July 16, 2013 at 5:00 PM ET
Make no mistake! "Nice is Just a Place in France" by The Betches isn't so much a self-help book as it is a rousing, deeply irreverent call-to-arms for women to shrug off the trappings of being nice in order to attain a life-affirming level of fabulous insouciance. Here's an excerpt.
Introduction to the Best Book You’ll Ever Read
Jambo! If you’re anything like us, and we’ll assume you are because you’re reading our book, you probably have a very short attention span, so we’ll keep this introduction brief. But first we must commend you on already making it farther into a book than Helen Keller ever could. Nice.
Apologies if that last comment was insensitive. Relax, it’s not like she can see it anyway. That, however, was a test, and if we’ve already offended your sensibilities, we advise you to walk away. The ride toward enlightenment on which you’re about to embark is not going to get any smoother.
So what is this book? It’s like a guide to everything, but really it’s just all the s--t that no one will say out loud. A collection of truths, if you will. As you read on, you’ll find yourself agreeing that, in most cases, conventional wisdom can and should go f--- itself. For example, life is not a box of chocolates. Instead, you should give that box of chocolates to someone else to eat, learn from their expanding ass what happens to people who sample chocolates as a hobby, and remain a size 2. Or a personal favorite of ours: A watched pot never boils. . . . Really? Um, yeah, we’re fairly sure it does boil, at the exact same rate, regardless of whether you’re watching. We know this because we once boiled water to clean our bong.
But the most important thing this book will teach you is in the title, Nice Is Just a Place in France. What does it mean, exactly? Simply put, niceness is boring and overrated. Girls who think that being “nice” is something to aspire to are most likely setting themselves up for a life of mediocrity, boredom, and cats.
We’re not saying you should be a huge bitch and never give a s--t about anyone. Having friends is definitely encouraged; we even devote a whole chapter to them. We’re simply cautioning you against becoming what we’ve dubbed the “nicegirl.”
What Is the Nicegirl?
The nicegirl plays by the rules without ever questioning them. She’s dull, lacks depth, lets people walk all over her, yet brings nothing to the table. If she disappeared, you wouldn’t even notice. She’s the girl who rarely colors outside the lines of her life, and even then only in baby pink. She’s the kind of girl who uses a real bookmark. In other words, she’s boring.
What’s so bad about being nice? Nothing. We have no problem with girls who are nice people, though we personally know only one or two. All we’re saying is that you should learn to be a girl who looks out for herself first and does not allow others to take advantage of her. Ideally, you should be doing the advantage-taking. Think about it, if you were ever describing someone you really respected or admired, would you ever describe this person as “nice”? No way. You would have a list of fifty other interesting things to say about that person before you would ever resort to that word. “Nice” is what you’d call someone who’s so melba you can’t even take the time to think of why you don’t like them. To call them dry toast would be generous, because even dry toast has flavor, whereas nicegirls do not.
The way we see it, nicegirls are a problem for the whole female gender. They perpetuate the stereotypes that women are inferior, that we’re not smart or funny, and that we should stay in the
kitchen while men continue running things. Sometimes this works to our advantage. For instance, we definitely don’t want to work. However, not on the basis that we’re too stupid to do so; it’s simply because we want rich husbands who would make that pointless.
So what does not being a nicegirl have to do with winning? The underlying principle of winning is understanding why and when you don’t need to be nice, which is most of the time (unless you’re talking to your dog). The reality of being a nicegirl is that you’ll be pushed over, looked down upon, and considered boring. Think Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. Actually, think Anne Hathaway period. Women can’t win by accommodating people; we need to be decisive and know what we want and achieve it in a smart way, while putting forth minimal effort for optimal results. And that’s what this book is about.
We’re also not writing about the Charlie Sheen version of #winning, which is the alpha-male idea of winning, also known as acting like a massive d------t. We’re talking about the female version of succeeding at life, which contrary to traditional feminist propaganda isn’t necessarily synonymous with becoming your company’s first female CEO. We’re talking about getting what you want and coming out on top of any situation: relationships, career, friends, enemies, and all the acquaintances in between. And, of course, choosing the right Facebook profile picture.
So who’s the girl who’s always winning? She, my frenemies, is the betch.
So WTF Is a Betch?
You may not know the word, but you definitely know the girl. She’s the girl who has guys wrapped around her finger, whose outfit is always perfectly conceived, and who magically accomplishes whatever she wants, whether it’s getting an amazing job at twenty-two or engaged at twenty-five, and she does it effortlessly. She may seem unapproachable, but those who are lucky enough to know her are likely to claim that she’s “really great if you’re friends with her, but she can be a huge bitch.”
But unlike those girls who peak in high school, the betch is the one who always has (mostly) everything figured out, minus maybe a stomach pump or two. Everything she associates with is trendy, every guy wants to date her, and every girl wants to be her friend, but not because she’s, like, kind or anything. She’s edgy, speaks her mind, and commands a room just by being in it.
If you find yourself smiling right now, it’s either because you think you’re this girl or you want to be her. And who better to tell you how than the people who like invented her?
It’s easy to confuse the word “betch” with “bitch,” but make no mistake, they’re vastly different. It’s like how nicegirls read magazines, but you can be a not-nicegirl and read magazines. Bitches are not automatically betches. No girl wants to be called a bitch, even though she most definitely acts like one; that is, girls want to be strong, confident, not care what people say about them, and not take s--t from anyone. But there has never been a word that embodies this girl. Guys are bros; they do bro-y things. Until we popularized the term “betch,” girls never had a name. Regardless of what she says, every girl wants to be a betch, because a betch gets what she wants.
Betchiness is a way to succeed in the world, with a vagina, in a real way. Who are we to know anything about this? We’re just a few girls who realized that there’s more to life than being really, really ridiculously good-looking. (But not that much.)
Excerpted from Niceis Just a Place in France by The Betches. Copyright © 2013 by TheBetches. Excerpted by permission of GalleryBooks, an imprint of Simon& Schuster. All rights reserved.