Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Switching off the swearing

The warnings came early.

“You’ll have to stop swearing around the baby, you know?”

As did, my glib, know-it-all responses.

“I don’t have to do anything, what you mean is it may be more social acceptable, and possibly less corrupting to utter obscenities around our, and other, children.”

Yeah, I am an absolute pleasure to live with, not irritating in the slightest.

My attitude masked a genuine fear of not actually being capable of ridding obscenities from my regular vocabulary.

I am a huge fan of swearing, although I know it can be revolting and overused. My opinion is similar to that of Frank Skinner, who fought the fight for ‘beautiful, eloquent swearing’. Used correctly, swearing can be absolutely awesome, and actually improve communication and expression.

Pre-parenthood my language was very rarely tailored for a non-swearing receptive audience, I had an approved list of expletives – which I ignored, but it pleased her - to use in front of my own mother, and I know my late wife, bless her, used to get really agitated when I would swear in front of her mother, especially as she would get completely carpeted for the very same. Yet her mother would remain un-offended by my rude quips.

See, more to the pleasure to live with fire.

My language when playing sport, or out with my friends was absolutely vile, as we would search for more imaginative swearing, combining words to make them seem more ferocious, or to encourage further grimacing in others.

Recently I have used the X Factor as experimental swearing therapy.

It was so common place, and habitual for me to swear, or more accurately, say exactly what I thought, without thinking about it, so to type.

However I was surprised by my own ability to limit my language around my son, and other children.

I have heavily relied on ‘monkey’ as a substitute for cursing.

“The monkeying, monkey, mother monkeys.” That sort of thing.

Generally I have kept me language in check, bar the very rare slip.

I notice quite recently that I slip back into old ways very quickly, almost as some sort of unconscious swearing relief valve. Immediately singing along to radio songs I don’t know using swear words, the very minute I have dropped my boy off for time with his grandparents.

But, vica versa, last week, I even censored myself for a cat.

Yes, that is right, a cat.

I was about to emphasise my opinion on something, quite possibly, anything, with the expert use of an expletive when a cat jumped on my lap, and I changed what I was going to say.

For a fucking cat.

I have totally lost it.

Yet failing totally on the side of caution, rather than a colossal fail the other way around.

I am sure it is only a matter of time before that actually does happen.