On Being Vanilla



In the world of ice-cream, my friend is definitely Rocky Road with extra sauce and sprinkles. 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 33 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.


Vanilla is used as a derogatory term to describe someone, or their lifestyle as unexciting and conventional. Boring. 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?

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75 thoughts on “On Being Vanilla

  1. Great observations about the popularity of something referred to as “bland.” The is an underlying comfort and appreciate for the “bland” because it is comfortable and and never disappoints. You can count on it to blend; and yet everyone knows when it’s missing.

    As for me, I’m probably a soft-serve with a few sprinkles on top 😉

  2. I am and have always been the “vanilla” in the family of chocolate (I even married and divorced a chocolate ice cream kinda guy). So thank you most kindly for the reminder of exactly how important, loved and respected VANILLA is all over the world. We rock, we rock.

  3. Nothing wrong with vanilla! You can dress it up, or dress it down. It goes with anything. What’s not to like, whether we mean ice cream or people?

  4. You know what’s great about vanilla? It goes with everything, can be mixed with anything and even alone it’s still darn good. Definitely the spice of life 😉

  5. I think I would be chocolate espresso. Like vanilla, the chocolate is pretty basic, but not as versatile and you’d have to actually taste it to know there is espresso in there.
    Great post!

  6. Vanilla is my favorite too! I think it’s because people forget how good a really good vanilla can be, and that’s why it gets a bad rap. I think my flavor would probably be something like mango, because people think of me as something exotic, though I’m really a vanilla kind of girl. I’ve always wished I could blend into the background, but people tend to remember me, especially because in pictures I’m doing something memorably awkward or slightly insane-looking.

  7. I’ve always been vanilla but actively choose it in life and in my ice-cream! What could be more creamier and smooth than vanilla ice-cream? Why adulterate something that is already perfect, that’s just a crime against ice-cream!! Keep up the good work!!

  8. LOVE this post, Suzie! Particularly this line, “Vanilla doesn’t pretend to be anything else, it is what it is. I like my life and it’s vanilla existence.” Nothing wrong with vanilla, girl! 🙂

    I have to admit I am complicated, colorful and messy. I love layers of nutty chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips, pretzels & peanut butter crunch. The crunchier and the messier the better. LOL. Have you tried guacamole ice cream? I heard it’s delish. 🙂

  9. What an excellent post Suzie. I love that you own being vanilla. I think if you can see and accept yourself the way you are then you are instantly interesting and appealing. I know the type you’re talking about with your friend, however let it be said that you write like someone that many people are fascinated by and want to get to know!

  10. FYI I have been dark chocolate, rocky road and now I am vanilla too. Although being vanilla means that you can fly under the radar and do things without anybody noticing

  11. Vanilla is awesome. Once you are Rocky Road that’s what you are but vanilla can be dressed up a little or played down as needs be. Revel in your vanillaness. Great post.

  12. Great post. I think I used to be a vanilla but as I have grown older I am more of a tutti fruti – ‘a colourful concoction’ – simply put – I’m so mixed up I don’t know what I am!

  13. I’m a vanilla ice cream as well, but probably the 99 type with a flake sticking out of it which donates the occasional outbursts (mostly humorous) I have every now and again.

    There is another type of vanilla I enjoy very much, in fact you can’t beat it. Lets just say that I am referring to something that you would probably not find in 50 Shades of Grey.

  14. I’m not sure what flavor I am. I imagine that I’d be a mix of whatever ingredients I feel like throwing into the dish on any given day. Vanilla definitely isn’t a bad thing. I love the smell and flavor of vanilla. As far as your friend, I would bet you and all of us have our situations in which we are that confident person that is a magnet for others. We all have our own sweet spot where we shine.

  15. I’m Ben and Jerry’s Pistachio Pistachio. Not much to look at and name’s not as cool as some of the others, but surprisingly good. 😉

  16. I’m vanilla with perhaps a hint of mint and a bit of chocolate. Basically I’m Vienetta. Hi I’m Vienetta. Mint Vienetta 😉

    Nothing wrong with vanilla though- I LOVE IT. It’s my favourite perfume- I wear Laura Mercier Vanilla everyday XX

  17. There’s nothing wrong with vanilla – it’s perfect with crumble and apple pie and acceptable all by itself, so I guess that makes you a good all-rounder. I’m a rum and raisin sort of girl as the raisins could count as one of my five a day and I love the smell of rum as it reminds me of holidays to far-flung places. I guess that makes me a bit of a dreamer.

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