What Do Feminst Preschoolers' Mothers Wear? The What-to-do-About-Their-Toenails Installment

As you might know, this spring I went to have my first ever pedicure complete with purple nail polish. You could say yoga made me do it, the intense desire for my toenails to smudge the yellow wall just like all the women with painted toenails do.

Anyway, this happened. Inevitably.

Now, what do I do? I’ve spent a solid month obsessing about what color I want next.


Last night at a sticky, steamy picnic for the preschool, a friend said to me that in all seriousness I should make an annual ritual of a nail polish trip at the salon with Saskia. Her daughter is eight. They’d just gone yesterday, after a bunch of boring waiting around stuff on the daughter’s part, since she had to tag along with her mom during boring stuff.

My friend’s red nails looked great. She reported her daughter got this faux crackle multi-colored job that was kind of so ugly it was gorgeous—on an eight year-old.

My friend’s son is Saskia’s age. As far as I know, no salon trips in his future. Maybe if he asks nicely.

I get stymied at moments like these. I never dreamt of taking my sons to the salon for side-by-side toenail polishes. I haven’t actually dreamt of doing this with my daughter, but I guess it’s more likely. During preschool the older two sons wore a lot of toenail polish (the eldest’s godfather was into it; he lived with us; there was a great deal of nail polish action for a while). I did get her a necklace by the same person who made mine. This would most definitely fall under unnecessary (at best) but I am quite happy she loves hers (it seems) as much as I love mine.

Would that there was a guidebook for feminist mothers about how to navigate these waters. I’d love to know how something feels fun or feels good without going over the Niagara Falls’ plunge that is our culture.


Meantime, I sent the photo yesterday to my pedicure buddy, subject line: A Small Emergency.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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