Do you remember the first time you said a curse word? How the forbidden syllable felt as it left your lips?
Or maybe you were one of those little weirdos who would curse quietly to themselves in their bedrooms just to feel the thrill of doing something they weren’t supposed to.
I remember when I honestly didn’t know curse words existed. I remember my parents telling me it is not okay to hold up my middle finger at them (woops) because it is a signal for a bad word.
When I asked what the bad word was, they had a hard time explaining without actually saying it.
“It’s like ‘truck’, but change the ‘T’ to an ‘F’.”
“No, without the ‘R’.”
I was hopeless.
While I can’t remember the very first time I cursed, I do remember the first time I realized the power of cursing.
I was in sixth grade and had a strict ‘Christian music only’ policy in my parent’s car. (Never mind I sang right along with Chingy’s “Right Thurr” whenever I heard it in someone else’s car). My parents never cussed and always told me people who did were unintelligent and needed to expand their vocabulary.
That still didn’t stop me from trying it out with my elementary school friends. All the cool kids were doing it.
But when it came time for middle school, I was determined to kick the bad habit and swear it off for good. Pun intended.
For a while, I succeeded.
Until one afternoon at my neighbor’s house.
Myself, my neighbor, and her sister were snooping in her mom’s purse (no idea why). We were pulling out various items that were, quite frankly, absolutely normal for an adult woman to have in her purse and slandering them in any way we could think of.
When the purse was nearly empty, my neighbor pulled out some sun glasses. Without skipping a beat, I chimed in, “Those are some big ass glasses.”
Both girls looked at me and promptly bellowed with laughter.
As they continued laughing, I started getting nervous. My cussing skills were a little rusty. Did I do it wrong?
Eventually, it became clear they weren’t laughing at me, but thought what I said was genuinely funny.
In that moment, I had an epiphany I’ve never forgotten: a precisely timed three (or four) letter word has the power to change a normal, mundane sentence in to a spicy zinger. Click & Tweet!
If I would have just said, “Those are some big glasses,” they would have agreed with me and moved on. But because I said, “Those are some big ass glasses,” they got an ab workout.
When I asked them why it was so funny, they told me it was because I never cuss and it was a shock to hear me say it. Epiphany #2: curse words lose their power the more you say them. Click & Tweet!
At different times in my life, I’ve both turned up my nose at cursing and embraced it like a sailor. But I have landed in a place I think I’ll stay for a while.
My philosophy is three part:
1. Use curse words to spice up your conversation or humor however it fits your personality.
Don’t be afraid to access your arsenal of swear words. They have an amazing ability to help you with two key things:
- Make you like, 300% funnier.
- Describe the gravity of a situation in a single word. Your guinea pig dying isn’t “crappy.” It’s shitty. It is also a slightly traumatic situation that puts you face to face with death but also one you can’t really do anything about and not quite bad enough to skip work for. Why not sum all of that up into one word? Shitty.
2. Don’t put people down with them.
Just like curse words have the power to help generally un-funny introverts like me finally get some laughs, they also have the power to tear other people down. And I mean bad. Just don’t do it.
Unless it is obvious you are totally joking. To me, that falls under rule #1.
3. Have enough self-control to abstain while in the company of people who would be offended.
This one is important. One of the reasons I don’t cuss as much in my writing as I do in person.
Bottom line: meet the person where they are at. If you’re worried they are going to shut down or get angry at the mention of some big ass glasses, don’t test it.
A friendship or family relationship is worth more than getting a laugh or profoundly describing something with one or two syllables.
There are some people you just need to use your grown up words around.
While it is healthy to have friends you can unload some f-bombs with, it is also healthy to have friends that require you to stretch yourself and meet them in the middle.
Welp, there it is. What do you think?
Can I get a “fuck ya!” or am I unintelligent and need to expand my vocabulary?
If you think the latter, then I presume you occupy a categorically presumptuous assessment of the essence of my efficacy.
Yes, I did just use and abuse thesaurus.com.