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2012 October 10
by Romy

A couple of years ago Callum and I were visiting his family, when Callum took me aside and politely suggested I try to use fewer swear words around them. I immediately became very defensive, both because I talk the way I talk and swear words are a part of that, but also because I suddenly felt embarrassed. Most people know that I express myself freely crassly, and while I do tend to be a bit more self-aware around people I’m trying to impress, I clearly hadn’t quite filtered everything around Callum’s parents.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that for me, using swear words is part of who I am, and while I know I need to talk appropriately in certain situations, I also think I should be allowed to say ”shit’ if it makes sense in the context.

I’ve recently noticed that a colleague of mine, a mother of three kids, swears even more than I do. I try to restrain myself in the office, but the occasional ‘fuck’ escapes my lips sometimes when something has gone wrong. My colleague, however, has taken the mommy-approach to swearing: replacing regular curse words with ‘kid-friendly’ words such as ‘fruit tingles’ (fuck) and ‘sugar’ (shit). I’ve heard people (parents and non-parents) use those words before and never thought much of it. But it occurred to me that if you’re going to swear around children (which, to be fair, I don’t know if she does), that you might as well get the satisfaction of using real swear words. Kids are smart, they’ll probably have heard the bad words a thousand times by the time they hit age 5, so I doubt that they’re fooled by the ‘fruit tingles’ uttered by their parents when something goes wrong.

So why bother? Are you really setting an example for your kids by replacing one word with another? It still serves the same function.

Also, for those people who ask me if Callum and I are planning to have children, I hope my defense of swearing has made it clear that I’m just not fucking ready for that shit.


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