Dear Public Adjustor:

I’ll come right out and admit it: I was a crasher at last night’s party. Though they helped me bluff my way in, every stitch of clothing I wore was borrowed, and the limo … it’s a long story, but let’s just say Uber. Then I met my Prince Charming (okay, our Prince Charming). He’s male, reasonably straight and under 40. He likes horseback riding, dancing and a clean house, and someday he wants to have heirs. He’s comfortable financially, but also seems to have a real feeling for the plight of domestic workers.

The curfew came so suddenly, I had to dash out—but not before he said he’d like to hook up. I just don’t know if it’s right. I feel like I tricked him into thinking I’m someone else. Can I build a relationship on that?

Almost Barefoot
Anaheim, California

Dear Almost:

Many high-achieving professional women suffer from persistent feelings that their inner worth does not match their outward accomplishments. They attribute their standing in society purely to the help of others, to luck or to their ability to exercise “charm.” They were typically raised in families in which their siblings were singled out for praise on the basis of qualities these women also possess—sometimes, to a superior degree. Does any of this sound familiar?

Nearly forty years ago, this condition was documented by Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes, who named it, “the Impostor Phenomenon.” I’ll summarize what they found: That was you dancing last night. It would still be you in other clothes, on another floor.

Don’t believe me? Ask the federal court in Florida that decided Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. Quorum Management Corp., No. 5:12-cv-406-Oc-10 (M.D. Fla. May 13, 2016). One of the defendants in that case operated a compounding center—a facility that prepares medical and vitamin compounds from bulk ingredients, according to custom formulas prescribed by health practitioners. In 2009, a veterinarian ordered a customized nutritional supplement, including 45 milligrams of sodium selenite, for a string of 21 polo ponies. Unfortunately, one of the center’s employees mixed in 10 grams of this ingredient. That’s way too much sodium selenite. All 21 horses suffered cardiac arrest.

After suit was filed by the bereaved owners, the issuer of the center’s commercial general liability policy brought a separate action for declaratory judgment, asserting it had no duty to defend or indemnify. Among other provisions, the insurer relied on a professional services exclusion, which stated that the policy would not cover any claims for damage

arising out of the rendering [of] … professional health care services as a pharmacist.

As it happened, though, the incident was such a blow to the compounding center’s self-esteem, it argued that this exclusion didn’t apply. In fact, the center denied that it provided “health care services” at all. Manifesting classic symptoms of remorse and self-loathing, it pleaded that the “plain language interpretation” of “health care services” would be

limited to helpful activities rendered to humans, not … compounding a supplement to be injected … into animals.

The center also felt it did not deserve to be treated “as a pharmacy,” because its employee “was compounding solutions in the laboratory, not dispensing and selling prescriptions to customers from a store.”

Fortunately, an empathetic court was there to give the center’s confidence a shot in the arm. It cited a Florida statute defining the “practice of … pharmacy” in a way that included “compounding.” Fla. Stat. §§ 465.003(10) and (11). It also reminded the center that one’s status as a professional is “determined by focusing upon the particular act” that the individual performs, rather than the trappings of the performance (or, apparently, its outcome).

In the present case, [the center and its employee] … were performing the service of compounding a nutritional supplement. Such actions are clearly ‘health services’—i.e., an ‘effort to maintain or restore health … .’

Most important, “the particular act” you perform with a prince doesn’t change its character, even if your usual partner is a frog:

The fact that the end user of the supplement was a horse as opposed to a human is of no moment.

See? You don’t need expensive clothes to be a princess. All it takes is your natural talents and, once in a while, some validation.

That said, a few choice accessories couldn’t hurt.

Yours, etc.

The Public Adjustor
[Location Withheld]