Remember when you were younger how grown-ups had to occasionally remind you, “if you can’t say something nice…” And they reminded you because you just threw-up socially with your uncomfortable little bout of Tourette’s or you spoke “the thought bubble” – the one you’re supposed to keep under wraps in polite company.
Then, one sad day your family turned you loose on the rest of us and you had to be responsible for your own mouth. Sometimes the warning lights would make you pause, while other times you’d see the red light and floor-it only to realize it wasn’t worth it after the bar brawls or the local gossip advertised your little embarrassing gaffe in neon to the rest of the world, sending you on your way to being a social outcast.
Well, I’m here to tell you that phrase didn’t simply mean “don’t say “ugly” things – it also covered the “non-compliment”. Basically, the phrase literally amounts to say nothing, nada, zip if it’s not “nice” – and by nice, we’re not talking drooly, over-the-top, blathering flatter – it’s just what it is, it’s “nice”.
With that in mind, I’d like to addres a few comments I’ve received this week regarding my hair (note all comments were not followed by anything resembling the phrase, “it looks nice”):
“Did you dye your hair?” No, this is what a week’s worth of non-washing will get you. So far, I’m digging the results and the freedom from the shower. LIBERATING!
“Your hair is darker.” CRAP! I distinctly remember saying “blonde”. Seriously, is it not blonde?
“Did you do it on purpose?” Oh hell no, that hairdresser tied me down and made me pay. I’m filing assault and aggravated kidnapping charges and don’t think I’ll forget about the emotional distress. I need therapy!
“It matches your shirt.” Oh hey, I thought I wore the black shirt – must have accidentally grabbed the chocolatey-eggplant one by mistake.
“Did you do it yourself?” Yes. Well, I had some help from an epileptic chimpanzee. We’d like to do yours next. Sleepover? You should see what we can do with a needle and some ice.
Seriously, if you can’t say something nice (or at least not inane), don’t say anything at all. Inane just doesn’t count as “nice”.