Death of a Nice Girl


A girl should be two things: who and what she wants. ~Coco Chanel

venngirldiagram

Something really weird happened to me in or around my 30th birthday. I stopped being a Nice Girl. I shot her in the chest, had a nice little funeral, ate some finger sandwiches, then buried her in my backyard. She’s deader than a doornail. In fact, I could probably do a variation of the old Dead Parrot sketch on how dead the Nice Girl part of me is.

For the longest time I actually enjoyed being a Nice Girl. When you’re smart and witty but not particularly attractive, being a Nice Girl is a great out. It makes you desirable enough for the B-list clubs of the world, it usually stops the popular kids from tormenting you, and best of all, it looks good on your resume when you apply for exclusive universities and respectable jobs. I did all that, once. I volunteered, played three sports, made sure to treat the teachers well, and never, ever got anything below an A-minus.

That was 15 years ago. Back then, I thought Nice Girlhood was a ticket to success in life. In retrospect I was as naive as Amy Adams’ Disney princess character from Enchanted.Β With enough sweetness and kindness and general saccharine-ness, I could do anything. Real life came along and shattered that idea like a well-placed baseball through a plate-glass window. Once I started going to college, paying my own bills, and working in customer service, I quickly figured out that being nice was the best way to become a doormat.

After all that, I still have second thoughts on my fall from the ranks of the Nice Girls. Would I like to randomly bake cookies for co-workers, knit stockings for orphaned children, and say “Have a magical day” with a straight face? Sure. It just doesn’t feel right when I do. Women like this, as depicted in pop culture, are either complete caricatures as Adams was, or else someone’s mom or grandma. Or Edie McClurg. Anyway, they’re not as sarcastic and world-weary as I am. If there’s one thing Nice Girls are not, it’s sarcastic or sardonic.

The compromise I’ve developed is simple. I am still a Nice Girl, deep down inside. I simply am not as straightforward about it. You’ve read the stories about rare coins dropped in charity donation boxes? I’ve done that. I’ve also continuously donated supplies to the local humane society and food bank. In fact, there are few things I enjoy more than helping people (or animals) in need. I only do it quietly and anonymously. I’m like the female version of Bruce Wayne/Batman, only a lot poorer. My good deeds have to be done behind a mask of mystery.

As for whether I still consider myself a Nice Girl? If being one of them means using good manners, not littering, putting my shopping cart back when I’m done, and remembering birthdays and anniversaries, then yes, by all means I’m a Nice Girl. However, if I’m secretly hoping to fight the undead, I think this disqualifies me from being a true-blue member of the club. (In some ways, I’m the child Nice Girl Hermione Granger and antihero Severus Snape would have had.)

What do you consider to be a Nice Girl or Nice Guy? Do you think these people finish last (or first) in life? Why?

Nice-Girl-Quote

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on December 1, 2012.

14 Responses to “Death of a Nice Girl”

  1. This is the best thing I’ve read in a while.
    “I’m like the female version of Bruce Wayne/Batman, only a lot poorer.”
    Interesting graph because of the 3, being nice probably gets you less far in life than being hot or smart would have.
    I think being nice is saying what other people expect you to without ruffling anyone’s feathers. Not the best way to live.

    • No, being purely nice is being codependent and/or neurotic, which is indeed not the best way to live. Most of the nice girls I know are either married to jerks or searching for the next jerk to marry. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Ave. πŸ™‚

  2. I gave up on the contemplation of the nice guy years ago after getting tired of being treated like a doormat or my forehead reading, “Please take advantage here!”.

    I have an idea for you, but I will email it.

  3. I don’t know if it’s possible to be nice and cynical at the same time. I stopped being a nice guy gradually. Now I’m just an S.O.B., but there are still people out there who think I’m a nice guy. I try not to take advantage of their perceptions of me as nice, but there are certain rules and guidelines I need to follow to maintain my SOB status.

  4. In the end, be who you’re comfortable being, as long as it doesn’t cause the rest of the world a lot of horror and heartache.

    Anyone who sticks around then is genuine.

  5. It is more interesting to be a blend of naughty and nice as long as it doesn’t become haughty and cold as ice…. tee hee!

  6. I love that diagram … you know capturing every essence of the nice girl. I consider myself a nice girl and a smart girl, but I don’t really fall into the “ugly” category … more like the clumsy category. A Marty McFly … but a sporty one…where would that fit in the diagram?

  7. Trufax!!

  8. Reblogged this on Adventurine and commented:
    Nice girls like me do finish last, apparently

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