Since I’m really trying to turn over new leaves and try new things this year, I decided vamping up my online dating profile would be a solid first step. Sure, dating isn’t a priority but I enjoy going out with guys and meeting new people in general, online is an easy way to take pressure off when bar-hopping with the ladies. Let the guys I may want to date stay online and the guys I want to dance with hang out at the club, right? Sitting in my new fluffy bathrobe, exhausted after forcing myself to start running again, I sent the link to my friend K to have her give suggestions. After reading, she asked why I wanted to change it, and I said: You don’t think it sounds too nice?
She replied, But you are nice.
Ugh that word. Nice. You’re so nice. You’re such a sweet girl. You’re a doll! It’s all so irritating. I don’t want to be nice. Her words nagged me. They buzzed about my head and allowed my brow to scrunch, though I knew my mother would say it causes wrinkles and I shouldn’t do such a thing to my skin. But I was annoyed. Very annoyed.
Surely she meant no harm and was just being honest – I am, indeed, a nice person. I think of things before others do, I try to be the best friend I can be, I send hand-written cards for the holidays because I love to picture the instant smiles from others when they receive real mail, I always give gifts with meanings, I pause to let the person walk in front of me, I give up my seat for the elderly and give half my sandwich to the homeless. I volunteer with kids who want to write because I’m passionate about helping children and literacy. I hold the doors open for people I know and those I don’t. I get cabs when I know others are struggling financially. I try to be considerate even when someone is inconsiderate. I’m even nice in relationships – I usually don’t really care what we eat, so I eat what he wants. I leave hidden notes in places he’ll find throughout his day. I learn to bake his favorite goodies, regardless of how long we’ve been together. I’ll return text messages timely and I’ll give back scratches without much persuasion. I may even sit through an incredibly sports-something-or-another if it’s important to him.
She’s right. I’m nice. But when she said it – I automatically hated it.
Noting my frustration, K asked me to describe myself in three words. Irritated at my “nice” label but trying to look past it, I typed: ambitious, thoughtful and optimistic. I stared at them on the Gchat screen gazing back at me. I didn’t include sexy or spontaneous. Or anything about adventure! I’m starting to travel and do things alone, should that be included? What about something about attitude? I can be a bitch if I really try! Or when someone royally pisses me off like Mr. P, oh my god, he can definitely bring that side out of me. Are those really the words to describe me? Really?
I typed to her: Doesn’t that make me sound boring? With her usual elegance, she replied, Thoughtful means you have the skill of making sure cards magically arrive right on time, ambitious means you moved here all on your own and made it happen without fearing the worst, and optimistic means you’re trying online dating, you believe in people, you believe in luck, you believe in fate, and you’re excited! That does not make you boring, that makes you, you.
I didn’t let go of my irritation that night, I went to sleep believing no one would message me — the nice girl. Or the guys that did, would be so intolerably irritating or nice guys that are waiting until marriage for sex or sport that button up with khaki look that I despise, I would curse myself a little bit more for being nice.
Staring up at my ceiling I decided how I wanted my profile to read: I’m so incredibly happy and satisfied with my life that I’m standing here in a black dress, drinking champagne and laughing, not caring what you think or if you want to go out with me. I want it to say: I’m sassy and independent, don’t mess with me unless you have big enough balls to match my courage, and the ability to wow a real woman. I want it to be like this: cool, confident, sarcastic, sexy and totally unavailable unless it’s a really, really incredible guy. I picture myself dripping in diamonds with a slender frame, red, red lips, standing in sky-scraper heels on a rooftop with Manhattan as my background, with a look that says: Don’t f*** with me.
But let’s be honest – that’s just not me. I am nice. A nice Southern girl who moved to the big city. Right? Or maybe – maybe – I’m confusing nice with boring. Nice isn’t boring – it’s…nice.
I am happy and satisfied with my life. I do wear black and drink champagne with my friends, not caring what a man thinks or doesn’t. I am definitely sassy in the right circumstance and I was raised to be an independent thinker. I’d like to think my ballsy courage is one of my greatest traits, and currently, I’d say I’m pretty unavailable unless a dreamboat comes sailing along. The thing is, even if I’m all of those things, I’m still a fun girl…with a heart. The girl who will say what she thinks, but kindly. The girl who is strong enough to walk away but will feel a little twang of guilt for having to do so. The girl who helps others but also remembers herself. The girl who dances on tabletops but also makes sure her friends don’t tumble while they’re joining her. The girl who is undeniably strong, but equally undeniably sensitive, too. I do lead with my heart instead of my breasts. I say what I want, I know what I want and go after what I want – but I don’t walk all over people to get there. I’m not that model-esque thing standing in the corner of an overpriced club downtown, I’m more the girl who hangs out at a lounge in the West Village, eying the guy with blue eyes and crazy, curly hair. And while I may first be attracted to his mystery and his sex appeal, or his comfortable confidence that’s not too arrogant, what will keep me attracted to him is how thoughtful he is. And the ambition that drives his optimistic view on life.
Maybe nice girls and nice guys finish last – if so, I might have a long way to go. But I don’t think being nice is a turnoff, I think being boring is. And they’re not the same thing, though it may be easy to confuse the two. I may not be all of the things I think make someone cool, and I may have more sugar-and-spice than frogs, snails and puppy-dog tails – but one thing I’ll never be… is boring.
Because if I was boring – I wouldn’t have woken up to a few messages in my inbox the next morning and two dates planned this weekend. Looks like nice girls aren’t so bad, after all.