In the old suppressed, sexist tradition of ‘you’re either a whore or a saint’, women are too often taught that we are either ‘nice’ or ‘bitches’ and never the twain shall meet.
So it’s not surprising that when I was growing up I felt it necessary to suppress any snarkiness. It was hard when what I really wanted to do was say something catty or roll my eyes or even admit out loud that I was so much hotter than Lisa, my high school nemesis. Good girls just didn’t do that!
Was I evil because sometimes the shrew just had to make an appearance? It was confusing back then when anything that came out of my mouth with a sharp edge was taken as anger and nice girls just didn’t get angry. They cried. If I had a nickel for every time my brothers called me a bitch I’d have a nice plump mutual fund. And, as you probably know, being called a bitch when all you want to be is a nice girl is like being slapped in the face. I imagine some nice guys had the same problem. Naturally, I tried to avoid it.
What’s a nice girl to do? I don’t recommend being hard on yourself (like I was), especially if, at heart, you know you are a truly nice person.
Think if it this way:
1. Don’t be afraid of your bitchiness. Contrary to what your mother told you, you can be nice with a bit of sass. The bitch will not take over.
2. If you’re feeling snarky think of it as comic relief or the spice that makes a ‘nice’ girl interesting.
3. You don’t have to say it out loud. Give yourself permission to be as bitchy to yourself as you want. As long as no one’s being hurt, mumbling or rolling your eyes out of anyone’s view is OK. “Did you just say Maureen is a whore?” “OH NO! I said she’s such a bore!” Or-
4. Confide your not nice-ness to a trusted confidant, who gets it. Just be really, really careful about email or texts. You never know where they will go next.
5. Most important: Trust yourself to keep healthy limits on your inner vixen. So let the witch out once in a while, it might be good for you.
Whew! Trying not to say ‘bitch’ too much in this post was hard but I had to try because, well, it’s just not nice.