In Defence of ‘Nice’ People

This morning, I found myself remembering something a friend of a friend once said to me over a dinner table in a restaurant:

‘All girls want a bad boy, deep down. They don’t want someone who’s nice.’

At the time I laughed, shrugged her statement off, and continued to eat my dinner (priorities – food first, then debate). I interpreted her use of ‘nice’ as a criticism, a flaw in a man’s personality. I find generalisations like this to be a) sexist b) wrong and c) infuriating. I was told at school not to use the word ‘nice’ when describing something or someone, so from a young age I’ve avoided it. Now as an adult, I am re-claiming the word and accepting that I am in fact ‘nice’ and there’s nothing wrong with that. So, in defence of ‘nice’ men and women:

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘nice’ as something or someone that is ‘pleasant, agreeable and satisfactory’. In the Oxford Concise Thesaurus, ‘nice’ can be substituted for any number of words including: amusing, charming, friendly, sympathetic, compassionate, and satisfying. So why, when looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend would you want to find someone who is void of these qualities?

Was this girl suggesting that if men are ‘nice’ then they’re not really men? If so, that is a shining example of how sexism is still ruining our society. Men can be good and bad, just as women can be good and bad; we’re all human and we all experience the spectrum of human emotion. I find it insulting that society still expects men to be strong, stern, controlled and women to be subordinate, weak and vulnerable. We have never been able to fill these Victorian stereotypes; so why are we still keeping up the charade? These qualities shouldn’t be simply masculine or feminine; they should be re-defined as HUMAN.

If that’s what she meant by ‘nice’, then what did she mean by ‘bad’? Did she mean ‘bad’ as in ‘passionate’ or ‘unpredictable’? Is she suggesting that ‘nice’ people can’t be passionate or that ‘bad’ people can’t be boring? WHY IS SHE MESSING WITH MY HEAD SO MUCH?! Just because I have ‘nice’ manners doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t want to just punch people directly in the face. Just because I appear to be ‘nice’ and quiet, doesn’t mean I couldn’t turn Kill Bill on you. We all have the ability to be passionate or unpredictable and therefore ‘bad’, some of us just seem to control these urges better than others.

If she didn’t mean that, then perhaps when she said ‘bad’ she meant ‘evil’ or ‘criminal’? I can’t say I’ve ever dated anyone who was inherently evil/the spawn of Satan, but I did fall for someone who loved drugs a lot more than anything else. Although his drug usage was a crime in the eyes of the law; I never thought it made him a ‘bad’ person. He had many different issues that he couldn’t cope with, and ultimately I couldn’t cope with them either. He kindly let me go (at the time I didn’t see being dumped as ‘kind’, I wanted to KILL him, but with hindsight I see that this seemingly ‘bad’ action was actually ‘nice’). Knowing him taught me a lot of things; mainly that I didn’t want to date someone who needed drugs to feel okay. Perhaps that sounds selfish, does that make me a ‘bad’ person?

On a more serious note, I doubt women enjoy being treated badly, or that they actively seek out men who will treat them as inferior; but perhaps some women are more insecure than others and don’t want to be alone. I’m sure everyone (including myself) has been involved with someone who they know, deep down, is bad for them, but they continue to salvage the wreckage anyway, hoping the person they love will ‘change’. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. The best thing anyone can do in this situation is admit it hasn’t worked, and move on. Admittedly, this is much easier to type than to actually act out in real life, and of course I am only talking about being treated badly on a mildly emotional level; I haven’t even tapped in to the terrible truth of physically violent and abusive relationships. I don’t think the girl who made the aforementioned statement was thinking about that either. If she had considered that, perhaps she would’ve changed her view.

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