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For clarification purposes, this blog is not about my quest to find a husband

November 1, 2010

I’d been mulling over a name for my blog–and potential grooming salon–since I visited the Massachusetts Academy of Canine Cosmetology (MACC) and learned that I’d have to create a business plan in order to graduate. Up until I toured the school back in May, it never once occurred to me to open a place of my own. I’m not entirely sure why, given that Kristi, my dear friend and former boss, has successfully maintained her own grooming shop for the past 16 years. I guess I just never considered the possibility that I could ever be my own boss. But when Susan brought it up during my MACC interview, I thought, why not? It certainly isn’t something that I could do within the next year, or even two or three. But it is a goal to which I can aspire.

So, I spent the summer contemplating names for a shop, never mind that I still don’t know how to wield a pair of scissors or use a set of clippers. Hey, a girl’s gotta dream, right?

My dad suggested Dogs R’Uff, which I thought was clever, but a bit too cutesy. For a while, I settled on Bark around the Clock. I envisioned a kitschy 1950s diner motif, with black-and-white tiles, chrome fixtures, and plenty of black poodles. Themes are always fun, and I figured the doo-wop era would be an easy one to replicate. Then Jenn came up with Happy Tails, which I really liked because we do a lot of hiking with Connor and Bailey, and besides, who doesn’t love Roy Rogers? I pictured a mountain mural (similar to one I painted on our back porch) and lots of doggie bandanas. I was all set to design a logo when I decided to google the term, just to be sure there weren’t any other shops listed under the same name.

Yeah… apparently Happy Tails isn’t as original as I thought. There’s one in Andover, Massachusetts, one on Cape Cod, and three more in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. My personal favorite, however, was located in Knoxville, Tennessee, which I discovered through a blog called For the Love of the Dog. After four dogs died at his shop under “suspicious circumstances,” owner Erik Webb was indicted on two counts of animal cruelty. According to local news sources, one week later he fatally stabbed his wife in front of their two children. He then fled the scene and took a cab to his grooming shop, where he shot and killed himself . Horrified, I immediately nixed Happy Tails as a possibility. Bad, bad karma there.

What the bleep does this photo have to do with dog grooming? Nothing, really.

I left the North Shore one evening determined to come up with a new name, because quite honestly, Bark around the Clock just wasn’t doing it for me. I mean, I don’t even particularly like Elvis, and I’m pretty much indifferent toward poodles. I vowed to think of at least three new names by the time I got home. Although I’ve never actually seen Animal Planet’s Groomer Has It, I think the title is extremely clever. I appreciate puns, and I think Groomer Has It definitely has a–ahem–leg up on the competition. What else rhymes with the word groom? I asked myself while weaving through traffic on Route 1. Broom. Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Scissors and Groom… Chicks? No, that doesn’t make any sense. Hey, how does that song go? You know, the one that Angela Lansbury sings when she magically brings to life a bunch of medieval knights to defeat the Nazis? “Treguna Mekoides and Trecorum Satis Dee…” Bedknobs and Broomsticks was always criticized for its attempts to emulate Mary Poppins, but really, I always thought the movie stood just fine on its own. I mean, so what if the dude who portrays Mister Banks is in both films? And both have cartoon animal worlds? That doesn’t mean–oh, for the love of God, Vicky–FOCUS. Right. Groom rhymes with spoon. Sort of. Groomer rhymes with schooner. I like the band Schooner Fare. Groomer Fair? Groomer of Hair? No and no. Groom. Room. Romper Groom? A Groom with a View? A Groom of One’s Own?

I wonder if my gal Virginia would consider dog grooming to be a profession worthy of women. With a last name like Woolf, I tend to think so.

I nearly drove off the road. A Groom of One’s Own. It was perfect. I read Virginia Woolf‘s A Room of One’s Own for a women’s literature class during my junior year of college. At the time, I was determined to one day write a novel, and Woolf’s central point–that every woman needs a room of her own in which to create (something men are able to enjoy without question)–struck a nerve. But she was concerned with more than just the room itself. It symbolized larger issues, such as privacy, leisure time, and financial independence, each of which is an essential component of  inequalities between men and women. She predicted that, until these inequalities are rectified, women will remain second-class citizens and their literary achievements will also be branded as such.

I can just as easily apply Woolf’s reasoning to opening a grooming business–and maintaining this blog. For now, the blog is my room, and in this room, I will slowly reclaim myself as a writer. I will forgive the hateful words my editor hurled at me during our final confrontation. I will regain my self-confidence. I will heal. I will grow.

In this room, I will write about grooming school and all of the challenges it presents. I will write about my frustrations, as well as my victories, however small. And in a few year’s time, when–God willing–I’m ready to open a shop of my own, I will write about the joys of creating works of art on living, breathing canvases. I will write about the relief of being my own boss, of being financially independent. I will write about things that I do right, as well as mistakes I make along the way.

I think perhaps I can do anything, as long as I have this room–A Groom of One’s Own.

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