Wednesday, February 17, 2010


If you buy into the phrase, “curses like a sailor”, there are a lot of sailors out of uniform amongst us, no matter where you live. We can safely assume that we have all used some of ‘those’ words, and will continue to use them when they serve us. We use them as exclamation points, expressions of disbelief, pain and anger or just because a cuss word seemed right at the time. Let’s examine the time.

What you say or do in your home is your business. Even when you have company, you own your words in your home, if someone doesn’t like your style of language they don’t have to accept your invitation. But understand if the invitation isn't reciprocated. We know a couple who don't tolerate any use of profanity in their home even if you're good friend.

It’s not uncommon on New York City trains and buses to hear young and not so young people lace their conversations with profanity. “Some respect, please?” Yvonne softly asked a young man who thought his vulgar story about a buddy of his was so entertaining he told it twice to his grinning friends (one was a young woman). “I’m sorry,” he said. His friends looked embarrassed for him and he was. We don’t suggest that you try this with most strangers but Yvonne felt safe in approaching him because the guy didn’t look crazy and he and his friends were well dressed. His apology was earnest. Maybe as a child he’d heard an adult use the same profanity in public and thought it was all right. Maybe cursing was the standard in his home. James Baldwin did say when you open your mouth, the way you speak will tell everything about you (he was referring to how the British can figure you out just by how you speak).

We don’t buy into the double standard that it’s worse when a woman curses. A woman calling another woman out of her name is just as bad as a man doing the same. And if you don’t like your newly appointed name, just simply re-introduce yourself without anger. They’ll get the hint, no need to fuel the fire because oftentimes they has been fueled with alcohol. Ever had a soft drink or cup of coffee with someone and they start cursing you out?

Once a year, we have Fleet Week in New York; sailors are all over the town. They seem to be having a good time and as far as we can hear and tell, they’re not cursing like sailors at least not as much as those ‘other’ sailors.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for addressing this!