I'd Like to Believe I'm a Nice Girl

Nice girls finish last, too. Not with relationships, necessarily, but with themselves.

Before they are nice girls, though, they are good girls. Sitting so still, blending into the rose-colored upholstery while the grown-ups chatter above and around them. They nod, doe eyed or deer-in-the-headlights, as adults tell them to “Think about others first,” and hiss, “Imagine how that would make you feel,” and sternly say, “Don’t be so emotional.”

Good girls follow these instructions. Carefully, they learn to serve others before themselves, to exert thought before speaking, and to assume any lonely feelings that traipse within them are their own fault. They become adept at self-loathing for not being a strong enough person to forgo emotions entirely. Their obedience is un-replicable.

Niceness follows goodness. “Be nice,” moms will say to good girls who are being willful. “Be nice,” say the boys as they brush against bristling good girls. Nice girls occasionally rebel against the niceties, turning to snap, crackle and pop at other girls on the quad. Rarely does a teenage girl ever suggest to another, “Be nice.” Niceness isn’t rewarded amongst friends.

Nice girls are told they are overreacting when a friend’s belligerently drunk father acts out toward them. When asked why they didn’t just walk away or tell him to stop, nice girls are confused because they’d been trying to be nice. Nice girls wind up at a coworker’s house, asking him to stop, telling him to stop, trying to find the appropriate way out of the situation so everyone saves face. Maybe he doesn’t hear her. Nice girls don’t say anything about the date rape because they try to imagine how that would make him feel. Nice girls use the word “Yes” liberally.

Needs, emotions and dreams of others are put ahead of a nice girl’s own. They learn at 18, 19, and 20 that you’re being selfish should they dare do otherwise. This world isn’t a place for their feelings, their desires, their happiness. This world is a place for everyone else. To a nice girl, fairness is being unfair to themselves.Eventually, nice girls once again start trying to blend into wine colored upholstery. They’re once again proud of their ability to barely be noticed.

True success of niceness and goodness come if a girl demonstrates she feels nothing but that of everyone around her. If she has become so empty, so nothing, that she is only replete with others and if cannot be alone with herself because there is no self without them, she is the goodest of good girls. The nicest of nice girls.