Big question: has it become socially acceptable for adolescent boys to grow their fingernails long like girls? Is this the latest fashion statement? It is becoming common to see boys who have long unpainted nails. Does my concern show me as an Old School woman suffering from Housewife Syndrome? But I do believe that the trend is not good for a society like ours.
At the other end of the spectrum are boys who wear loose long sleeve shirts without properly buttoning up. I just wonder whether I am the only one who has noticed these things. Or have parents, guardians and the general society become indifferent to these things? Perhaps, letting these happen is the way to allow peace reign between them and their wayward adolescents in the social media generation. Perhaps, the new practice of growing long fingernails or unbuttoned loose long sleeve shirts is the new way of expressing their attainment of adolescence.
Back in the days, when I was at St. Joseph’s Primary School, Ulakwo, Owerri North Local Government Area, Imo State, proper discipline was at the core of our training. The headmaster of the school was late Mr. Walter Nzewuji, and he he had able allies like late Mr. Michael Ekemgbafor, a dignified Primary 2 teacher. The fear of Ekemgbafor was the beginning of wisdom for the entire school including the out-going primary 6 pupils. Apart from his teaching prowess, his disciplinary measure was second to none. Teacher Eke was in-charge of neatness for pupils. His style of punishment, especially with his cane was not on the palm for girls or buttocks for the boys, No. His caning specialty was to make the strokes of the land perfectly on the ankle, back or wrist. Mondays were his days for torturing pupils. During the assembly on such mornings, the six-footer Ekemgbafor would come to the assembly ground in his navy blue turtle-collar French suit armed with his canes and held crossed behind his lower back. Being the strongest force at St. Joseph’s then, one would see pupils biting off uncut nails with the teeth on sighting him, to avoid his canes. Pupils with dirty rumpled school uniforms, dirty short or long finger and toe nails, yellow-coloured armpits of shirts, unkempt hair, dirty teeth with particles of food and unequal socks. Such pupils hid at the back because they knew the consequences, but they were never able to escape the eagle-eyed Ekemgbafor, would fish them out and give them due punishment. There were days he gave corporal punishment and at other times he would tell the pupil to kneel down.
The generation of my primary school age realised that long unkempt finger nails as dirty, dull and punishable. But, today, long dirty finger nails reign among the young generation. With the widespread incidence of this, I am still wondering why it is becoming acceptable.
Interestingly, keeping long nails has never been fashionable for the boys. It has always been a girl-thing. Everyone agrees that when the natural nails of girls are properly kept and maintained, they look undeniably beautiful. It is this state-of-the-art nail beauty that most ladies look for when they wear sizeable well-manicured acrylic nails.
Now, this piece was informed by a sight caught at a local branch of a new generation bank. On the day in question, I had gone to the bank to apply for replacement of my lost ATM (automated teller machine ) card, and was attended by a the young man who was uncomfortably picking on his computer keyboard with his thumb because his long nails became a major obstruction to work. It was with a lot of struggle that he worked on his computer while I watched him. At a point I could not bear it any longer, and the daughter-of-an-old-time teacher background was stirred up and I made myself an instant headmistress and queried him: ‘Please young man, what is the importance of the long nails for a young male banker like you?’ His response was a mischievous smile followed with ‘I am fine Ma’. I figured out that accepted fashion of the young mind is the reason one is seeing long nails among the boys nowadays.
To tell how pervasive the long-nails-among-the-boys syndrome has become, I have traversed the schools within my environment to know the extent of the preparations to welcome back their various students, since the Lagos State government announced the resumption of schools. Take for instance, handsome young Adeola, a Biology teacher, who was on hand to receive me while waiting for the principal. As he stretched his hand to beckon a student, I saw that his nails were unnecessarily long for a teacher, a supposed role model of good character and conduct to students. The principal, a witty woman walked in and noticed his nails and held them. She urged him to remove them immediately given that they are operating within an academic environment. Unfortunately, seeming tolerance of young men having very long and apparently manicured nails has made it acceptable. What positive impact would a male teacher with long nails make his male students?
Again, on a different day, some colleagues and myself stopped over at a gas station to fill up which savouring the fun we had at the wedding reception we attended in Ajao Estate area of Lagos. In gaiety of the moment and laughing about the dancing skill of the young couple and their friends, my eyes caught a glimpse of the five long claws of the gas attendant as he gripped the nozzle; it was not funny at all. The five nails on his fingers were almost like the acrylic type that ladies fix on top of their nails. It was not a palatable sight at all.
Another sister who is of the same school of thought once screamed at her as soon as he got back home from the private university where he is an undergraduate. The mother jokingly said, “Oga, if you do not want us to quarrel, as you are settling down, kindly remove all those long nails on your fingers please.”
Now, does it mean that the older generation who did not accommodate such are lesser beings? Does it mean that the present generation are more enlightened, educated and accomplished? Must whatever they introduce in life be granted by parents, authorities and institutions? Even though no one would line up these young adults on the assembly ground to inspect their finger nails, but what they were they taught during the primary school days and at home before they grew to adolescent age ought to have kept them grounded and properly guided.
It is simply unimaginable, dirty and a show of poor hygiene sense for a young man to have long nails like a girl. It is effeminate and clearly condemned by the bible. Some misguided youths have for long believed that long finger nails is associated with being upper class, an indicator of wealth and elegance for the men. If it was an acceptable norm, the boys would have started painting their nails to be like that of the woman.
Dear young adults, I have never seen any contest to determine who keeps the longest nail and the price won accordingly. Bear in mind that you are addressed that way you are dressed. It is not a plus for a young man to have long nails, rather is a huge minus.