The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-03-2005, 09:27 PM
Johnny Ecks Johnny Ecks is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
How long should a man's fingernails be?

I've been told several times that my fingernails are too long. I don't think they are- opinions on socially acceptable length for a man's fingernails, please.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 06-03-2005, 09:37 PM
treis treis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Short. There really shouldn't be a lot of the white part of the nail. Cut that off when its easily done so.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-03-2005, 10:15 PM
Mr2001 Mr2001 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
I'd say the white part should be 1 mm or less.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-03-2005, 10:54 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Clearly, they should be the optimal length to maximize the efficiency of the ass-scratching protocol.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-03-2005, 11:27 PM
Tom Carroll Tom Carroll is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2005
They should be long as you wish them to be. Let no one victimize you like that unless you enjoy being such a victim. Think for yourself.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-03-2005, 11:30 PM
Mr2001 Mr2001 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Carroll
They should be long as you wish them to be. Let no one victimize you like that unless you enjoy being such a victim. Think for yourself.
Sadly, the only way to follow this advice is to ignore it.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-03-2005, 11:45 PM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
Posts: 16,315
I dunno about any other man's fingernails, but I like to keep mine about half a centimeter shorter than the finger itself. (Any shorter than that and it bleeds too much when I bite it).
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-04-2005, 12:16 AM
qubed qubed is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr2001
Sadly, the only way to follow this advice is to ignore it.

But then if you ignore it, aren't you really following it?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-04-2005, 01:05 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Springfield, IL
Posts: 18,452
When I was a young'un taking piano lessons, my piano teacher insisted I keep my fingernails short. It's been quite awhile since I played the piano, but I still feel uncomfortable when my fingernails get more than a little long.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-04-2005, 01:06 AM
samclem samclem is offline
graphite is a great moderator
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 21,952
You're looking for opinions. GQ is for questions which have at least a hope of a factual answer.

Moved by

samclem GQ moderator
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-04-2005, 01:10 AM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 10,565
Short. That's what Sister Marie Bernard always said. When I was in primary school we were required to line up in front of the teacher each morning so that she could inspect our fingernails and see that they were clean and short.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-04-2005, 01:13 AM
ParentalAdvisory ParentalAdvisory is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
There is no standard on this. Go what with you're comfortable with.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-04-2005, 02:27 AM
Phnord Prephect Phnord Prephect is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Short, with two exceptions:

One thumbnail, and one pinky nail, on alternate hands, should be left a bit longer than all others.

The thumbnail is for those things manly men do which are made easier with a thumbnail as a handy (pun intended) cutting or prying tool... opening packages, for example.

The pinky nail is for digging earwax out of your ears.

What? Come on, you do it too!
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-04-2005, 06:46 AM
Bites When Provoked Bites When Provoked is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Long enough for you to be able to give really nice back-scratching to your Significant Other.

As far as a more readily measurable length goes, thouhg, at least to the tips of your fingers. (Says she of the incredibly badly bitten nails, whose hands are ugly. Perhaps hypocritically, I love beautiful hands with strong, healthy nails on a man.)
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-04-2005, 07:41 AM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Dogpatch/Middle TN.
Posts: 28,815
Quote:
How long should a man's fingernails be?
Long enough to reach the ground.
Or is that legs?
I always get those parts mixed up....
__________________
Weltschmerz
~~~Literally "world pain" in German, the term describes the pain idealists feel upon realizing that the world does not live up to their expectations of what it should be.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06-04-2005, 08:19 AM
flodnak flodnak is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: outside Oslo, Norway
Posts: 4,768
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink
When I was a young'un taking piano lessons, my piano teacher insisted I keep my fingernails short. It's been quite awhile since I played the piano, but I still feel uncomfortable when my fingernails get more than a little long.
And I have heard guitar players argue about whether nails should be grown just a bit past the tips of the fingers on the playing hand ("nature's own picks") or cut very short on both hands because they just get in the way. I suspect it all comes down to your personal playing style there. (Fella bilong missus flodnak plays guitar, I don't.)

I'm used to seeing men with short nails, so that's what I generally prefer, but as far as I'm concerned the only rule, and it goes for both sexes, is to keep 'em clean.
__________________
An American flodnak in Oslo.
Do not open cover; no user serviceable parts inside.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06-04-2005, 08:49 AM
QuickSilver QuickSilver is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
...and for og's sake, clip those nasty yellow toe nails too!
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06-04-2005, 10:29 AM
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater Dr. Kenneth Noisewater is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by flodnak
And I have heard guitar players argue about whether nails should be grown just a bit past the tips of the fingers on the playing hand ("nature's own picks") or cut very short on both hands because they just get in the way.
They get in the way on the left hand (fretting hand). Having them on the picking hand (for fingerstyle) is neat but not incredibly useful.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 06-04-2005, 10:49 AM
Nawth Chucka Nawth Chucka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
My preference for men's hands is for the nails to be no longer than the tip of the finger. That way he can still open things for me and scratch my back but his hands don't look more feminine than mine! Though it's a good idea for you to get a manicure every so often for the health of your nails.
On a side note, a tip for guys; at the beginning of warm weather season wherever you live, do us all a favor and go get a pedicure. It won't run you more than 20 bucks typically, 'cause you're not getting them painted and it will help your toenails to grow more healthily; they won't ingrow, they'll be shaped not to catch on things or split, etc. Everyone should get a pedicure once in awhile but I know men need a little push moreso than women.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 06-04-2005, 11:06 AM
Strinka Strinka is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: My own little world
Posts: 1,692
I personally like to keep my fingernails long (about a quarter of an inch), but everyone else says I should cut them.
__________________
"I know you won't believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others." -Socrates
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 06-04-2005, 11:22 AM
GingerOfTheNorth GingerOfTheNorth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2001
Short is my personal preference. Long nails on guys skeeves me out, for some reason.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 06-04-2005, 01:19 PM
Sofis Sofis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
I find that for that white part to be about one centimeter is ideal. Longer than that, and the chance of breakage increases quite rapidly (and then you have a short, uneven, ugly nail instead). Shorter, and you can't use it properly for all the little practical things that come in handy, like picking up hot things.

There are some people who will react negatively to me because of them, of course, but I suspect these are mainly people I wouldn't really want to hang out with anyway. And there are other people who compliment me on them (sometimes with envy ).
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 06-04-2005, 02:22 PM
Lisa-go-Blind Lisa-go-Blind is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
The white shouldn't go beyond the tip of the finger. Longer than that and you start to look Howard Hughesian (the later, crazy Hughes, of course).
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 06-04-2005, 03:18 PM
Geobabe Geobabe is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingerOfTheNorth
Short is my personal preference. Long nails on guys skeeves me out, for some reason.
Same here. As a guess, I'd say that longer than about 1mm is too long for me.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 06-04-2005, 03:49 PM
sleestak sleestak is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Guitarist checking in. On my left hand I keep all the nails just a tad shorter than the tip of my fingers. On the right all of the nails except the pinkie are just a little longer than my fingers. The pinkie nail is kinda long, but I use it alot for strumming.

Slee
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 06-04-2005, 03:52 PM
Savannah Savannah is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingerOfTheNorth
Short is my personal preference. Long nails on guys skeeves me out, for some reason.
Ditto.

And CLEAN. They should be clean.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 06-04-2005, 06:45 PM
GingerOfTheNorth GingerOfTheNorth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2001
Gods, yes. They gotta be clean.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 06-04-2005, 07:12 PM
Podkayne Podkayne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Short is best. If they're going to be long, they should be broad and blunt. I know a guy who wears his fingernails long and shaped and tapered, and it's just too damn girly. It's very unattractive to me.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 06-04-2005, 07:23 PM
ivylass ivylass is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Trimmed. Not bitten, but trimmed.

Quote:
The pinky nail is for digging earwax out of your ears.

What? Come on, you do it too!
That's precisely the reason my father keeps his pinkie nails long. He has such a sly sense of humor. He likes to paint, and once he painted a picture of a woman sitting up in bed with a transparent shirt on. When asked by one of his friends, "How'd you get her to pose for that?" he replied

SPOILER:
I told her to put her shirt on.


I love my dad. Hijack over.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 06-04-2005, 08:37 PM
minor7flat5 minor7flat5 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Trenton, NJ
Posts: 3,654
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Kenneth Noisewater
They get in the way on the left hand (fretting hand). Having them on the picking hand (for fingerstyle) is neat but not incredibly useful.
I wish I could grow decent nails on my right hand. They may be no good for most popular styles, but they are absolutely essential for playing classical guitar. My own guitar playing lacks a certain bit of snap because I don't have any nails whatsoever; stuff like Bach or Villa-Lobos doesn't sound right without a bit of nail.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 06-04-2005, 09:07 PM
Magiver Magiver is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr2001
Sadly, the only way to follow this advice is to ignore it.
That was laugh-out-loud funny. A good ending to a bad week at work.

I would say 1-2 mm and the reasoning is that you don't want to dig into another man's hand when shaking hands.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 06-04-2005, 09:25 PM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Who cares? Just keep them as long as you want! But CLEAN! Toenails should be clean, too.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 06-04-2005, 10:09 PM
fishbicycle fishbicycle is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
As a pianist, I keep mine short enough that when I hit the keys, I never, ever hear the sound of nail hitting ivory. And as a guitarist, I keep them short enough that on my left hand, the nails never touch the fretboard, in other words, I get full finger contact. I don't pick with my nails...wait, do I? No, I don't think so. But it would look very strange to have nails on one hand longer than on the other. So, relatively short, and above all, clean.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 06-05-2005, 02:07 AM
Max the Immortal Max the Immortal is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
I keep mine very short; the white part is never more than a millimeter. They're easier to keep clean that way, and I can do all sort of nifty things when giving a massage without worrying about nicking the recipient.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 06-05-2005, 04:58 PM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
Posts: 16,315
What is this "white" of which you speak?
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 06-05-2005, 06:14 PM
beckwall beckwall is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Another vote for trimmed and short. And clean. If you're going to keep them on the long side, then get a good nail brush and clean those babies every single day.

Ewwww. Yellow jagged edged toenails. I won't sleep tonight.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 06-05-2005, 06:27 PM
Nawth Chucka Nawth Chucka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by beckwall
Ewwww. Yellow jagged edged toenails. I won't sleep tonight.
Even worse is when it catches the sheet as you get into bed...like nails across a blackboard!
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 06-06-2005, 08:19 AM
enipla enipla is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Colorado Rockies.
Posts: 8,518
Iíve never seen a man with long fingernails. More than a mm at least. Mine never get longer than that. I couldnít even if I tried.

Iím a programmer, but I do enough manly man ô type stuff that they stay short pretty naturally, anything longer than about 1 mm, and Iím sure to catch it on something and rip it off.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 06-06-2005, 08:44 AM
Amazon Floozy Goddess Amazon Floozy Goddess is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
For some reason long nails on guys FREAK ME OUT. There's something about the marked contrast between masculine hands and feminine nails that's just....ugh. Creepy.
Sometimes my husband gets a little lazy in cutting his, and when they start to ever come close to his fingertips, I clip them myself while he sleeps. I won't stand for long nails on no guy o' mine.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 06-06-2005, 09:32 AM
auntie em auntie em is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Land of Oz
Posts: 2,742
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phnord Prephect
The pinky nail is for digging earwax out of your ears.

What? Come on, you do it too!
My dad kept his long pinky nail (and I quote) "to get boogers".

So really, it's a multi-function tool.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 06-06-2005, 12:13 PM
BobLibDem BobLibDem is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3
Ick! I hate fingernails where there ain't no white.

Perfect nail length has white of 1-2 mm. I never use clippers, just bite one end and peel with the other hand.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 06-06-2005, 12:19 PM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
Posts: 16,315
Naah, perfect nail length is 1-2 mm.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 06-06-2005, 04:06 PM
Mr2001 Mr2001 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
If the skin at the tip of your finger ever rises above the surface of the nail itself, the nail is too short. I can't understand how people can trim or bite their nails that short.. it hurts if I cut mine much shorter than they are now.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 06-07-2005, 12:19 AM
betenoir betenoir is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: 3000 miles from home
Posts: 6,209
Long enough that he can scratch your back.

But not so long that....well, has anyone seen Last Tango in Paris?
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 06-07-2005, 03:22 AM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
Posts: 16,315
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr2001
If the skin at the tip of your finger ever rises above the surface of the nail itself, the nail is too short. I can't understand how people can trim or bite their nails that short.. it hurts if I cut mine much shorter than they are now.
I can flip my hands upside down and type with the top sides with plenty of skin so that the nails need never touch down.

I've made progress over the years. The nailbeds have been in retreat for decades now. I will prevail! Soon they will be gone, done and over with! Nothing but consistently smooth skin wrapping back around and blending in borderlessly with the skin below the knuckles.

When you make new incursions, it only hurts for a day or two, and if you just squeeze where it bleeds with a tightly wound paper towel it stops and sometimes you can even pull another strip at that point, it doesn't really get much worse to continue with it.
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 06-07-2005, 12:54 PM
Jpeg Jones Jpeg Jones is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Viola player here.

Short, short, short, almost nonexistant. All the time.

I cut my nails about twice a week.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 06-07-2005, 01:17 PM
Man With a Cat Man With a Cat is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: where you least expect me
Posts: 7,496
I'd say that just about as short as you can get them by nibbling them off without chewing off the ends of your fingers and ripping out a cuticle.

Yes dammit, I was kidding.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 06-07-2005, 05:21 PM
DeVena DeVena is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
I don't care how long a man keeps his nails. My dad's nails have always been long. I've never really paid attention to guy's nails as a whole.

But DeHusband must keep his nails short. Short enough for intimate contact. Or else he doesn't get intimate contact. One scratch and the mood is gone, buddy!
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 06-07-2005, 06:52 PM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Checking in for: long nails on men skeeves me out.

First, it's apparent that I'm a child of the 80s because when I read (hear/see) "long pinky nail" I think, "coke finger" as in, needing one long fingernail to scoop cocaine out of the little stash bottle. I assume all men with one long pinky fingernail are cokeheads, I'm sorry. I had no idea there was another use.

Second, I prefer the nails to be really short and clean. I don't need a back scratch. And I don't need an at-home speculum-free pap smear either. I think about where a man might put those hands and : shudder : That's it.

I'm skeeved out.


Lesson for ya boys: clean and trim those nails if you want to get lucky.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 06-07-2005, 08:48 PM
LurkMeister LurkMeister is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Nothing worse than discovering a hangnail at the wrong moment.

And not being able to find the nailclippers you could have sworn were in your travel kit.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:18 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.