Were manicures for men more typical in the past?

Did it used to be less–shall we say surprising–to hear of a man getting a manicure? Nowadays it seems to bring up notions of being metrosexual, yet from old books I’ve gotten the impression it used to be more common. If memory serves, Sinclair Lewis’ protagonist Babbitt considers having an affair with the manicure girl, whom he meets while having his nails done.

If a film version of Babbitt were to be made today, I can’t imagine that they’d have him getting a nail job.

FTR I have mine done. It looks way better than I could do myself, and I don’t have those snaggly edges on my nails. My wife got me to start doing it.

Incidentally, I do occasionally see other men at the manicurists, but the clientele is overwhelmingly female.

It was never “common” for a man to have a manicure, but it wasn’t unheard of. I can remember barber shops in the 1950s that offered haircuts, shaves, shoeshines, manicures and even pants-pressing-while-you-wait. (The manicurist wasn’t full time, she generally worked at a nearby beauty shop.)

The only reason I can remember for your typical middle-class guy to get a manicure, however, was if his nails were torn up by some sort of accident, and he needed a professional repair.

Not until Barbara Eden showed up. :stuck_out_tongue: