In Defense of the Curse

August 11, 2011

Sorry, Readers.  I curse.  I do.

I’m sure y’all pretty much figured that out within five minutes of clicking on this site initially, but just in case you missed that little tidbit, I thought I’d let you know.


Well, actually, I’m not that sorry.  Thing is, I write the way I talk–that’s just who I am–and I happen to talk a blue streak. I have since high school.

When I first started letting the epithets fly, Mama was horrified. As in, “I’m speaking to your father about this,” horrified.

However, when she and Daddy talked it over, they decided that I was such an obedient, rule-following robot in all other areas of life that they’d let the cursing slide.  Personally, I think they were terrified that if they took that one little offense away from me, I’d decide to turn Seven Kinds of Rebel like my sister.

Cursing suited me just fine, but it took practice. I wasn’t a natural.

One time, in the 11th grade, I dropped the word “damn” at my friend Camille’s dinner table.

Camille’s dad was a strict man–a man of books and rules and methodology. He had the odd practice of only sleeping four hours a night, because he thought anything more than that was wasteful. After I dropped the “damn,”  he peered at me sternly across the table.

“If you’re going to curse, Miss, you had better learn to do it with verve,” he said, pointing a fork in my direction. “There’s nothing so abominable as a wishy-washy curser.”

I decided right then and there that Camille’s dad was A-okay-allrighty.

I took his advice to heart and dedicated my life to cursing with verve.  I must have done okay, because right before high school graduation, I was deemed the girl “Most Likely to Swear and Yet Still Remain Chaste” by my choir teacher.  I was proud for about a minute until the greater reality of that little zinger sunk in.

So yes, I’m a fervent believer in the curse.  It’s gotten me into trouble plenty, but I’m loath to give it up. Cursing is just too satisfying. I mean, I try really, really hard to be a decent human being 95% of the time. If I wasn’t allowed to fling the F-word once in awhile, I think my head would explode.

But I do know that my mouth has consequences. I’ve had readers call me crass, potty-mouthed, undignified, unoriginal, common…you name it.

That’s okay by me.  It’s just an opinion. An opinion I don’t happen to share. There are far worse vices (and yes, I have a few of those, too, but shut up) than dropping a “damn.”

I may be generous with my curses, but I’m generous in other ways, and the people in my life are generous with me because of that. It’s a darn good deal.

However. Age has made me wiser in one area: Now, when I meet people for the first time, I give them fair warning.  A few weekends ago at a concert, when I was introduced to someone new, I said, “Hi, I’m Dana. I’m foul. I will probably, at some point this evening, offend you. I apologize in advance.”

Maybe this getting old stuff isn’t all bad.

This was written in response to the prompt: “Cursing in your blog–do you do it? Defend your choice.”  Check out other responses over at:

MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop

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