On Being Vanilla



In the world of ice-cream, my friend is definitely Rocky Road with extra sauce. She’s striking. When she walks into a room, people don’t just notice, they stop what they are doing to stare, and some will even get up and walk over in an effort to speak to her.

The thing is, there isn’t anything specific about my friend that makes her stand out. She’s pretty, but couldn’t anywhere near be classed as model quality, she doesn’t go overboard with her clothes and make-up, she’s intelligent, but not a genius, she’s classy and well-spoken. She possesses that ‘something’ – that special X Factor quality that separates her from the pack. Even more frustratingly, she’s genuinely a very nice person and has no idea about the power that she holds. Her life, to me, seems exciting – she likes to travel and experience new things and isn’t scared of taking risks. She’s a natural leader without being bossy or rude.

I have always been, and always will be, vanilla. This isn’t said in an attempt to hunt for false compliments, it is simply fact – at the age of 32 I have had plenty of time to realise my own strengths and weaknesses. In a group of people I have never been the one to stand out from the crowd – I am that person that merges into the background, the one that blends in. I am not the risk taker – I’ve always been more of a follower than a leader.

imageVanilla is used as a derogatory term to describe someone, or their lifestyle as unexciting and conventional. Boring. Β I used to feel that being thought of as vanilla was a negative thing. Indeed, I used to feel a little short-changed when I was offered ice-cream and then handed vanilla. However, vanilla surprised me. I discovered that:

  • Vanilla is the second-most expensive spice after saffron.
  • It is thought to have calming effects and reduce anxiety and stress.
  • Vanilla is used throughout the baking and cosmetics industry and is often placed in certain foods to eliminate acidity.
  • Despite its labour – intensive growth and expense, vanilla remains a popular spice in the western world.
  • From the thousands of ice-cream flavours that exist, vanilla is still consistently voted as the favourite.

As I have aged, I have grown to like being vanilla. It may be a standard flavour, a basic flavour, but to me it is a dependable one that doesn’t change, and yet can be incredibly versatile at the same time in that it compliments the flavours around it. Vanilla doesn’t pretend to be anything else, it is what it is. I like my life and it’s vanilla existence.

And besides, this means that us vanilla girls get to add a cheeky topping occasionally!

What about you? What flavour of ice-cream are you?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

47 thoughts on “On Being Vanilla

  1. Well I certainly don’t want to be Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream. I’m not vanilla, but I might be chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Vanilla is my favorite scent and I do love vanilla bean ice cream. By the way, you don’t personify vanilla on your blog. You’re an interesting and creative writer. Your blog stands out in the cacophony of voices competing for attention. You may be chocolate with marshmallow swirls.

  2. I love vanilla, as a scent, in candles, as an addition in food. And it’s the only ice cream I truly enjoy. I prefer to add extras occasionally. Best of both worlds. Another reason to love you. πŸ™‚ x

  3. Vanilla is classic, timeless and goes well with almost anything.

    I love the “cheeky topping” observation too πŸ˜€

  4. I have always been vanilla in life (I am a chocolate lover as far as deserts!) As I have gotten older, I have realized my worth as an individual more and more. While still being vanilla, my humor is spicy and I use it when I can. Once I hit fifty, I no longer cared if people liked me or not (this was always an issue to me, especially as a teen.) Now my feeling is “F” them if they don’t like me. It’s their loss! Vanilla, with some cinnamon perhaps?!

  5. I am also Miss Vanilla with a standout friend, but I love your “cheeky topping” comment. I do step outside my vanilla box at times, spurred on by said friend and moments of insanity. It makes life comfortable, yet interesting.

  6. But you do stand out, Suzie, and you are unique and special. Look at yourself through your blog – note all the followers and friends you’ve cultivated. If you are vanilla, you are the exotic one.

  7. I think I might be chocolate vanilla twist on a cone…(or maybe that’s just my favorite way to have ice cream…)

    In order for a leader to truly shine, he or she will need someone to follow them and help them take care of all the nitty gritty details.

  8. Perhaps the kind with the chocolate cows (Cow Tracks, I believe). Not sure why but I love eating cow-shaped chocolate bits πŸ™‚ I loved this post, and I think we can all be a bit vanilla sometimes, which as you pointed as isn’t always a bad thing.

  9. I’ve often told one of my best friends that her love life is like Ben & Jerry’s Moose Tracks ice cream while mine is vanilla…but hey, I like the positive spin on vanilla!

  10. Vanilla is so soothing to the soul. What flavor am I? I’d say Neopolitan because I change depending upon the context of the situation–As an introvert, I need those vanilla times but I’m also a person who has to lead and be in front of hundreds of people at times so that is where the chocolate comes in. And the strawberry is the part of me that is deliciously unexpected. I had a friend tell me that I am an enigma and that he had never met a professor like me before. I took that as a compliment πŸ™‚

  11. Dear Suzie –

    Without Vanilla loved ones in our lives, Rocky Roads like me and your friend would never be able to expect the honest feedback that you give to us, that sincere affection that inundates our lives. Our β€œextra sauce” would not be worth anything if we couldn’t share it with our patient, yet smart and interesting vanilla ones.

    The world would be terribly boring if we all were Rocky Roads …every time. Same for vanillas dominating the planet. The magic happens when those two flavors find each other and share their zest for life from their opposite prospective.

    Talk about a ColdStone mix of flavor that is too good to pass and always stands out…in our hearts.

  12. As much as I’d love to say I’d be vanilla, or something simple, I need to be honest and say my flavor would be something like Ben and Jerry’s “Everything But The…..” – A complex mash-up of everything under the sun, from the tasty to the confusing, a flavor that is confounding in its content, but some still find quite likable. It suits me perfectly. I have so many balls in the air, so many interests and personality facets…claiming to be anything else would be a lie. :p

  13. I’m not sure which flavor reflects my personality, but my fave is Panda Paws, which is vanilla, with chunks of chocolate shaped like panda paws, hence the name. I guess that makes me vanilla with something extra.

  14. I have always used the term, boring white bread as self description. But I imagine I am now a gormet version. More tasty and fresh. πŸ˜‰ great self observations.

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