The other night I was having margaritas at a Mexican restaurant in Malibu with my girlfriends Stacy and Wendy. While we were chatting over a basket of tortilla chips and a bowl of guacamole, I was relating the story of how my husband, Dave, called me a cuntasaurus the other night. Wendy, who had brought her 4 year old Trevor with her, clucked at me rather loudly and tossed her head in Trevor's direction. Thusly chastised, Stacey and I continued our conversation using the euphemism "The C Word". Now I'm not one to be giving parenting advice, and I do my best to respect my friends' choices about to what their children should and shouldn't be exposed. However, when it comes to the subject of the art of learning the English language , I have some pretty strong opinions.
When we are children we are told these words are rude and offensive. That adults shouldn't say them in front of us and that if they do, by accident of course, we shouldn't repeat them. Thus these words become magical. Verbal talismans and weapons that we can lob at each other when our parents aren't looking. My sisters have this "game" they play with their kids to teach them that there is a penalty for using swear words. When any of the adults in the house swear, they put a quarter in a "Swear Jar" as a punishment. The first time the kids tried to charge me for swearing I called bullshit, and told them they should pay me a dollar a word to teach them how to speak English properly.
I am a huge proponent of the word fuck. I love this word. It is versatile, powerful, comedic, and charming when used properly. My girlfriend Carol, who is quick to call me a whore (another word I love) when I snark in her general direction, can wield the term "mother fucker" like a samurai warrior or a burlesque fan dancer depending upon the situation. I've striven over the years to emulate the mellifluous way in which she utters this sacred phrase, but alas I'm an amateur.
My friend Anne randomly sends me text messages in which she calls me a variety of colourful names. My favourite is "Thunder Cunt", which is what Dave was trying to think of when he laughingly called me a "cuntasaurus" the other night. She also likes to call me a "skanky ho" and a "beyotch" amongst other things. I like to tell her that her Southern drawl makes her sound like a sanctimonious cunt. We call each other these names because we genuinely like each other. We both also happen to like exploring the flexibility of the English language. Like any skill, you need to keep in shape.
When, a few weeks back, the President commented that he wanted to know "whose ass to kick" over the BP clusterfuck (another awesome word by the by), the news and the country went ballistic. Seriously? Ass? At least the FCC didn't start talkin' fines like it did when Jane Fonda said "fuck" on the Today show earlier in the year. What was the most pathetic thing about that, was that every news outlet in the country wanted to talk about it, but since they couldn't repeat the phrase, they had to use the ridiculously childish term "F-bomb." Really? What grade is our country in? Don't get me started on how immature we really are compared to our European cousins. For the most part they say what they please on TV and aren't too afraid to show a little T 'n' A on the telly.
It's actually my opinion, and a fairly learned one at that as I do have a Masters in Social Psychology, that when we wish to hurl insults or draw blood in another person using words alone, we don't generally use profanity to accomplish this. The rudest and cruelest insult I've ever been dealt didn't carry a single "foul" word. As any woman who has ever been 20 or more pounds overweight can tell you, the meanest thing you can say to her is "You have such a pretty face." The first time someone took a swipe at me with that barbed phrase it was like being sucker punched in the gut. If you were to call me a "fuckin' fat bitch", you'd only make me smile.
Now that I am older, another one of my favourite barely veiled insults is when someone decides to pass around old photos of you online or at a party. Invariably one of the catty women whose ass you should have kicked in high school chimes into the conversation with "Oh! Look at you. Look how young you look!" Really? You wanna go there with me bitch? You wanna cast the first hag comment? People who Botox shouldn't cast aspersions. That's always my first thought.
Like I said, I'm not one to be giving parenting advice. However, I will, given a few unsupervised moments, teach your children every word they will need to know to survive life's playground. In case it wasn't clear from the onset folks, I come with a PG-13 rating, an extensive vocabulary, a bad attitude, and can, and will, cut you to the quick with a well placed quip. And if you get in my face, trust me, I'll cut-a-bitch and never cuss once in the process.