Selfish in a petty way; unkind.What he liked best of all was to keep my mother (and therefore, me) in his control. He would get petulantly angry and throw a mean assed fit which often included things being thrown down the stairs (a Thanksgiving turkey once, my sister's wedding cake another time). Things that especially made him mad were when my mother had control over herSELF-- if she got a job, for instance, he would start tons of fights until she quit from the sheer weariness over the battle. In fact, he is part of the reason I am a staunch feminist in life-- I know how vitally important it is for women to have control of their own destinies, because nasty little men like him exist in droves, and if women cannot choose their own way in life, their own education, their own jobs, their reproductive freedoms, they will be stuck with mean men like him.
Cruel, spiteful, or malicious.
Ignoble; base: a mean motive.
Low in quality or grade; inferior.
Low in value or amount; paltry: paid no mean amount for the new shoes.
Common or poor in appearance; shabby: "The rowhouses had been darkened by the rain and looked meaner and grimmer than ever" (Anne Tyler).
Low in social status; of humble origins.
Humiliated or ashamed.
In poor physical condition; sick or debilitated.
Extremely unpleasant or disagreeable: The meanest storm in years.
Informal. Ill-tempered. from dictionary.com
But wait, what does this have to do with red?
I'm glad you asked. B. (I'll call him that just to be nice, which I am) used to say that women who wore "whore red" nail polish were, well, whores. And that, my friend, was the worst thing you could be in B's book. A woman who had the audacity to like red fingernails clearly must have been sexually promiscuous and nasty. No matter what other traits she might have. Heck, she might be saving orphans from a fire but if she had red fingernails while doing it, she was a whore and deserved to be smacked around.
Well. I love red. I have whore red fingernails RIGHT NOW and I adore the way my nails look, with slightly squared tips and this deep OPI "I'm Not Really a Waitress - NLH08 red" richness that screams "I AM IN CONTROL OF MY OWN DESTINY. MY OWN BODY. AND YOU, MEAN LITTLE MAN, ARE POINTLESS." (Also published at Kim Procrastinates)