What’s Buzzin’, Cuzzin?

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?

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30 thoughts on “What’s Buzzin’, Cuzzin?

  1. brilliant, or as our household is saying at the moment
    “Gosh thats WiZARD”.
    I’m fed up with the obvious, we should go back to saying gosh and blimey more so that when a swear word is properly uttered it positively sings with resonance and unspoken vitriol.
    Are you with me?!
    Blimey I jolly well hope so.

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  2. Hysterical. “Are cruisin for a bruisin’?” —

    I remember having this discussion with The Man when the boy was about 2. The Man insisted that The Boy would not pick up on his driving language. We were at my parents when we heard a frustrated little 2 year old utter.
    “Jesus Christ motherf***er”. That’s a double whammy at my parents house. Swearing and blasphemy.

    Good luck with it all.

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  3. well,, being a serious potty mouth myself,, i have to say i am not the least bit offended by swearing,, even when it comes from the mouth of a child/ teen whatever…

    i understand many people do have a problem with it,, parents in particular,, but i feel it it more or less due to what they percieve as negative reflection of their parenting skills,, more so than the words themselves.. years from now,, if your child,, or jules recalls you or she as a potty mouth,, i am sure it will be followed up tenfold with stories of unconditional love,, and in the end,, isn’t that really all that matters??????

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  4. Oh dear…I’m guilty of this too but honestly, sometimes there is just no other word that can adquately convey what you’re trying to express. My daughters think it’s funny when I swear and so far I haven’t heard anything too bad coming out of their mouths.

    I don’t get offended personally unless it’s gratuitous and every second word. Some people are just so funny when they swear…I’m thinking Billy Connelly. How can anyone be offended when someone swears in that gorgeous accent and to highlight something hilarious?

    Good luck with the swear jar Selma. It hope it doesn’t send you broke 🙂

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  5. there is some satisfaction in cursing especially when you’re mad but I agree with you, kids shouldn’t be cursing, at least not at such a young age but they do pick it up so fast, don’t they?

    I wouldn’t might using those 50’s style cursing but they don’t sound much like cursing, though I do like “You’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’, do you want a knuckle sandwich?”

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  6. KATE – anyone who uses ‘Wizard’ is completely TOP SHELF in my book or SPIFFY or QUITE THE DANDY. Wonder how long I can keep this up!

    NAT – my boy has done the same. It is so hard not to laugh especially when it’s more than likely he heard it from me. I really don’t mind a bit of a swear (I am from Glasgow, after all) but Jules feels like a failure when she hears her son swear. I think we’ll probably both last for a day but you never know……

    PAISLEY – love IS all that matters. The whole swearing thing is quite amusing, really. I’m not taking it seriously at all but Jules is all gung ho about it. I think she should throw in some true Aussie slang like ‘Strewth’ and ‘Fair Dinkum.’ That’ll shake things up!

    GYPSY – I’ll be broke by the end of the week. Giving up swearing is like giving up chocolate. When you know you can’t have it or do it, it makes you want it so bad. I wonder how long I’ll last?

    BRITT – it is so good to hear from you. Believe me, we need all the luck we can get!

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  7. LISSA – I know. I am laughing right now. Can you imagine the look on someone’s face if I actually said that to them? They’d think I was crazy? What is interesting about this is researching insults and bad language in previous decades. The 70s were amazing. I might do a separate post just on that!

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  8. Sigh – It happens. I haven’t said the “F” word in YEARS, and about a month ago I got over stressed and said it in front of my 14 yr old. Her eyes went wide and I felt like pond scum. I’m with Jules – it bugs me too – at least, when it comes to my own kids. My guilty word is DAM* with an occasional SH** in there. My kids ROMP all over me when they hear it, so you can just imagine the horror I felt at a hard core swear word- I expected a tongue lashing, but my daughter chose to ignore it, probably figuring I must have been out of my mind with stress already. LOL! She would have been right….

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  9. Oh yes, I swear like a trooper when the occasion warrants it. But that’s the trick, isn’t it? Saving swearing for when you really need it. I don’t mind if my children swear as long as they follow the same principle. What I hate is the teenagers on the bus who just use swear words as adjectives or adverbs and pepper their sentences with them.

    But I love all the old words and we used crikey and blimey and heck and fiddlesticks a lot here when the occasion is not quite right for the stronger ones.

    I hope your friend is successful in sorting things for her 10 year old. It’s tough being a parent.

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  10. This is an interesting topic. Even though “fuck” is one of my favorite words, I’ve actually found that by disciplining myself not to swear you force yourself to use language more accurately. You hit the nail on the head when you said that cursing is “lazy language”. I think this deserves amplification: When you say, “Fuck that” or “That’s bullshit” you aren’t describing just what it is that you don’t like about the thing you’re cursing. By keeping yourself from using those words you force yourself to say just what it is that you don’t like. This actually makes your language more powerful.

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  11. I’ve become quite the potty-mouth lately, and to be honest, it really bothers me. Gratuitous swearing means nothing, it’s just a bunch of ugly words bouncing around on the floor, getting everything sticky.

    So, I’m going to join you in the swearing box (or at least I’m going to pay more attention to what I’m saying and try to make it really worth saying). I think one of my favorite oaths is, “Great Odin’s ravens!” Gets me every time!

    However… when the moment merits the spewing of a string of four-letter words, you can bet I’ll be well prepared!

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  12. When my brother sister and I were younger we weren’t allowed to curse. When we turned 16 we were allowed to say bi**h and a55
    when we turned 18 we could say Sh** 21, whatever we wanted. I curse constantly, but not in conversation…I’ll be sitting at my desk and go – EFf …but in conversation..no- it’s not polite

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  13. Well, I have to admit that I can swear like a sailor when I’m angry – or just feeling a little sassy. My favorites do tend to be variations of the …k at the end word, but I’ve been known to let fly a cuss word or two that I’m not entirely sure of the exact meaning of, like bullocks (I just remember “Never Mind the Bullocks Here’s the Sex Pistols”). Or “bugger off”. It could also be the result of my having seen too many Hugh Grant or Bridget Jones movies. …but I digress.

    I would feel exactly the same about my child swearing. In all honesty, I think Paisley is right that it wouldn’t bug me so much that they were swearing in and of itself, more that it was a reflection of my parenting skills. In the grand scheme of things, though, its not that bad a vice, really. Except in public. 🙂

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  14. TEXASBLU – I cannot imagine you swearing. It just shows how easily it slips out. Your daughter must have realised you were stressed, so she didn’t say anything. My son is so used to it, he doesn’t bat an eyelid. Which is probably not a good thing…..

    GERALDINE – I have offended the original Gidget. I have challenged the order of things. I am presumptuous beyond belief. LOL.

    RELUCTANT – that’s it. Save it for when you mean it! Words to live by. I have encountered those teenagers on the bus – a sullen good for nothing lot, if you ask me. Oh dear, I think I am experiencing a ‘generation gap’ moment. Makes me want to swear for some reason. Hahaha.

    LINDA – that is too funny. One of my more regular utterances is :”For f**k’s sake!” Yes, I’m not proud of it, but there you have it. On Nick’s first day of preschool some kid spilled his juice all over the lunch table. Guess what Nick’s response was? It wasn’t pretty!

    RICHARD – you are spot on with that observation. I like the impact of a well-placed expletive. It’s a kind of ‘go for the throat’ moment. Less is more, I think.

    KAREN – Great Odin’s Ravens! I love that. Oh, that really appeals to me. When I was little my cousin always said: ‘By Jove.’ No one really knows why. It was very English upper class prep school stuff and he was a little Irish boy. Must have been reading too much P.G. Wodehouse!

    JASON – it certainly is a case of not saying to your child: ‘Use your words. Come on, Johnny, use your words.’ You just never know what little Johnny might come out with!

    LIBRAGIRL – nice of you to stop by. I am laughing because I sit and curse to myself at work too although it is usually a curse in the true sense of the word such as :’ May the fleas of a 1000 camels infest your armpits, you motherf**kers.’ It would be fair to say that at times my boss and I clash. LOL. I really appreciate the visit.

    EPIPHANY – exactly. Compared to what children can and do get up to, swearing is relatively minor. That’s why I say to Nick, just watch yourself in public and no one will be any the wiser. I do like a bit of English slang. Bollocks is such a good one. My favourite usage comes from ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ where Edina was noted for saying: ‘Oh, my bloody buggery bollocks!’ Pure gold!

    CHRIS – what an honour for my post to become rantworthy. I must come and visit right now. 😀

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  15. Selma, this is very amusing. I swear but I do think it loses its effectiveness if you do it too often. It’s a bit of a stress reliever in the heat of it.

    When my kids were in primary school I was busy starting a business and always in a rush. I had to pick them from school at lunch and the traffic was terrible with very little time to get from point A to B. In traffic, my favourite swear words are horse’s ass. So there was a really slow car in front of us and anticipating what my commentary would be on it my son, who was only 7 at the time, said in all seriousness- “That’s not a horse’s ass that’s Thabo’s mother”. Needless to say I felt bad.

    Libragirl- that’s very funny that your parents had ages when certian words were acceptable. Did they sit down and rank them? LOL

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  16. LAURI – that is such a funny story. Your son has quite a wry sense of humour. I also like Libragirl’s comment about swearing at certain ages. That has really tickled my fancy.

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  17. I am all for cussing when its necessary, but NOT from a CHILDS mouth!

    I love the idea of incorporating some of the 1950s vernacular into your everyday conversations. I want to do that too!

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  18. MELEAH – it is fun. We have come up with some great phrases like : ‘Hey Big Daddy, what’s cookin’?’ and ‘That dress you are wearing is really boss(great).’ It’s a lot of laughs!

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  19. Funny – I’ve just been thinking I’ll have to start watching my mouth now. I have to agree that it is horrible when it comes from a child; that is the only time swearing makes me cringe.

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  20. DAOINE – yes, Mama, you will have to watch yourself. We don’t want that cute little chubba bubba of yours letting rip in the park or play group. LOL. I think you’ll be fine for a while yet, but it is amazing how children mirror our behaviour!

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  21. When I was a wee ‘un, we lived on Grandma’s farm, ang Grandma never allowed no cussin’.

    However, Grandma was strictly monoglot, and there were several German and Italian prisoners of war working on the farm. So, my brother, my cousins and I could cuss with impunity … stuff like ‘Porca Madonna!’ and ‘Ach du Scheisse!’ 😀

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  22. TRAVELRAT – that is so funny. I do like to throw in a bit of swearing in foreign languages. Not only does it confuse people because they are not quite sure what I’m saying but it makes them thinking iam very interesting and well-travelled. German is best of all – so emphatic!

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  23. One of my favourites is ‘Ishkabibble!’

    I don’t know what kanguage it comes from, or what it means, but, in one of my childhood comics, an Italian in the French Foreign Legion was always using it.

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