What is the Right Age for a Girl to get a Manicure?
My husband is anti-manicure for his little girl. I mean vehemently anti-manicure. Unwavering in his belief that it is totally, utterly unacceptable for his daughter to have painted fingernails or toenails. He feels the same way about bikinis too, by the way. I understand his position. My own father, who no one would accuse of being hip but also wasn’t ultra-conservative, felt the same way. I kind of agree, but don’t really feel strongly about it. Personally, I probably would have caved to my daughter’s first request for painted toenails, so long as the color was cute and sparkly and her argument was as persuasive as, say, “but other girls in preschool have their toes painted.” But, in case I didn’t mention it, my husband feels strongly, so I back him up. I dutifully and convincingly tell my daughter that all families have different rules, and in our family we don’t think it’s appropriate for girls her age to paint their nails. Our daughter isn’t happy with the answer, but she gets it and, surprisingly, doesn’t push back much. (Unlucky for her, she does not have Tony Hawk for a Dad.)
But then the paradox struck, a simple request throwing two of my husband’s strongest held beliefs in direct opposition to each other. We are going to a wedding in Florida in April. My husband’s nephew is getting married. His sister, who is the mother of the groom, has very particular expectations of social conformity. And my husband believes strongly in conforming to those expectations. His sister is a most gracious hostess, and he won’t want to let her down whether that’s in regards to what we wear, running across town in both directions at once with both kids to make an appearance at every wedding-related event, keeping the kids up late, etc. So when my daughter, now six, told her father that she thought she should be able to wear nail polish for the wedding, he was stumped. He was stumped because I think he knows his sister would think that was a great idea. In fact, it’s entirely possible she has booked manis and pedis for all the female guests in our family, including my daughter. So, what was my husband’s excellent response? It was, “We’ll have to see. I’m not sure they even do that in Florida.” Huh? Well, he shanked it under pressure.
I think my husband is hoping our daughter will forget about it and not bring up the issue again. If she does, though, behind closed doors I think I’ll urge my husband to let her do it for this one event. Then she’ll get the sense that it’s something for special occasions only, as opposed to simply not understanding his position at all. But if he doesn’t agree, I’ll support a “no” response.
What do you think? Have you let your daughter get a manicure? What is the right age?