New, But Not "Fake"?

I don't know if I've hit that age where I'm just no longer in touch with "these kids today," or if I've spent too long hanging out in professional circles that have left me out of the loop, but it has been slowly dawning on me lately that I might be unfamiliar with today's lingo when it comes to discussing salon services — and yesterday I got a text from a returning client that really drove the point home.

The thing is, as professionals, we like to think that we're in charge of deciding on the terminology that is used to refer to our products and services. But more and more, I have been finding that not only is this not the case, but that we are probably doing ourselves more harm than good by insisting on terms like "rebalancing" and "enhancement."

Just as we are not in control of what's trendy in nail fashion (i.e., duck feet), we don't get to dictate lingo. Which is why, when I got the text from a client I haven't seen in a few months, I had a moment of panic in my attempts to communicate with her.

I'm thrilled to hear from her, and was enthusiastic about finding a spot for her in my schedule again, but I needed to know how much time to allot for her before I could offer her an appointment. So I asked if she needed a full set or a fill.

I got this in reply: "New set but no fake nails all mine r long n same length!"

Needless to say, this left me a bit confused. First, I'm old enough that I still have to mentally translate "text" into English, so once I solved for abbreviations and inserted punctuation and accepted the fact that the term "fake" is regaining popularity in the consumer market to refer to nails ... I was still a little confused. How was I supposed to do a "new set" without doing "fake" nails?!

And, how was I supposed to get clarification via text without the tone of my question being misinterpreted?

I took a deep breath and responded as best I could.

OK, so based on her reply, it seems that maybe we should all take note that the popular conception of "fake" nails is a service and/or product that extends the length of the natural nails. Simply overlaying the natural nail with either gel or acrylic seems to not count as "fake."

These are the little moments that really make me feel old. Hopefully, I'll work long enough to see the nail trends and terms that I prefer come back into fashion. In the meantime, enjoy your slang lesson... and I'm gonna enjoy rockin’ her nails again! "Fake" or not!

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