[This essay originally appeared in It’s Nice That, issue 1]

I think I am glad the word “nice” exists. It allows people who “like” certain things to abstractly describe those things without using the word “good.” I feel that using the word “nice” to describe something can imply “I like it but it is not wrong to dislike it” whereas using the word “good” can imply “I like it and therefore it is wrong to dislike it.” In conclusion of this paragraph I think the existence of the word “nice” allows people who think “there is no good or bad in art” to say things about art while still feeling like “there is no good or bad in art.”

In terms of abstractions I mostly associate the word “nice” with calmness, detachment, cleanliness, denying one’s urges to allow others more opportunities to satisfy their urges. My strongest, concrete association with the word “nice” is maybe a situation in which a 15-45 year old male walks in on a sexual act between a male friend and a female (that he and his male friend earlier discussed) and says or thinks “nice.”

My main usage of the word “nice” is maybe thinking “nice” to myself whenever my reflexes are shown to be effective, impressive, recently successful. For example if I am walking to a table and a muffin unexpectedly falls from my hand and me or someone else catches the muffin before it touches the ground I will automatically and immediately think “nice.” The more perilous the situation, like if the ground is dirty or the muffin is “heavily frosted,” the more intensely I will think “nice.”

But I feel that no matter how intensely I think “nice” I will always think it in a calm, detached manner. If my head is about to be severed by a guillotine in 18th-century France and people are spitting at me and calling me a traitor, and I am thinking hard about how to escape the situation, and I see someone in the crowd accidentally drop an ear of corn then catch it less than 12 inches from the ground with their foot, I honestly feel that I would stop thinking about how to escape from the situation in order to focus all my energy on thinking “nice” in a calm, detached manner.

The word “nice” makes me feel more meaningless and accepting of death maybe. If “there is no good or bad in art (or, viewing ‘everything’ as art, no good or bad in anything)” then it is neither good nor bad if I die (or something like that).

In conclusion I like the word “nice.” If there are ten people in a room and one person says “[a painting or book or something] is good” a certain conversation will occur; if one person says “[a painting or book or something] is nice” a certain different conversation will occur. I currently prefer participating in and listening to the second kind of conversation. I would like to add that I usually do not think that something is “nice” or “not nice.” I usually think things like “wow,” “damn,” “jesus,” “lol,” “haha,” “hehe,” “sweet,” “[nothing],” or combinations of those like “jesus/lol” or “sweet/lol.” But I feel maybe that most or all of those could replace “nice” in this essay and not change the essay. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Nicola since 1972

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