To Paint or Not to Paint…

That is the question – ’tis it nobler to tread this mortal coil with nasty, gnarly toes? Or is it a wise man that takes time to pamper and prepare his nubby digits in glorious splendor, for the eyes of the world to enjoy.

Well, that question has come to my attention recently, as I had posted a picture of my freshly groomed and polished toenails, alongside my daughter Stella’s teeny tiny tootsies. Tori also posted a picture of her beautifully painted toes alongside my monster foot, adorned with a neon green polish.

Needless to say, we got a lot of wonderful comments from our fans. Things like, “You two are so adorable, getting pedis together.” “Nice color, Deano.” “ I wish my husband would take our daughter to get a pedi!” etc…

Our fans are awesome and we love ‘em!!

Now, behind every nice comment there is a not so great one. Every action has a positive or a negative reaction. I think that’s a physics law…? I also heard things like, “You’re a weirdo.” “Glad you took your daughter for a pedi, but color on your toe nails, creepy.” Or “Real men don’t paint their toenails.” I take umbrage particularly with that last comment. I think a real man takes his daughter, son, and wife for pedicures and partakes in the ritualistic podiatry pampering, including POLISH.

I believe in leading by example. I just so happened to paint my toenails well before I had children. I like it. Tori and I would go to the spa on a regular basis. It’s a fun way to express yourself as well as getting your nails trimmed, buffed, and all the nasty bits removed from under your nails. Bleck!! My son Liam asked if he could get his nails done like dad, and I was thrilled. I want him to try things; I want him to think outside the box. I want him to be an individual, and a free thinker. Liam even went one further. He asked if he could get his nails painted like mom and his sister Stella. I gladly obliged him. He would get his nails done with black and yellow like Batman, or red and blue with spider webs. He was a super hero and a rock star. Whatever his little imagination could conjure up. I’m so proud of him. He made a decision, and he stood by it. Good, bad or indifferent.

It also makes toes that are maybe not so attractive, much more palatable. Lets face it, men’s toes are not as attractive as women’s. Why, you ask?? Men don’t pay any attention to their toes. They’re a complete afterthought, if thought of at all. But, if men were brought up with the tradition of taking care of your tootsies, as many young ladies are, they would definitely look better, and grooming ones toes would not be such a male taboo.

Aside from the aesthetics, going for pedicures is a great opportunity to spend time with your spouse, or children, or both. The whole family gets a pedi, then we go for lunch, or frozen yogurt – we make a day of it. We get to catch up with each other, find out how school is going, plan sporting events, and dance classes in a very relaxing environment. It has quickly become a tradition around our house, and it’s here to stay.

Dads, now is your time to get out there, and change the past. It is our time to make our presence known in the nail spa space. It is our time to make history. I have been successful in converting the hardest toughest guys into toenail polish wearing warriors. My one friend swore up and down he would never paint his nails, or get a pedicure for that matter. I talked him into taking his daughter for a daddy-daughter day and get a pedi and paint. What’s the worst that is going to happen?? A few strange looks, or petty comments. I had to remind him he had faced much more adversity in his life than name calling. “Dude, you were shot 4 times!!” I am happy to say, he loved it. This is a guy who wears flip-flops every day of his life, in a very badass, male-oriented work place. In fact, he is starting to convince coworkers to paint their toes, and take their wives and kids out, and make a day of it. He loves the one-on-one time with his beautiful little girl. Now he is starting a tradition in his family, and that’s a wonderful thing.

So go out there and get trimmed, buffed, de-calloused, massaged and painted. Raise a foot proudly in the air, and say, “I am a man, and yes, I wear male-polish!!” Together, we can change the hearts and minds of the naysayers, one toe at a time.

Have I convinced all you dads to give male-polish a try?


  • Kathleen O

    Tons of men get pedicures where I go! As for the polish, I say go for it. If it’s OK for men to wear fingernail polish then why not toes? Who cares what anyone else thinks? Be your own person.

    You go, Dad!!!

  • Priscilla Nezat

    Very well written! A great come back!! My husband gets pedis with me ALL the time and like me thoroughly enjoys them. That makes me love him all the more! The fact that he would be willing to explore uncharted territory (no pun intended) with me at the risk of receiving negative remarks from his male peers, show me what makes a true man. I used to beg my ex-husband to go with me; he would refuse and add not so positive (or necessary) comments -turning an enjoyable experience into a horrible argument …guess that’s why he’s my “ex” husband today…hahaha! I admire your style – thanks for posting this, it made my day!

  • Danielle

    I saw the pic of your & Tori’s feet on her instagram and thought the negative comments were so silly! You lost your man card… really? LOL. Wear those toes proudly, dad!

  • Sherrynewm

    I think that is just awesome !! You and Tori are great.

  • Jenn

    Loved reading this. As a single mom of 2 boys, one is rough and tough and thinks its not a good idea to go with mom to get a pedicure, the other asked me if he could come with me, and I gladly obliged. Then he asked me if he could actually have them polish his nails, not just clean them up. Once again, I gladly obliged. I had tons of comments from friends and family members thinking I was nuts. Thankfully I am not one to give much thought on what others think, especially when it comes to my parenting decisions. If my kids want to polish their nails, then I’m going to be right there to cheer them on.

  • Mia Donnelly

    Way to go Dean!! I completely agree its a good bonding experience. My husband has never gone but always says he would. Now that our daughter is almost 3 I think it would be great for him to take her. Keep showing off your toes and your beautiful families toes!! I love both you and Tori’s parenting style!! Doing a great job..

  • deansmyfantasy

    how i really love you and your family.. but not into guys painting their toe nails. unless their gay. u have gay friends, but sexy Dean.. come on pedi an manis are fine,, but NO PAINT

  • Iluvmikidz

    I applaud you for having the nerve to do so with your kids……I think it’s great and a perfect way to have some bonding time!! I used to have that with my gay husband until he died suddenly and I’m lost without him! :( My husband doesn’t even want my boys to play with my daughters dolls!!

  • HCWrangler00

    I LOVE this. My fiance is 6’4″, muscular, with size 14 feet, and we get pedicures every 3 weeks ritually. The minute he went with me, he said “I’ll never cut my own toenails again!”. Funny, but true. I hope we can keep this tradition up when we have children. Thank you for writing this. I love you guys!

  • Nicole McDermott

    Love this and totally relate. We’re McDermotts too, from Canada … And jut so happens that my son has green painted toes right now. It’s chipping but he won’t let me take it off :)

  • Jenn Henshall

    Great post, Dean! You’ve definitely convinced me to persuade my husband to give some male-polish a try. Male or female — I don’t know who wouldn’t want to pamper their feet with a warm soak, some buffing and a massage. I’m really enjoying your blog — thanks for keeping it real!

  • Korrine Perez

    Hi Dean,
    Great topic to post about. You stand to defend your stance on the topic well. I have to applaud you for getting pedis with polish done with the family. I think you are 100% correct, we live in a world in which we like to stereotype and hold ‘men” and “women” in completely different categories. What has society come to…shunning men and women even children from engaging in activities that are gender stereotyped. I think you’ve started a great tradition that I hope I can get my boyfriend and our future kids to do together. Why live your life concerned what others think of you or if they think you are less of “man” or “woman” because you step out of the gender stereotyped activities.

    I think you and Tori set this bar perfectly with your children! You two will reap the benefits of raising your children that are accepting of the those society shuns for being different. You are excellent parents who are teaching their children to love and love others for who they are.

    Great site Dean, I am looking forward to more.

    Best wishes,

  • Huh Huh

    My sons LOVE to have their toenails painted and we are one with it!

  • Darren

    I think you’re a great Dad. Don’t listen to close minded people. Life’s too short. Keep doing what you’re doing man. Everyone knows you’re an amazing husband and father. God bless!

  • Justine B

    I am always shocked at how close minded people are. I have a little boy who at three has been laughed at by a grown man at the store simply because he loves My Little Ponies. People are individuals, and they like what they like. Society has no right to determine what is acceptable or push them (or you) into some sort of stereotypical box. I wish more people were like you guys. You seem like such accepting people, and you are demonstrating to your children that it is okay to do what makes you happy, and ignore the nay sayers! By the way love the toes!

  • Kristine

    I think it is great that Tori & yourself are teaching your children that it’s ok to be themselves no matter what. I am a mom and remember when my son was Liam’s age & wanted to polish his nails like mommy. I let him do it also because I also believed in letting him express his creativity & be himself. He is now approaching 13 & is a well rounded creative person who is not afraid to be himself. I think you & Tori are great parents & role models for your children.

  • Steve W.

    OUTSTANDING column! I started painting my toes just over a year ago when I lost a bet. But I quickly realized that it’s REALLY JUST PAINT, not “magic gay sauce”. And, I liked the way it made my feet look. Eventually I started wearing color on my fingers too. I’ve had very few negative comments, but a tremendous amount of compliments. The only things that stop men from wearing nail color as proudly as they display tattoos, are the fact that they don’t see it on other men, and their fear of doing something they don’t see other men doing. But since when is “masculinity” defined as ‘timidly cowering in the middle of the herd, afraid to defy its customs, step out or be noticed’? I won’t say that all men must wear nail color – any man whose masculinity is so weak and fragile that it would be threatened by a spot of paint, isn’t man enough to wear color. But men who are bold, adventurous, confident, independent MEN, really should give it a try! Thanks again!

  • MN Badger

    Way to go, McDermott family. You rock! I paint too because I like the way they look. ALL people’s toes look better colored, and even if one uses a clear gloss the shine looks great. There is no gender in this no matter what anyone says. More men do than you’d believe, they just don’t have the courage to show. It’s total nonsense that ONLY women would paint their toes.

    I would never do fingers because it would be too hard to maintain. I’ve noticed that younger women don’t keep up their fingernails and it just doesn’t look well. So on me would look even worse in short order But my toes, ahhh, that’s a different story. :)

    Loved your approach to family time and just plain fun. It’s both of those. As folks have said, life is too short to be worried about such stuff. Have fun, do what you like and like what you do. Hurt no one in the process and all is good.

  • Becki Willis

    I just painted my 4 year old son’s toes multiple colors, at his request, a couple of weeks ago. It’s not the first time he’s asked and I’ve complied. I think it’s adorable, and I love that you do this with your kids and Tori! Dane informed me that the kids at daycare told him he had “girls toes.” I told him, if they say that again, to tell them, “No. I have cool toes!” He liked that idea! Keep up the great work!

  • Shauna

    I love that you guys do things like this together.. but what i love the most about your family is that you allow us to be a part of it.I have admired you since the b&b and always will because of your true, genuine souls. You guys make me so proud to be a fan. I love that you say that you are proud of Liam because He made a decision, and he stood by it. Good, bad or indifferent. That is what I strive for everyday no matter the ridicule or praise. Bless you and your beautiful family. People could learn alot from you.


  • Shannon Burgdorf


    We’ve had to deal with the negative comments because of my 13 year old son’s appearance decisions. I wrote about his own family taking issue with it

    But I’m glad to say that my awesome kid still makes his own decisions, like his current hot pink cast!

    Your family inspires :)

    Now… if we can just get the midwest to be as evolved as your west coast…

  • Jake K

    I will second and THIRD the above comments on pro-polish for men! Dean, I saw a pic of you with your toenails polished a few years ago and showed it to my wife to get her reaction. She thought it was a great idea and that was one of the major influences in me beginning to wear my toenails polished!
    And why shouldn’t guys wear their nails polished if they like? Heck, women wear pretty much anything they want, including most guy’s styles, and it rocks on them! Does it mean a guy is gay because he wears a little paint in his nails? I don’t think that’s how it works folks. I simply means the guy is interested in being a little more interesting in his attire than the basic (boring) neutral look many men employ. C’mon folks, it’s 2012 and we’re all independent people with the same desire to be uniquely ‘us’.
    Personally, I really enjoy having a pro pedicure and wearing colored polish on my nails. It’s fun, it looks awesome and it feels great to have good-looking and attractive nails for a change (admit it, most guys have pretty gross nails – especially toenails…).
    So, I applaud your article and the fact that you are enjoying this with your family. Keep up the great attitude and let’s hope that others come around too.

    Jake K. from St. Paul