10 February 2018

I like bad words and I can not lie...


Hi, my name is Susan and I swear. A lot. Like a sailor. No curse word is out of bounds in my vocabulary. I'm an educated woman (even if I do say so myself!). I went to University and have a degree in Education with English Language. I work in education and have done for over 11 years. The history of language fascinates me and I love learning new swear words (wankpuffin and cockwomble being current favourites...) or background on more well-known words (Shakespeare was known to use puns to sneak the word 'cunt' into his plays without characters ever saying it directly).  

I clearly have the aura of someone who is not going to be easily offended by language. During the two first dates I've been on in recent months, both men used the word 'cunt' in conversation. I had friends who were horrified: I thought it was hysterical. 

For me, language is an incredibly powerful tool. It can be used as a weapon, a tool to both soothe and wound. Words can cut deep and the scars of it can last a lifetime and utterly change a person. You only need to look at how damaging bullying or emotional abuse is to a person to see this. However, I actually don't think this is necessary linked to swearing or obscene words. When I think back to insults that have hurt me the most, or conversations that have remained with me and probably always will, it isn't a swear word that I remember. It's normal, everyday language that does the deepest damage. 

I'm aware of the misconception surrounding people who swear a lot. That 'intelligent people can find better ways to express themselves than by using profanity'. I call bullshit on this. Sure, it may be used at times by people purely for the sake of it, because they think it makes them look 'hard' or, in the case of teens or young people, grown-up. At times, people may well be swearing unnecessarily but I do not accept that swearing is a straightforward link to proving someone is ignorant or not astute enough to think of another expression. A good swear word can express so much more than a simple word. Using an expletive to express something is not, in my opinion, done simply because you can't think of another word. It is often a thought out process, used to show great emotion and add strength to a sentence. 

Take for example the word 'fuck'.  There's not many words in the English language that are as flexible as this. It can be used as a noun, pronoun, adjective, verb and adverb. A command, a conjunction and or as an expletive infixation. It is used to offend, shock, surprise, show anger, disbelief, used as an exclamation or intensifier. It offers a strong word to express feelings and emotions. Oh, and you know - a vulgar way to express having sex. I'd say that's a pretty clever word!

Personally I don't find words themselves offensive. It's the intention behind the word, phrase or utterance. Swearing in front of me is very different to swearing at me. Saying 'fuck off!' as a joke compared to 'fuck off!' in anger. I am not much of a fan of swearing unnecessarily. I loved the films Bad Moms and Bad Moms 2, but for me the language used during them, while not offensive or particularly shocking, felt clumsy and forced at times. And I don't find it more or less offensive when a man does it compared to a woman. Swearing isn't ladylike, my arse!

I generally do not swear in front of my daughter. I'm sure that there have been occasions she will have heard me say such delights as, 'shit!' when I've dropped something or utter, 'FFS' while driving. I am not a fan of children swearing, especially if it's through anger directed at someone. I'm aware that children are like parrots and are liable to repeat things they hear but essentially, it is just words and it's a chance to teach children about context, appropriate respect and the fact that there is a time and a place for certain language... and that isn't at school or in front of old Aunt Belinda! Saying this, my daughter has never sworn so I wonder whether I will feel differently about this should she swear at a very young age.

I swear like a trooper and likely always will. Should my daughter grow up to be like me, to use a variety of foul language appropriately, with respect and within context? I reckon I'd be pretty fucking proud. 

Written by Susan @pizza.for.tea

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