Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bad words

Online Dating

This should come as no surprise at all to anyone who has met/talked to me for any length. I don't use "impolite" words very much, although I'm not opposed to using them. And according to the analysis, the only bad words on this blog were "sex" (twice) and "dead" (which probably referred to something other than human death).

I suppose part of the reason is growing up in the South - call in Southern gentility or whatever, but public swearing is definitely a lot less acceptable than here in the Northeast. The other day I was going into the mall and there was an elderly couple standing just outside the door, and the woman (who was almost old enough to be my grandmother) was dropping f-bombs like it was WWII all over again. You just don't hear that kind of language in Houston, unless there's blood in the streets or something.

The other reason is that my parents didn't curse, at least in English. My dad once told me that when he was in the Chinese Army, he and his mates used to swear a lot, and for some reason decided to reform themselves by fining themselves for using bad words. So by the time I came around, the strongest epithet I heard growing up was "goddamn". It wasn't until I was well into high school that my dad felt like it was safe to say "bullshit" around me, and he's never used the f-word around me. And I've never heard my mom say any word that you wouldn't hear out of a nun's mouth.

When I was in college I wrote an editorial that was published in the school newspaper about how the f-word is overused and that it has lost its power to shock, and hence, it's whole reason for existence. Why do we even need expletives if they fail to convey the power of what we are feeling at the time? My thought is, if you can save the f-word for when you really need it, it gives you more dynamic range to express your feelings. So someday, when I'm really riled up, I'll whip out the f-bomb and people will take notice. That is, unless they've gotten so used to hearing it that they think everyone just talks that way.