There’s this thing called Iowa nice. You know, we are so happy out here in the midwest that we wave at strangers, smile at everyone and are just downright nice.

People being awfully nice in Iowa City
People being awfully nice in Iowa City

Right. BIG stereotype.

There is even a funny video about it.

Honestly, people are friendly here. So friendly that growing up, I felt like I was not taught that conflict was a good thing. When I moved to France, everyone fought. They argued for the sake of arguing. The French just like playing the Devil’s Advocate, and I learned to embrace that.

This shy little Iowa girl got a little less nice, and a little more assertive. And that was not a bad thing.iowa tshirt

However, sometimes the French just go too far. In the middle of the night, I had an exchange with my ex-husband who is trying to get a form notarized in France so that I can get Ballet Boy’s American passport renewed. Apparently it is not common to have notaries, and the ex tried to go to the American Consulate to get some answers. They were on lockdown, which is not a surprise given the Charlie Hebdo massacre and other recent terrorist attacks in France.

The Ex still tried to push the guard at the gate to give him answers or let him in as a walk-in appointment. I can just imagine the scene: American military guard doesn’t give a crap about the angry Frenchman pushing for special treatment. Did the Ex get anywhere? No way. He had to go home and make an appointment online like everyone else.

This made think a little today about ways in which to get what you want. I was pretty angry yesterday at my gym. They added a $49 enhancement fee on my bill with no warning. When I went to ask about it, I told the poor attendant at the desk that I knew it wasn’t his fault. He smiled meaningfully and told me it was his last day.

When I spoke to the manager today, she was fielding tons of phone calls about the same issue. I applauded her patience and told her she must be having a horrible week. By the end of our discussion, she had given me the general manager’s email with the apology that she couldn’t personally authorize reimbursements.

So, Iowa nice goes a long way. I may not have resolved my gym problem, but at least I didn’t take my anger out on the wrong people. I wrote a killer email to the manager firmly expressing my disappointment in his lack of transparency and poor business practices. As a grown up Iowa girl, I’ve learned to be assertive yet kind to people, and I prefer this to being pushy and overly critical.

We will see what the outcome will be. I’m going to switch back to my old gym as I prefer the Olympic pool to the 18 yard disaster at my local gym, and I miss the state of the art Expresso bikes with fun videos to keep me going in the winter. And I miss my gym buddies who are at the old gym. Candy Ass and Inroncelloman, I’ll be back! And I’ll be nice.


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