Nice and Fine

Etymology, or the origin of words, is a fascinating topic for me. Did you know “nice” is derived from the Latin nescius meaning “unaware, ignorant”? Over centuries it evolved and by the 15th century it meant “refined, culture” especially in polite society.

There’s another interesting word, polite. Most women were brought up to be nice and polite, meaning don’t take up space, don’t make waves, to behave ourselves. It’s still happening of course and the damage it does can be severe, but slowly we are making progress.

The quote “well-behaved women seldom make history” has been misattributed to many amazing women over the years, though according to google it was actually said by Harvard professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in the 1970s. Since this is not a research paper I didn’t do too much to verify if this is actually true, but PBS says so, which is good enough for me. Kudos to Professor Ulrich.

Let’s circle back to the word nice. When someone says “Have a nice day” to you now days you have to really listen to how it’s said to know if you’re being told to f### off or if it’s sincere. All over social media, especially on TikTok, I’ve noticed women and queer folx telling haters on their pages to “have the day you deserve”.

I find this delightful. Nothing like being so proper and polite as to make awful people feel uncomfortable. Killing them with kindness. The southern woman perfected this years ago with “Bless your heart”. I love me some Julie Sugarbaker!

Then there’s the word ‘fine’. Everybody knows that if any of the women in your life say “I’m fine” you are in so much trouble and good luck finding out what you did. My new lady friend says “I’m fine. It’s fine. Everything is fine.” all the time and it cracks me up. It has become a running joke.

My friends take up space, don’t be nice, and have a great day!

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