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Why I don’t like rude words

I have never been one for swearing. There was a zero tolerance policy when I grew up and I can’t recall a single occasion of hearing my parents or wider family swear. It was never worth swearing, the repercussions would have been serious.

At the age of around 7 I started getting those feelings of anger that only people above the age of 6 really feel. The kind of anger that doesn’t cause you to cry but just makes you want to scream so that the feelings boiling up inside can get out. With no prompting at all I developed a ‘rude’ word. This word was one that I used whenever I was really angry, and it was so satisfying to say! It felt like I was pushing all of that anger out of my body.

I would get angry, the feeling would swell up inside me like a big fiery ball and then it would come out of my mouth really fast with me shouting,

POUFF!!!!”

Don’t laugh! It was a very serious word to me! It formed my mouth into the perfect shape to grab all that anger and throw it out. Pouff!
Of course nowadays if I shouted Pouff in the street people may think I was being homophobic, but I promise you, I came up with that word first!

I didn’t even realise it was a replacement for a ‘swear’ word. I didn’t really know what swear words were. I only knew that there were certain words you weren’t meant to say; like ‘willy’. The main swear words were introduced in my school a couple of years later, when we were all grown up at the age of 9 or 10.
‘Fuck’ has the same kind of feeling as ‘pouff’ I think. It is short and has the same powerful push of syllables to get that anger out. ‘Shit’ doesn’t have quite the same effect. Try it…

I was renowned for my absence of swearing as a teenager. Whereas other teenagers were punctuating a swear word into at least every other sentence, I only swore when I felt it was really, really necessary. I never swore when happy or sad (I cried instead). I didn’t swear when I was mildly annoyed.
I swore when I was ANGRY. And then, everyone around me knew that what I was saying was serious. I was FUCKING ANGRY!! It was incredibly effective!

So I absolutely have nothing against swearing. It’s a useful tool for expressing your feelings and getting the anger out from inside you without punching anything. But I do wince whenever I hear someone swear. In some circles people think that if you are against swearing you’re prim and proper, or you are too ignorant to see that it is ‘just a word’. I disagree. I know it’s just a word. And I am not afraid to use it. But it’s an angry word full of tension and negative connotations. People aren’t using it for the purpose it was intended.

I hear people swearing all the time. I mean aaall the time.

“Wow!” or “Gosh!” have been replaced by an excited, “Fuck!”.

“Oh dear” or “Oh no” have been relegated to a sympathetic, “Fuck…”.

“Fuck Yeah!!” is a common swap for the old “Yay!” or “Hooray!”

It fits any kind of exclamation like, “Fuck!” instead of “oWW!”

Frustration seems to be another common usage, as in “Fuck, I missed my train!” instead of “Aaaargh my train!” or “Nooooooooo” >head in hands<.

It’s an effective adjective as well, used to describe pretty much anything with no particular meaning at all. As in, “Where’s my fucking pen?”, “That’s a fucking great bag”, or “It’s a fucking box!”

There is also the use of the word as an ‘emphasis’ tool, e.g. “Fucking great!” = really great!, “Fucking big” = really big, “Fucking smelly” = really smelly

Then there’s the more ambiguous usage where it is just thrown into any sentence at any time e.g. “What the fuck is that?!”

Now consider the different uses in these sentences:
“What the fuck is that?”
“Fuck! What is that?”
“What is that fuck?”

It must be very hard, when these words are used so regularly, so commonly, in every day language, to keep it quiet when there are children around and to convince them that it shouldn’t be said. It seems to be one of the most commonly used words!

Please people, this is getting out of hand! Limit the use of swear words for their original purpose- the purpose of displaying anger and getting all of that built up anger out of you in a short, sharp, exclamation.

Think about whether it is really necessary, and whether a more descriptive word could be put to good use instead.

You better do it or I will get fucking annoyed!! (really annoyed!)

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Gary says:

    Wise words here. I believe you are correct and that much common swearing becomes a lazy and unnecessary shorthand or merely a habit whereby the frequency of a swear word significantly devalues it and those who hear it all the time are desensitised to its shock effect.

    I think that you are correct about anger being a trigger for swearing but I also think that often having and using a good vocabulary and using voice tone and body language can also communicate anger (and any other emotion you wish) extremely effectively, without resorting to swear words. As you say, if you hardly ever use a swear word, it has much more impact when you choose to employ it.

    There is another issue here too. I think that as a society, expressing anger is becoming unacceptable (which is wrong and possibly dangerous in my view). Of course we don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harriet screaming their heads off at the GP surgery because they can’t get an appointment (or actually maybe that would be a good thing) but where is our passion? I would far rather see my MP making an emotional plea in support (or not, as the case may be) of a parliamentary bill, or the family of a murder victim expressing their anger as well as their grief.

    One of my pet hates is the sign that frequents public service establishments along the lines of “We will not tolerate abusive behaviour towards out staff…etc.”. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t accept it either, particularly when it isn’t the staff member’s fault, but frankly if an organisation feels it has become necessary to post such a notice to their ‘customers’ then they have failed, totally. If, as a service provider you have managed to make your ‘customers’ so angry due to your lack of response to their needs that said ‘customers’ resort to verbal and/or physical abuse, then you have to ask yourself, why? What are you doing, or not doing, to invoke such an extreme reaction in people. If it has come to this, then you need to know and you need to know fast. Telling people not to express their anger is not the solution. You need to be more concerned about why the people are so angry in the first place.

    Like

    1. rachel says:

      Hmmm but when people are angry they end up saying things that detract from what they mean. I work in customer service and anger can go one of 2 ways:
      1. The angry customer gets rude and abusive. Their complaint gets thrown to the bottom of the pile, they rarely get offered compensation and they are known and disliked by customer service staff.
      2. The angry customer calms down and then writes a comprehensive and understandable email regarding their complaints. They generally get compensation or good service.
      Actually I’ve found that the most successful complainers are the ones who are kind, but persistent!!
      Perhaps the problem is that customer service is so far removed from the people who are actually causing the problems?

      Like

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