Black Gay Man Shares Homophobic Experience in Nail Salon

Discussion in 'LGBT News and Events' started by OckyDub, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. OckyDub

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    I love everything about manicures: the soaking of my nails, the clipping of my stressed-out cuticles, the massaging of my hands, the polishing and drying—and the lotion that people can never seem to find anywhere else.

    The nail salon has been my home away from home since my undergraduate years in northeastern Ohio. It provided me with the space to live and thrive in ways that I knew the neighborhood barbershop couldn’t because it was far too homophobic, sexist and hypermasculine. Sadly, over the years I have realized that the nail salon, too, has become—and likely always has been—probably one of the most toxic places for black gay men.

    I don’t speak on the toxicity of the nail salon as an exaggeration or as a mere observer but, rather, as someone who goes multiple times a year—once every two weeks, after each paycheck, in fact—to keep my gel coat poppin’ and to make sure my eyebrows continue to slay to the high heavens. I take grooming seriously, especially when it comes to these two features, because that’s how I choose to present myself to the world. Still, going to the nail salon has become exhausting. What was once a place of solace has become as oppressive as that neighborhood barbershop—a place where I spend more time defending myself and my reason for being than I do actually enjoying quality time with myself.

    Last week, as I walked into one of the many nail salons in Washington, D.C., I realized that, like before, I was one of few men. This was not uncommon. Immediately, heads turned as if a celebrity (hint: I’m not) had entered. My initial thought process was, “Maybe they are jealous of the thickness of my eyebrows.” They stared for so long, though, that it became uncomfortable and I began to feel unsafe. I realized fairly quickly that these were not jealous glares; instead, each side eye screamed, “Why is he in here?” I recognize the importance of communities needing space, so I attempted to ignore the silent intimidation directed toward me and sat at the nearest open station.

    But the whispers and literal finger-pointing continued.

    I was almost halfway through my manicure when the manicurist demanded that I cut my nails and leave them buff- and polish-free. Quickly, I informed her that I wanted my nails filed, not cut, and that I would like gel polish as I have had many times before. Her response: “Men shouldn’t get gel on their nails.”

    As people in my proximity began to laugh at me wanting gel polish, even boldly calling it “weird,” I decided to use this as an opportunity to discuss gender norms, masculinity, queerness—and why I would never be back again. But it didn’t escape me—even after I walked out with a free manicure—that it would happen again. These experiences are inescapable in a homophobic society with gender norms so rigid, they’re “straight.”

    Last year, when #CareFreeBlackBoy took the world by storm, young black men like Jaden Smith were dismantling one-dimensional gender stereotypes and expectations. Much of the feedback was positive, but a disturbing truth was also revealed: To not be ostracized, black men had to “act like men” no matter how limiting or inauthentic it was. For me, or so I was told, part of “acting like a man” was not to arch my eyebrows and paint my nails. This is just one example of how gender stereotypes and patriarchy largely hurt everyone—those who attempt to encourage them as a social good and those who nearly kill themselves to ensure that they are staying neatly within gender binaries.

    This I know to be sure: Social construction is dangerous and teaches us that men must prove that we are men—especially black gay men who are always told that they aren’t “man enough.”

    As for the manicurist last week? She believed that she was right to warn me that “men don’t get polish.” She and the onlookers were shocked not only to find out that every last one of them was wrong but also to discover that this man (in all of his black gay glory) has eyebrows that even Anastasia’s kit can’t produce.

    Toxic masculinity kills—and to paraphrase Jesse Williams’ powerful words about the resilient beauty of black folks, just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m not real. If we really want everyone to be free, then we must loosen up the choke hold of bigoted expectations that are burying that freedom alive. Then, and only then, will black liberation be possible.

    Preston Mitchum is a Washington, D.C.-based essayist, activist and policy nerd. He has written for The Atlantic, Ebony.com, Huffington Post, ThinkProgress, Hello Beautiful and The Grio. Follow him onTwitter to see just how much he appreciates intersectionality.

    Be a ‘Real’ Man: Black Gay Man Shares Homophobic Experience in Nail Salon
     
  2. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub I gave the Loc'ness monstah about $3.50
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    According to his website Preston Mitchum describes himself as a Black Queer Feminist.

    I'm starting to think that Black Queer Feminists are mentally delusional. Specifically the Black gay/queer male feminists who are being continuously taught how to be better women....seriously.

    This dude went into a nail salon full of women. Got uncomfortable stares, rude service, and bigoted cackles; ALL FROM WOMEN, then goes onto blame the poor behaviors of and by these women on TOXIC MASCULINITY AND PATRIARCHY.

    Even when bashed by women, feminists still can't resist blaming men for their problems.

    What kind of fresh hell is this? No really? This sh!t is caked on in layers all across the gay spaces online.
     
  3. Winston Smith

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    In fairness, I've known all kinds of straight dudes who've gotten their nails done (manicures). When I was in college, I knew several brothers in the NOI who got their nails done regularly because their leader Farrakhan was getting his done regularly lol. Also some straight black and Caucasian business and media types I've run across. Not sure where straight dudes get pedicures on the regular, as I'm just a cut em and clean em myself guy. I think there are some unisex pedi- and manicure places anyone can go to. That's probably where he needs to go to avoid drama...unless, to your point, he secretly craves the drama and hate so as to be a "victim."

    He is cute, though...sorry, got distracted by those eyebrows...and those DSLs; open wide, bae...um, er, damn queer feminists!! Lol

    Seriously, if queer feminist dudes are going to misappropriate the phrase "toxic masculinity," we need to come up with a new one...
     
    #3 Winston Smith, Sep 8, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
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  4. Dante

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    When I heard the statements "gel coat poppin" and "slay to the high heavens" in the article, I knew where this was going.
    I can only assume that with him being around "the other girls" as usual, he did not expect an unwelcomed invitation.
    If the pic is this dude, did he not think the arched eyebrow was a dead giveaway? I am sure he left out some other stereotypical features and/or gestures that gave clear confirmation.

    "I am one of the girls...How dare you shade me?...You tried it!"

    I am so not here for him turning this story into a "discrimination" case. He just was in shock that as a non-masculine male, it is required that in the womenz territory "Thou Shalt Not Slay Block" and "Let Thou Nails Slay Bitch". Case dismissed. The concurrent gay stereotypes have contributed to a LOTTTT more social problems than sister girl's day being ruined bc of being "Slay Blocked".
     
    #4 Dante, Sep 8, 2016
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  5. ControlledXaos

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    Yeah. Here should have gone to the Korean shop. Lol

    He is just salty he wasn't accepted by the coven. Surprise!
     
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  6. Winston Smith

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    Yeah it was as typical modern journalism: "ME ME ME ME ME ME ME social issue thrown in ME ME ME ME ME ME" lol
     
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  7. alton

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    I've toyed with the idea of hittin' up a shop to get a Manicure in the past, but always decide against it because #1 my nails stay mad short anyways, and #2 everyone always thinks I have a manicure already because my sh!ts are naturally shiny and my cuticles are mad nice so why waste the money. Anyways, on to Homegirl...I felt guilty early on in the article because I defaulted to 'Gay Voice" while reading it, but found I was quickly justified when this cat was talkin' bout his eyebrows and shit. And you REALLY wonder why them chicks was side eyein' you???? I'm sure he walked up in the salon all "Sassy & Slayin' Byyyytch" and muhf@#kaz don't like that shit, ESPECIALLY Black Women. If you ain't already their "Accessory" then you gonna get side eyed and talked about. Im startin' to get tired of all the bitchin' and complainin' about muhf@#kaz not being accepted, and gender neutrality and non-gender conformity and "they shaded me down ta tha barbershop cause I'm fem", and "The Judge said I was a woman, it's on paper" and the "I don' won't no mans lookin' like no wowman in MY bathroom, no JESUS" and the Male Feminists who, like @Ockydub mention, blame all they problems on 'toxic' masculinity. It's all just f%kin exhausting already.
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub I gave the Loc'ness monstah about $3.50
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    Not sure if I can go along with the tone that I'm reading so far in the responses here. Maybe I'm not receiving them as they are intended.

    I feel dude can act like and be as fem and sassy as he wants to be. If the other patrons were not feeling his theatrics, mannerisms, etc. that's cool...its a free country. However his poor treatment by the business is a no no; regardless of how fem or flamboyant he is.

    My issues is:
    Yes I do feel he felt some type of way because his audience (the women in the nail salon) were not accepting of him, but to then blame it on toxic masculinity and patriarchy is the default go to response when feminists feel they have been victimized even if it is by other women. Instead of holding women accountable they shift to focused on men as if not to break some feminist code.

    Dude was a victim of bigoted poor customer service...not of toxic masculinity.
     
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  9. ColumbusGuy

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    :ravetho:
    Damn just mention your eyebrows are on fleek once and just leave it.

    It is a damn salon, not a temple.
    This is bullshit and is a disservice to people who really are in unsafe spaces. This is not about not getting your way and needed your 'safe space'-this should be about people in physical danger. I hate this.

    yep I can just imagine that. 'Informed meaning 'read'
    'I decided to drag those bytches to filth...."

    ...but he was the only man....er 'man' there lol. This sounds more like someone entitled and with a chip on their shoulder coming in with attitude and then getting surprised that he actually got attitude back. Just from what he said and the way he said it you can just feel the haughty superiority and disdain coming from him.

    He discusses and informs....they stare, silently intimidate, whisper, fingerpoint, demand, laugh, and warn. Yeah I somehow don't think it went down like this. More likely they stared a bit and might have been a bit rude, he caught an attitude, escalated things, lectured them, and threw a fit to get it all for free, and then left in all his 'carefree' glory feeling that he won a battle. Carefree is not an excuse to be an asshole, and his whole post reeks of assholism, not of legitimate discrimination. And if he was discriminated against, I bet he initiated with attitude, and almost certainly escalated it. His writing in and of itself, how he describes things, leads me to believe this.

    If you are openly gay(and perceived as gay) and go into random establishments, sometimes you will not get a good reception. There are not federal discrimination laws that protect us as gays whether masc, femme or inbetween. Even if there were, this will still happen(just done in a way that it is almost impossible to prove). So unless you can prove it, move on to another salon, and let people know not to do business there. I am sure he did not educate them or change their minds, he just made them have a little more antipathy towards gays(if they really had that much to begin with). I just strongly suspect he brought alot of this on himself. I would have left at the first discrimination and of feeling not wanted there. It is not illegal for them to do that, so why give them your time and effort?
     
    #9 ColumbusGuy, Sep 8, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
  10. ControlledXaos

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    Well I would think the nail tech should have been used to male clientele though? That's a field filled with gay men. I don't think she should have disrespected him but my comment was more towards the other patrons' behavior.

    I just think that fem gay men need to be aware that every chick they are skinning and grinning in the face of isn't their friend. Just cause you are their stylist, shopper buddy, and gossip columnist doesn’t mean they won't throw you under the bus when they get all holier that thou.

    I also don't think it has anything to do masculinity. I don't think that barbershops are hypermasculine. They are just "plain" masculine. I don't think that the salon is hyperfeminine either.

    People need to stop overusing the word "hypermasculine" because it's not applicable every time someone gets butthurt over something a dude did.
     
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  11. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub I gave the Loc'ness monstah about $3.50
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    Yeah you broke that sh!t down...
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. OckyDub

    OckyDub is a Verified MemberOckyDub I gave the Loc'ness monstah about $3.50
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  13. alton

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    I cant speak on the other commentary, but me personally, I totally get your point. And you're right, dude shouldn't have been treated the way he was, but....he was and we all know why. Doesn't make it right, but it's an unfortunate reality.
     
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  14. ColumbusGuy

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    I bet he did face some rude service and maybe some homophobia was expressed, but the worst he could quote was about someone saying 'men shouldn't get gel on their nails'(and who knows how this was said) and some laughing people saying it was weird. That does not sound like some horrific experience and if they said worse you know he would have mentioned that in detail more times than he did his own on-fleek eyebrows. I really like how he glossed over just how he got the 'free' manicure...did they just offer it?-did he ask for it? how? -interesting not only what was said and how it was said, but what was left unsaid.

    *even with the arched eyebrows he is a cute guy I will admit(just looking at the pic)

    *LOL @Rico is it sad that I did not even have to think and immediately knew what DSL's was even before the 'open wide' part lol?

    * I would not be surprised if you talked to him and he corrected you with 'it is pronounced Press-tone! *eyeroll*'
     
    #14 ColumbusGuy, Sep 8, 2016
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  15. alton

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    Yeah, I'm sure the free manicure was offered after a {albeit subdued} blitzkrieg of reads from the author. They most likely just wanted him out of there. Again, it's f#$ked up to make these kinds of assumptions but majority of us know what "Messy Queen" actions are, and those actions are associated with effeminate men, and homey is {obviously} an effeminate man. A+B*C = D
     
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  16. ColumbusGuy

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    preston.jpg

    So this is another pic of Preston(on the right of course) from 2011. Now how long did he 'work' on that first pic??? Not that he is bad looking or anything...just how he apparently wants us to see exactly and only what he wants us to see-just like in his article. And most of his pics I saw look closer to this. Although the eyebrows are, admittedly, more on-fleek with most of his pics. Maybe the first pic is a Jack'd or Grindr pic?

    Not going to say another thing if he finds this he might sue me (being an attorney and all lol). He might 'come for us' and all.

    *The purpose of this post is to show that 'selective presentation' is apparently a theme here and not just confined to his writing.

    -and that article was shockingly poorly written and filled with emotional drivel rather than logic-surprising for an attorney of his apparent stature. But then again, I guess attorneys are used to using language to sway and distort to get a desired result rather than just explaining an incident factually and logically in an unbiased way.
     
    #16 ColumbusGuy, Sep 8, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
  17. Winston Smith

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    You sure that's the same dude?
     
  18. ColumbusGuy

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  19. Winston Smith

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    Between him and Gwen Ifill, I'm thinking there's hope for me in makeover land lol
     
  20. mojoreece

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    I've only been to a nail shop once to get a pedicure. It was actually a great experience and I should been getting my nails done. And the foot rub felt good too lol. I only got a simple pedi with clear protective nail polish and a buff though.

    If Mr. Preston wanted to get gel and the works done on his nails, I don't see why they wouldn't just give him what he wants. I mean as a business he would be paying more for the gel and stuff any way than a simple nail buff. The issue prob was the nail tech wasn't use to or comfortable giving typical feminine nail work to a male. Which is the businesses money loss.

    In today's time, Ppl are use to men doing mainspring work. There are even spas and salons just for men but if a man wants cartoon painted eyebrows and shanaynay attached nails that's something else. Maybe they should hire a private nail tech.
     
  21. ColumbusGuy

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    *neckroll, imaginary hair toss, swivel with hand on hip and other hand raised with index finger pointing toward you* :

    If we meet up round Xmas time I want those arched eyebrows to be full and on fleek, hunty gwarl! That skin should be flawww-luhhsss chile and them lips should be DSL to the GAWWWDS sis! ummhmmm! that's right Miss Rico thang you betta be a bad bytch down hee-yah yes mam!

    :foxxxy:


    * I just can't do it right...lol...it just is not in me. Trust me it would be worse if you heard me try to say(speak) this shit lol.
    cpnoway:khart2::heh::dead:

    *also looking at the 2011 pic and the one for his twitter...if this keeps up he will be fully 'transitioned' by 2021.
     
    #21 ColumbusGuy, Sep 8, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
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  22. Fanon

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    I take issue with his use of the word social construction, a derivative of social construct. I've been noticing more and more this word being used with dishonest (deceptive?) intent by feminists and other variations of "social justice warriors."

    Like the author of this article, they use this word a) knowing that their audience doesn't know what the fuck it means and is going to be too lazy to look it up and b) (because of a) intentionally misuse the word to promote their personal agenda. Thus deceiving the uncritical mind into thinking that if something is a social construct it's automatically bad and should be completely obliterated.

    And this isn't true, it isn't true at all. Although social constructs are constructed by a society, it doesn't mean that said social construct is intrinsically bad. Most social constructs were created by a society out of necessity and/or convenience. For example, money.

    What the author really needs to say is "X is a social construct because I, and others like me, don't benefit from X like those who do." That would be more honest than writing these long ass arguments about how sex (biological) is a "social construct" that should be replaced and done away with because it doesn't benefit you.
     
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  23. ColumbusGuy

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    From the way he wrote that article, I would bet he is at least 80% responsible for why things went downhill. He comes across as an entitled self-absorbed twat with a superiority complex, a well established sense of victimhood and indignation, and with a chip on his 'fabulous' shoulder just looking for a situation to escalate to feed his ego-he is an attorney you know.

    * I really hope this guy never reads any of this ...he IS an attorney and all with all of those qualities he may 'come' for us with the fury of a woman scorned lol.
     
    #23 ColumbusGuy, Sep 8, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
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