local superstition, that's unbelievably interesting. Thanks for the info!


I asked my one of my uncles here and that's what he told me.
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