Friday, October 14, 2011


By the bench where my friend and I sat, we got into talking about the word 'nice' and how its meaning can be construed in various situations.

We talked about how it probably is just a word to use for lack of anything better to say. It connotes that lukewarm treatment and careful detachment. We came up with several situations to illustrate our point.

photo lifted from here

Case 1. A girl who is going out with a guy carefully planned her outfit for the night. As she descends the stairs and approaches the guy, the guy tells her 'you look nice'. It actually could be the worst thing in the world to hear. Nice is used to coat any unpleasant feeling without really overcoating it.

Case 2. When a professor says that an idea I just shared in class was nice, I feel queasy. It meant to me like it never really means anything. Something the professor says out of courtesy of my effort to participate in the class discussion. 

Case 3. That nice feeling. Nice feelings aren't the ones that make you blush. A nice feeling is that comfortable feeling you get when you think you have done something right but wished to do otherwise. 

Case 4. A nice poem. A nice poem is neither ugly nor beautiful. A nice poem neither wins a Palanca nor gets published in a legitimate literary journal. A nice poem is placed on something irrelevant to be talked about for a while then forgotten. That's a nice poem.

Case 5. A nice person. Same with the nice poem, a nice person doesn't become a despot or a Ramon Magsaysay awardee. A nice person is someone you hang out with sometimes to feel... nice. Nice person doesn't challenge your opinion. Nice person is just there when you need someone who would be... nice with you coz nice person always says nice things. The moment you figure things out, you hang out with nice person less. That's a nice person's fate. Oh... and you don't really fall headlessly in love with nice people, you just settle into that nice stability that only nice people can give. If it's a good thing or a bad thing, only time can tell.

I'm pretty sure nice isn't intended to mean this way but when used in certain situations, it certainly appears to be this distant. Like how little something is thought of. An absent regard for something one has done would get this remark. 

More often than not, nice is only just another way to say that a person (or an idea) is second-rate and... much as I hate to use this word...dispensable.


Punk Chopsticks said...

LOL boy do I know what you mean xD I am also a fellow sufferer of disposability issues. I think it's an asian thing though. Even though I know perfection is unattainable, mediocrity still sounds like a bad word to my ears.

Call me Rachelle said...

too true. i can only nod in agreement. hahaha. but having this high standard ain't bad either. :)

Yang Shumei said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yang Shumei said...

To quote Issy Reyes, "I'm not looking for anything phenomenal, the o.k. is perfectly fine. Sometimes that's asking for too much." :D

'Nice' is too safe but I guess the very fact that it's not anything intense assures, uh, longevity despite being, as you say, dispensable. Haha.