A Rose by Any Other Name

I was just over at the Competition Insider, catching up on Lynn's blog — I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I'm terrible at keeping up with my fellow bloggers. Heck, I'm terrible at keeping up with my own blog! The BF is the one who reports to me when I have comments I should reply to. How sad is that?

Lynn recently did a post where she talks about the absurdity of California's licensing requirements; you need a license to so much as file someone's nails, but not for tattooing or body piercing. In that post, she also touches briefly on the subject of professional titles — which is something I've been meaning to talk about too.

California officially calls us "manicurists." I remember, back in school, our instructor walked my entire manicuring class a few blocks down the street from our school one morning to the local trophy shop where we all ordered name tags. I stood in line patiently waiting my turn behind the other girls, and when I got to the register, I gave the lady my name and requested that my tag read "nail technician."

This caused quite a stir as all but one of my classmates clamored to change their orders! Only Lily opted to remain a "manicurist," and I respected her decision to do so. (I wish the Internet had been so available then; I'd have loved to have stayed in touch with her, and many of my other classmates.)

Eighteen years later, I'm with Lynn: I've outgrown "nail technician."

For starters, there are far too many occasions where I find myself hob-knobbing with the college-educated crowd only to have someone ask me what I do. I used to say I was a "nail technician" and, I kid you not, every time they'd look at me funny and say, "what's a male technician?" Good grief people. Really? So I would smile politely — patiently — and say, "I do nails."

Then the light would go on over their heads as understanding dawned — then they'd walk away without spending another freakin’ minute of their precious $80,000 education wasted on lil ol' me.

Oooh. Sorry. Do I sound bitter? I know Bachelor's degrees are strong among my own people, and even several Master’s and a smattering of PhDs. Fortunately, y'all know that doing nails totally rocks and I almost never get the "I'm better than you" cold shoulder from my colleagues. But I bet you know exactly the type of people I'm referring to, and I bet those of us who finished college have seen more than one jaw hit the floor when you mention your degree to one of these people.

Let's just say, I have encountered enough education snobs that one day, many years ago, I set myself down and gave the matter some thought — and I believe I came up with the ultimate pretentious euphemism — I began introducing myself as an "onychological enhancement engineer."

I've since dropped the "engineer" in favor of "specialist" since I feel it encompasses the nature of my business more fully.

The BF's 12-year-old niece calls me a "nail stylist" — and that suits me just fine.

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