Monday, April 5, 2010

On Swearing

For those of you who don't know, homegirl's been hustlin' at two jobs lately, for the sake of the aforementioned dream. I teach French to business professionals in downtown Toronto and I also host at a restaurant. The latter has been quite an eye-opener.

I've learned that there's a TON of swearing that goes on in the back of a restaurant that diners aren't privy to hearing. A polished, courteous, professional server can turn into an angry sailor when he believes he's out of earshot of guests and bosses, machine-gunning F-bombs like his life depends on it, calling (often deserving, to be fair) customers any combination of swear words you can possibly think of, etc. etc. etc.

During one shift, a manager who likes to call me "China" proudly proclaimed to me that he can even swear in Chinese. I asked him not to demonstrate, because swearing in Chinese is particularly vulgar. In Chinese, not only do you graphically and rudely describe people and wish them awful things, but it goes a step further into wishing terrible fates for people's families and ten generations besides. When I'm angry at someone, it's between the two of us, usually, so I won't go there. But I digress.

The thing is, I'm not against swearing, in principle. I have my sailor moments. But I was told at a very young age by an aunt that people mostly swear if they have poor communication skills, and I find that she's right. So it's become a point of pride. I like to think that I'm mentally dexterous enough to describe in sharp detail exactly why a person's a total zit on the ass of humanity, instead of just running to a few go-to words. A swear word is really just an utterance, a combination of letters that everyone's decided will be offensive. But using "real" words requires skill.

So the next time you're frustrated or pissed off, think about how you'd describe it. Exactly how dumb is the person you're dealing with? Exactly why? Exactly what would you like to happen to them? Real words can be quite fun. :)


Sarah of Nice said...


Xtine said...

Hi, thanks for reading me! Who are you? Did we go to school together? :D