Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Entry 89: Why Caleb Isn't Nice


Some of you who know me already know where I'm going.  I hate the term nice.  Yes, hate.  I used to think "Oh, yeah, it's pretty good.  Nothing wrong with nice, right?" Oh how ignorant I was.

Then I started getting mildly annoyed with "nice."  Watching awkwardly as people insisted that someone go ahead of them in line (No you go.  No you.  No you.  No you.  Okay, I'll go.  You're so nice.) -holding everyone up behind them, mind you- thinking "oh, they're just being nice."

You hear about someone who is "nice" all the time. 

"Why'd you break up with her? She was nice!"

Yeah?  Well she was also an idiot, boring, lame, and weak.  But she was nice, right?

Whatever.  Nice has gone full circle back to its Latin roots, where it was derived from the word "nescire" which means to "not know."  Yes, it meant "dumb" for centuries and I'm bringing its true meaning back.

Think of every person that you think of as really "nice."  How many of them have any guts?  How many are essentially weak people that never assert themselves, never stand up for anything, and avoid any confrontation at any cost.  How many of them are complete dullards?  How many are spineless?  Boring?  Obsequious?  Perpetually deferential?  Annoying.

But what about the good qualities of "nice."  When we truly mean it in a positive way?  Then be specific.  Most of us use "nice" because we're too lazy to think of the positive trait we're really trying to describe.   Traits that I'm not against one bit.  Think: generous, patient, considerate, insightful, etc.  These are all fine traits that should be lauded and strove for.  But nice?  Fuck that noise.

Many of you readers are of the dating variety and read/write articles on the world of dating.  How does "nice" fit in there?  Ever read a story about how people don't want the "nice" girl/guy?  Or how you date someone who was "nice" but "eh"?  Maybe you want the "nice" guy who has an edge?  Yeah, basically you want some of the positive qualities associated with "nice" but not the spineless-dullard-pansy part.  Who wants that?

I propose that it's okay to hate the word "nice."  To not use it, to banish it from our vocabularies except in the context of what the word actually means.

So if I tell you I went out with someone and they were "nice"- you'll know what I mean.

Caleb "not very nice" Shreves


  1. It's true. I usually use 'nice' when I don't have anything else to say.

    Like the time my husband got me a football jersey for Christmas. I said it was 'nice'. He got the point and got me pearls the next day.

  2. Shoping with Audrey right now. Bored out of my mind. I've sat down somewhere cause it's taking so long. As I'm reading your post she comes up to me with a shirt and says "it's cute!" I say:" ya sure, it's nice..."

    Audrey and I really don't have the same taste in clothes.

  3. What the Housewife said:
    "It's true. I usually use 'nice' when I don't have anything else to say."

  4. I've known some nice people who were assertive. It's all a matter of how you handle the situation.

    But yeah, usually nice is pretty boring & generic.

  5. My English teacher at high school banned several words. If there were put into any written work/expressed vocally in discussions our opinions would be written off and our marks would reflect this. The one at the top of the list? Nice. Knowing someone else thought nice was a cop out I have been openly anti-"nice" ever since I was 13.

  6. Couldn'ta said it better myself!
    In fact, I didn't. But I WISH I had...