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The question

Do men in any way care about women's nail polish? In other words, is nail painting something that we girls do for ourselves and each other?

The answer

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I am very sorry for what I am about to tell you. Most men will not notice your fingernails.

If they are beautifully manicured with some kind of plain-coloured polish – red, purple, brown, whatever – we will not notice. As long as they look generally healthy, we will also not notice if they are not polished. We might think your clear varnish is just a natural shine, if we were to think about it at all, but we do not. We are not aware of what colours are fashionable and what colours are seen as tacky or youthful or conservative. We may not even notice that you had polish on one day and not the next. We will only notice if your nails start getting really long (once they start to curve, they look witchy) or really flamboyant, manicured in a stick-on pattern of stars or dollar bills or palm trees. Canadian guys find that garish. I'm sorry: I know you put a lot of time and money into all of this.

And for the record, we do not register the quality of purses or bags either.

Russell Smith's latest novel is Girl Crazy. Have a fashion question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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