**WARNING: This post is filled with all sorts of foul language. I am advising discretion to those of you who are sensitive to the vulgarities of those who swear like truck drivers. This might not be the post for you. Truck drivers, of course, are welcome.
I have always had a potty mouth. I have no idea how I got it, since my parents are quite religious, but I got it, and it’s here to stay. A potty mouth paired with a censor-less brain-to-mouth internal wiring system and intense sarcasm can sometimes lead to catastrophe, or some really meaningful and hilarious sidebars.
Once I fell and skinned my knee on the concrete. I yelled “SHIT!” My sister heard me and blackmailed me for YEARS over that. One day, when I was a teenager, she said, “Do this, or I am going to tell mom what you said.” I replied, “Oh fucking hell, Mom, I said “shit” ten years ago when I fell and skinned my knee. Would you like to see the scar?” Then we all just laughed and laughed.
I grew up climbing trees and playing any sport that had the word “ball” in it (I love balls). I even ran track for a season so I wouldn’t be bored. Sports as a female teen were always interesting. You learn about sex on every bus ride to away games, and by the ripe age of 15 have a general knowledge of all of the bad words, their definitions, and proper usage.
By the time I went to college, I was a professional “verbal truck driver.” My very first class in college was an English course with a very attractive gay man. I can’t remember his name, but I am certain that I was in love with him, regardless of his non-desire for me (that is generally the way it goes). I like to think that it was because his first lecture was all about the bad words, and why they aren’t bad at all, they only sound bad.
He started his lecture by saying the “N” word. I cringe every time I hear that word. It is ugly and harsh and gross… no one should EVER use it. Then he said a whole bunch of other bad words, which made us all giggle and blush a little. He asked us what all these words had in common (minus their vulgar meanings, of course). He went on to explain to us 18 year old champions of foul language that curse words don’t necessarily mean bad things, but they are concocted with sounds that are harsh and brash to the ears. They also take on the flavor of what you are saying and how you are saying it.
The SH and T in SHIT keep the word short and hard, as do the F and CK in FUCK, as well as the B and TCH in BITCH. You can see where he was going with all of this very interesting information. Then he came back to the “N” word. He explained the difference between using the word with and ER and an A at the end. By ending the word with an A, you have a “friendly greeting.” By using it with an ER at the end, you are a fucking racist. Again, I find this word to make my ears burn and wish it never existed. I am particularly turned off when adolescents are using it, listening to music with it in the lyrics, and singing along to them without a second thought.
The use of harsh, short letters really make all the difference. For instance, compare the following by saying them aloud:
SHIT! vs RATS!
FUCK YOU vs SCREW YOU (please use a Schwarzenegger accent)!
DAMN IT! vs DARN IT!
ASSHOLE! vs MORON!
Yes, they are all excellent words that can successfully be used appropriately, but some are stronger than others.
An interesting side-note… Learning about the effects of the sounds changed my writing in many ways, allowing for subtle hints of joy or anger, even sarcasm. Alliteration is a powerful friend, you Seven Sided Son-of-a-Bitch.
Anyway, I had never experienced a classroom setting where there were so many (or any) curse words used, but also dissected and recombined to affect meaning and level of offense or emotion. Needless to say, I loved college from that first class. My mind was blown wide open. I realized that cursing was okay, and was used as a poignant display of emotions, whether it be a raging anger or dubious excitement. Sometimes cursing can also be used as pain reliever, like when I scraped my knee as a child. I try not to curse around kids or old people, out of common sense and respect, respectively, but being able to hold these words in when they come out so naturally is like zipping your lips and then trying to swallow the key… it’s just not possible.
There are ways to curse excellently and ways to curse like a douche. For instance, in Star Trek: Generations (1994) when Data utters his first expletive, “Oh Shit!” … That is genius! Not only is Data an android and has no feelings or use for such vocabulary, he has also never used a curse word ever! It’s so unexpected that it’s funny.
For a bad example of poor curse word usage, please watch the character Deb in any Dexter episode. She is terrible at cursing. It’s so forced and awkward. It’s like the actor was originally a ballerina and has never used profanity before in her life, and was cast to play the part of a tom-boy potty mouth super cop. Um, no. It’s just plain bad.
I have usually worked places where cursing was a norm. Working in factories and workrooms, the girls curse just as much (if not more) than the guys do. Even the sweet blonde from Georgia will slide and angry “Fuck!” in there every once in a while. I even once went to an interview, where the owner was cursing up a storm. I remember thinking, “hmmm, I might actually like it here.” Of course the cursing isn’t directed at anyone, but tossed into the universe. Like, “Shit, I just cut the shit out of my fucking finger!” or “Fuck this shit!” As long as those kinds of negative statements are offset by “Shit! That looks great!” and “Fucking hell, this is the shit!” then the energy in the universe can keep a (somewhat) dynamic equilibrium.
I find cursing to be self healing. When I jab my toe or crack my elbow on something sharp, cursing helps me emotionally and physically present that pain to the world. It helps me cope with a pain that feels like it may never go away. I also find that cursing at objects makes them do what I want. For instance, when I am at work trying to pry loose a fabric that needs to be put to work, I pull and tug and say, “Come on, you fucking fuck!” and just like magic, the roll pulls out. Name calling is also effective in these situations. When called a slut, the fabric responds in a similar manner.
Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” probably never got pelted with a sharp, hurtful “FUCK YOU.” I have a stockpile of those in my “emotional cursing arsenal” saved for just the right moment when I need to let someone know exactly how I feel about them. While I do not always intentionally throw it out there to act as a dagger, it is certainly expelled from my lips with a force reserved specifically for causing pain. Sorry (but also probably not sorry because the person, most likely, fucking deserves it).
My favorite curse word is FUCK, as you can probably tell from the amount of F-bombs dropped already. To me, it is the most versatile of curse words. It is an extremely passionate word. You can bring someone down (Fuck You!) or rile someone up (That’s fucking awesome!). You can express anger ( I’m not a fucking moron!). You can also use it to let things go (Fuck it! (which was my personal motto from 2002-2011)).
My least favorite word of all time, besides the “N” word, is C*NT. I can’t even write it. The “C” word should be reserved for situation where it’s use is absolutely necessary. A nice alternative to the “C” word (but just as vulgar and ear exploding) is C*NT’s dainty cousin, TWAT. A gal pal of mine uses this word, and she’s so sweet that she makes it sound like a term of endearment. How charming! C U Next Tuesday is also a sneaky way of throwing some shade at an asshole.
When my niece was about 1 year old, we were in church and she dropped the toy she was playing with. She yelled, “SHIT!” and bent down top pick it up. I said, “Excuse me, Gabby?” She looked me dead in the eyes and said “Shit.” in the most serious and sternest way possible. Being the cool aunt, I brushed it off with a smile and a high five (that’s my girl!). The church ladies did not approve. I didn’t give a fuck.
I have tried to rationalize having a swear jar, but I’d be really broke all of the time with a huge vacation fund. Perhaps that is the only way I will ever save money to travel the world. Then I can learn how to swear in other languages, which may come in handy if I , say, stub a toe in Spain, or smash my kneecap in China.
My dear readers, I leave you with THIS.
And please remember, there is always room for a fucking swear word, just please curse responsibly.