I am a woman who curses.
I admit it. Not only do I admit it, but it’s something I consider a source of pride. After all, not everyone knows that it is not only the word choice that is important, but the timing as well. Several uncouth youngsters, for instance, have been known to drop an F-bomb for every occasion, without realizing that there is a finesse that is required to make sure the words you use have the proper impact. Imagination is needed, as well as practice, to ensure that one uses the proper words in the correct context, to make the point you are choosing to make, in the way you wish to make it.
I consider it an art form. Not every sentence needs the F-word – though it certainly is the most flexible of all choices – because sometimes a simple and well-placed ‘Damn’ can do the trick. Some occasions call for one or two prime words, while other situations demand an all-out assault of everything you can think of, in every form imaginable. One must also consider the audience.
Calm down – I’m all about freedom of speech and letting your freak flag fly whenever you can, but sometimes, it is important to remember where you are, and who is around. Perhaps, a job interview or workplace is not the best place to be f’in this and f’in that. And just maybe, at church, you should not try to offend the entire congregation all at once, but rather save that joy for one on one, so that you can more thoroughly enjoy every little nuance of the interaction. And if something really truly offends someone, you can choose not to offend. Or choose to offend – but be aware of the consequences of that action.
I’ll never forget how appalled my mother was that I refused to curb my language around my young children. That, to her, was worse than the fact that I refused to refrain from cussing in public, either. Her preshush little grandbabies shouldn’t be subjected to my vile language. I had my reasons, and stuck to my guns – mainly, my children would learn it anyway, at least I could teach them when and where it was acceptable. And no one could deny how adorable my little baby girl was at two years old when she said “Stand up” in the middle of church, and it sounded exactly like “damn it!”
My kids were taught at an early age that there were mommy and daddy words, and kid words. When they were older, they could choose how they wanted to speak, and face the consequences for it. Until then, they would speak as they should, when they should. We never had a problem with them cussing at school, or in church – because they were less restricted at home.
Well, until they became teenagers.
Don’t get me wrong, my kids are still very aware that there are places they should be careful, and that they will face the consequences should they decide to ignore my advice. Where things get confusing, or easy to forget, is when one word or turn of phrase is deemed worse than all others. You can fuck and shit and damn and get a disapproving cluck but if you cross that thin little line, all hell breaks loose.
Here’s the thing: it’s about respect. You either respect your audience or you don’t. But it goes both ways – the audience either respects that you have a different point of view, or they don’t. We live in a world where everyone is so quick to get their panties in a bunch they forget that the world is full of two ways streets, streets that we all have to travel together. So you need to make choice – will you cater to your audience’s views, or stand firm in yours – or will you find some middle road where you can walk together?
I don’t have an answer. I slip at times too, and I’ve been practicing the ‘perfect’ balance for a very long time. (Yes. I AM OLD. Shush.) Mostly, I will cater to the audience. Sometimes, I simply cannot be bothered to give a fuck, because sometimes? My feelings need to be validated with the use of proper cursing and a fantastic F-bomb. I know that what is good for the goose is very rarely good for the gander, no matter how much it raises my hackles. I know that it is not a fight that can be won – nor should it be. It simply is what it is. And always, I know that it is my choice, and my consequence to bear.
My children know the same thing – even when they slip.