As everyone who has ever seen a television commercial knows, one does not simply use a gendered product that's been assigned to the other gender. One must wait until a marketing team devises a gender-appropriate version, and then rush out and throw money at it. This is why we have steak houses for women and why we have brogurt, which is yogurt for men. Because of this age-old tradition, men have been waiting since the dawn of time to get manis and pedis — and now, finally, the prayers that they made by clasping together their gnarled and ungroomed cuticles have been answered.
Behold: Hammer & Nails, which is billed as a "nail shop for guys." Try to imagine, if you will, an oasis of masculinity. Per the Hammer & Nails website:
Imagine a haven where man’s most difficult decisions hinge on which channel to watch or what beverage to sip. The vibe is a luxurious one, one comprised of soft leather, dark wood, and steel. There is no fight for the remote, no lady gossip in your ear, and certainly no shortage of relaxation. This is Hammer & Nails and we put the “man” in manicure.
Hammer & Nails was dreamt up when the company's future CEO went to a nail salon. "He looked at the magazines, the pastel colors, and the television displaying babbling brooks and blossoming tulips." As noted philosopher Slavoj Zizek will tell you, a tulip is literally the exact same thing as a vagina. So, obviously, "he felt discomfort. He wanted nail treatment, but he also wanted to feel at home, content with his surroundings. He felt conflicted."
And thus was Hammer & Nails born. It's meant to "give men the treatments they love, sans the feminine details." Perusing the shop's photo gallery, it seems as though the interior design team said, "Okay, everyone, write down 5 things men love and we will compile a list and then go from there" and then every single person just wrote "Tools. Sports. Cars. Fine leather goods. That's it." It's billed as the "Ultimate man cave," which it just might be.
This is not to say that I think Hammer & Nails is a bad thing or a bad idea. I really like the concept of a nail salon for men — as a feminist, I support equal-opportunity spa treatments — plus, those fine leather chairs look extremely comfortable. I would go to Hammer & Nails all the time because it looks very luxurious in there. However, anxiously setting up rigid gender demarcations around certain things tends to do a lot to perpetuate certain sexist ideas. In this case, it's that women are trivial and vain and icky ("no lady gossip in your ear" is billed as a plus), whereas men are useful strong guys who deserve to be pampered.
"We invite you to sit back and enjoy the game on your personal flat screen television, while one of our lovely nail technicians rubs the knots, cramps, and calluses from your hardworking feet and hands," reads the homepage. Oh, okay, it's cool because your MANicure is just a representation of how tough you are. You got all those knots from holding onto hammers and footballs and stuff. Go Jets!
"Manicures for Men" [R29]
Image via Hammerandnails-salon.com.