Asian Guys and that One Long Pinky Fingernail

One of the things that I’ve always wondered about, or at least, bugged the hell out of me is seeing Asian guys with one long pinkie fingernail. My first boyfriend had it, and he claimed that when he was having sex with women that he would use it on them. Granted, we were both under 18 at the time, and I was completely in the dark about women’s anatomy, but the idea of having a fingernail anywhere near those parts just sounded rather painful to me, so I took that statement with a huge grain of salt.

I’ve seen it on lots of different men, from many different Asian countries, though it seems to be predominantly on guys who are from Southeast Asia, mainly Vietnam or the Philippines, though I’ve seen other guys with it from China, etc. No one bothered to explain why they had one to me, except for the sexual explanation.

Lo on behold, I was surfing The Straight Dope, a huge font of incredibly trivial (or necessary, depending on how you look at it), knowledge who got their staff to do a rather unscientific way of gathering reasons for this (namely, posting something on their message board). They proclaimed that it was primarily as a way to pick their nose and/or ears.

Ewww. At least it makes more sense, but I’ll probably think twice before I shake a guy’s hand if he has that long-ass pinkie fingernail.

However, I want to put it out there to see if there’s anyone who can prove me wrong, and show me what that fingernail is used for–and if you’re willing to admit you actually do use it for… bodily functions… uh, great.

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Author: Efren

Efren is a 30-something queer Filipino American guy living in San Francisco. In the past, he was a wanna-be academic even teaching in Asian American studies at San Francisco State, a wanna-be queer rights and HIV activist, and he used to "blog" when that meant spewing one's college student angst using a text editor on a terminal screen to write in a BBS or usenet back in the early 90s. For all his railing against the model minority myth, he's realized he's done something only a few people can claim--getting into UCSF twice, once for a PhD program in medical sociology which he left; and then for pharmacy school, where he'll be a member of the class of '13. He apologizes profusely for setting the bar unintentionally high for his cousins. blog twitter