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No More Mr. Nice Guy

I can remember numerous times in my life when I have been described as a “nice guy”. I guess that is not a bad thing to be, but it just seems so bland. “He is so nice.” What does that mean exactly? Does it refer to a person who helps others, is thoughtful and kind, or does it mean he doesn’t pick his nose and belch in public? 

 Nice is such a non-commitment word. It doesn’t really bring forth any distinct images. It comes off sounding like you are describing a person who is just sufficient. It is someone who fits acceptably into society. It is like being considered beige in a world of color.  

“Nice” is a generic way to describe something. It is a politically correct word that indicates you're not displeased with something or someone, but you have no true impression, other than it left a pleasant or nonthreatening feeling. The phrase “nice guys finish last,” does not mean that you have to be mean or cutthroat to get ahead – it means that you are beige, and no one noticed you on their way up the ladder of success.  You simply blended into the background “nicely”.

Isn’t it about time all the people who use “nice” in their vocabulary tried to be more succinct in their descriptions? How many times have we heard “I had a nice time,” Is that just someone’s way of saying they made it through the event without having to slit their wrists, or does it mean they had a fantastic evening of scrumptious food, interesting conversation and laughter?    

What about hearing, “that was nicely done.” Are you being told that you completed something without “f---ing” it up, or does it mean you really did a fantastic job and should be admired? It all gets lost in the word “nice”.

I have contemplated this subject, as I mentioned at the beginning, because I have always been the “nice” person.  It always bothered me to be just a generic good guy. As I ruminated on the subject, I realized that I was responsible for making myself the “beige” Mr. Nice Guy. I have spent most of my life trying to blend into the crowd. 

As a child we haven’t yet developed the filters that can close off one’s individuality. We express ourselves with wild abandon and creativity. We expose the core of our true personalities. As we grow and begin to socialize with others, we then strive to fit in and be accepted into our peer group. School can be a tough proving ground as we struggle to find acceptance.

I remember being teased in grade school as being a sissy or acting like a girl.  Being in fourth or fifth grade it was devastating to me, that I suddenly didn’t seem to fit in with “the boys”.  It was upsetting to me to be singled out. I suddenly seemed to stand out as being different and not accepted by my peers. To make matter worse, I was a very shy child, so I certainly wasn’t going to confront any bullies or question their opinion.

In retrospect, that is when I decided to become “beige”. I wanted to blend in and not be noticed, because in my mind being noticed meant being held up for ridicule.  I wanted to be a part of the scenery and not an actor on the stage. I guess I became pretty good at blending in, and my shyness certainly helped. I was so shy that if I farted everyone assumed it was the dog.

It is tough growing up feeling like you can never truly be yourself, because who you are is not okay with the world. I was so busy trying to blend in, fit in and just be part of the group, that I lost who I really was. When you reach puberty it even becomes more difficult as sexuality gets added to the mix. I tried to bury the creative part of me – the puppeteer, the painter, and the writer – because maybe it would appear too flamboyant, too gay and attract attention.

I donned my “nice suit” very well. For the most part, I blended, avoided or didn’t participate. If you are starting to feel sad or thinking, “awe poor Vince.” – or if you’re hearing the stirring of violins like some bad LIFETIME “Movie of the Week”  - stop it!!  This isn’t my pity party – table for one.

I have realized as a mature adult that you don’t have to live a life of ordinary and “nice”. You can be proud and show your “True Colors” and explode across the sky like a “Firework”. (Pause and sing a chorus of one of those songs.)  Be yourself and true to who you are. Follow what you are passionate about and not what you think is expected of you. It is so invigorating to know that society is changing and that acceptance for being different has made a stride forward. 

I have learned through experience and personal training that, we as humans all want to be acknowledged for our presence on the planet and our positive impact on the people in our lives. It is important to tell someone that they are inspiring, talented, beautiful, funny, courageous, thoughtful, etc.

I have found that I am a kaleidoscope, and in that ever-changing array of colors and patterns there is no “beige”.  I have let all the naysayers go, and once again I have discovered my creativity, and the fact that I can express what I am. I can share my thoughts through my writing and creating this blog.  I don’t have to accept just being “nice”. I want to make my mark on the world, and let people know that I have something to say. I don’t want to be “Mr. Cellophane” anymore.

The next time you go to describe someone or something and the word “NICE” comes to mind - delete it. Use a more vivid, descriptive word, and give that person or thing the credit deserved.  Remember, we are trying to eliminate “beige” in this world of vibrant color.  Dispose of the ordinary and mundane. There are a lot of people like me who thought they just needed to fit in and quietly make it through life. In actuality, they are dying inside to express who they really are. Maybe they want to slip into their meat dress like Lady Gaga, paint a portrait of a Campbell’s Soup Can like Andy Warhol or write a play like William Shakespeare. Whatever they dream of doing, the product of their creative expression would never wind up in the one word category of “nice”.

I challenge everyone to really examine if you are following your passion in life. Whether it is strapping on your kinky boots and strutting down the runway, or picking up a guitar and learning to play a song. You owe it to yourself to break free of the ordinary, the humdrum, and the status quo. We all reach a point where it is now or never. Mr. Nice Guy just won’t do anymore. I am replacing the “beige” with brilliance, and I’ll see where it takes me.


  1. Great words. Authentic and personal.

  2. Awesome! Most people would never think of the word "nice" as you have just explained. I will do my best to choose another word or phrase in place of "nice". Of course I will now have to think of you when I come across these situations. Your blogs are so NICELY written. Oh, I mean, your blogs are so well written.


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