Good Girl

by Deb Andrychuk

7 July, 2010

I have to admit. I have always followed the rules and been a “nice girl.” In second grade, my teacher, Miss Pickle (yes, that was her real name) told my mom that I was “such a good rule follower” and she even wrote that “I always colored in the lines” on my progress report.

As I got older, I was always chosen as teacher”s pet and got to be the classroom informant when the teacher had to step out into the hallway or over to the principal”s office. I would plead with the kids in class, “Please, please be good! I don’t want to write your name down and get you in trouble!” FYI, being the class nark scores you serious brownie points with teachers, but not so much with your classmates. Somehow I escaped getting the crap beat out of me at recess all through elementary school, although I do recall taking some exceptionally hard throws near the head in dodge-ball.

In my teens and into my early 20s, I tried to shake the good girl image, but it was never natural for me to be bad and so I was stuck with this label that I began to loathe. I tried to defy nature by wearing outrageous outfits and cutting spikes into my hair like a punk rocker, but failed miserably. People would say, “Oh don’t you look cute!” when I was decked out like Joan Jett. And, dressing up like one of Adam Ant”s groupies just didn’t seem believable when I was still riding around town on my pink Huffy ten-speed. Nope, and I found out that I was just too nice to deviate from my “goody-goody” attire found at JC Penney’s.

Fast forward a few (several) years when I was going for an internal promotion at my job. I remember one of the interviewers saying, “Oh, now I know who you are! You’re that really nice girl from floor four.” From the way the comment was delivered, I didn’t know whether to be offended or say thank you because seriously, that is not what I wanted to be known for. What about my impeccable work ethic, my unmatched productivity, impressive product knowledge or my willingness to be a team player? But, of course, I took the high road and smiled and nodded yes.

Now that I think about it, I’m glad that I was regarded as nice and not considered a jerk. I mean, who wants to be labeled as a jerk? And, anyway, what’s wrong with smiling at people and being the one who waves hi from across the room at a meeting? If you ask me, it’s a rare talent to be nice all of the time.

And, if you are ready to stick your fingers down your throat, then I challenge you to be nice to everyone you interact with for the next month. Smile, do the parade wave, and converse pleasantly with everyone. I think you will have a new found respect for me and my fellow goodie-two-shoes, because it’s not as easy as it looks. And, if it makes you feel a little better, relish the fact that I have three teenagers at home who tell me at least once a week how I am the meanest parent in town. “Mom, are you kidding me? You are so mean to make me___________” (insert major atrocity imposed by mean mom, such as “clean my room, wash the dishes or study for my math test” in the blank.) Ah, finally, a breakthrough!

This truly warms my heart because, at last, I can shake the good girl image.