Nice is Different Than Good

When doing improv (my new creative love), one of the main components of building a scene is to establish the relationship between the players. Who are you to each other? What is each person’s status? A butler talking to the lady of the house is a low to high status relationship, though it’s just as good in improv if you can make the reverse work.

In real life, I spend a considerable amount of time in lower status positions. I am an assistant with no hope of flipping status at work for comedic effect. I am a restaurant manager who constantly has to placate customers. Once, Seth Meyers had brunch at my old restaurant and he asked me where the bathroom was. I shrunk into the wall and stared at the floor and pointed him in the right direction.

But I am beginning to see that the low status I hold might be more of my own doing than that of the world. I have always wanted people to think of me as nice. Nice takes what is offered. Nice doesn’t challenge personal injustices. Nice prioritizes being liked over getting what she wants.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been asking for things I want. Nicely. In return, I’ve gotten a new apartment at a price I can afford and a date that is convenient for me. I’ve gotten an extra discount at Banana Republic and the right kind of sweetener put in my morning iced coffee. And today, I got something else.

A couple of weeks ago, I found out that student dentist Timmy the Tooth improperly installed my crown. It would have to be replaced. In the past, I would have privately cried and flung myself from chair to bed, kicking and screaming, before deciding that nothing good could come from contacting NYU and that the world was horrible. After all, nice girls are grateful they got something so inexpensive in the first place and learn the lesson that they get what they pay for. Fuck that.

After taking the time to rage and fling myself upon various soft pieces of furniture, I took action. I called a patient advocate at NYU. We spoke a few times. NYU asked for proof of the faulty crown. My new dentist, and I in turn, happily obliged. Today, I got an email offering to fix the crown or a refund, my choice.

I have been a low status person for a long time. I spent a lot of adolescent social time being quiet, lest someone notice and pick on me. I have stayed away from boys I liked because I thought that affection could never be reciprocated. I have apologized with every nerve in my body during auditions, simply for being there. That is over. The next time Seth Meyers asks me where the bathroom, I am going to stand proudly, look him in the eye and say, “This way, Mr. Meyers.”

No, “This way, Seth.”

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One thought on “Nice is Different Than Good

  1. I can completely relate, and I’ve come to realise that it’s a process.
    There’s a high price to be paid for being nice and I’ve concluded that I wasn’t asked to stand in for Mother Theresa either. Good for you! Great post, btw. 🙂

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