I apologise in advance for the florid nature of the language used in this post but it is written with the aim of self-improvement and the overriding desire to no longer be a potty mouth.
Please bear with me…….
My friend, Jules is having a lot of trouble with her ten year old son. Today he was sent to the Principal’s office for the third time this month for excessive swearing.
Swearing, cussing, turning the air blue is a difficult issue to deal with in children, particularly as they get older. Many of the terms we used to be shocked by as children – the things only the really bad kids said – are now part of the modern day vernacular. However, there is still something a little disconcerting when a ten year old kid calls you a motherf***ing c***sucker. Paint me all puritanical, but I don’t like that.
My son, Nick, who is now 12, gets away with saying a few things at home. I swear, his father swears, but we have all agreed that it is lazy to throw too many curse words into the conversational pot on a regular basis. There is also an out and out rule that Nick not swear at school or in someone else’s home. I think it’s important to show you have the good manners to respect someone else’s sensibilities.
That said, is there anything more satisfying than letting fly with a few well-aimed expletives? There is something so gratifying about that hard ‘k’ sound is those words that rhyme with duck that you just don’t get from a golly gosh or a jeepers creepers. So I get it, I get it why people swear, and for the most part I don’t mind it, except when it comes out of the mouth of a little kid.
I knew Jules was upset when she started talking about Sandra Dee. You remember Sandra Dee – that 1950s starlet famous for such movies as A Summer Place and Gidget – an icon of respectability. She was the original good girl. Not so much as a damn would have slipped from her virginal lips.
For some reason Jules loves Sandra Dee. I blame her childhood diet of milk and cookies, and Betty and Veronica comics. Sandra Dee can do no wrong in the eyes of Jules. When she said to me :’Sandra Dee would never have allowed her son to get in trouble for swearing’ I knew how bad she was feeling. ‘If only it was like the fifties….’ Jules went on.
I know Jules doesn’t really want to step back in time and become a 1950s housewife but there was something to be said for only having to worry about getting your whites white and your brights brighter or whether the roast meat gravy you’d prepared to go with supper was lumpy. Sure there was the threat of the Cold War, the possibility of Senator McCarthy burning you at the stake for witchcraft, and the low down dirty influence of Elvis Presley’s pelvis to contend with; but all in all, it was a simpler time.
Can you imagine if Sandra Dee had spoken like this in the fifties ?
It just wouldn’t have been right. But if she had lived with Jules for any length of time she would have. Jules’ language is extremely colourful to say the least. She doesn’t think the kids pick up on it, but, well, you know what kids are like.
So Jules and I have made a pact. She is going to put a swear box in her kitchen, the proceeds of which will go to charity (let’s just say it’ll be a very generous donation). We’re also going to try and incorporate some of the 1950s vernacular into our everyday conversations.
Instead of saying someone is the modern day equivalent of a loose woman (you know what I’m sayin….) , we will say she’s fast.
Instead of saying You’re a pain in the ass, we will say You’re a pain in the wazoo.
Shut the f**k up will become Cut the gas
Get f**ked will become Get Bent
And if someone really gets on our nerves, instead of saying I’m going to f**k you up, we’ll say You’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’, do you want a knuckle sandwich?
And then, eventually, our image of Sandra Dee will revert to its original squeaky clean form –
And bluebirds will fly around our shoulders, twittering happily, just like in a Disney movie.
I think it’ll work, don’t you?