Sunday, June 29, 2014

The "c" word and why I'm probably not polite company:

I love to curse.

I use plenty of curses in my stories, and I use plenty of curses every day.

I read somewhere that when people are in pain, cursing alleviates it by 50%. I think that's mostly bullshit, but maybe there is something to it.

People can be prudish when it comes to profanity, but I get it. There's a whole slew of quotes  basically insinuating that people who curse have a lack of intelligence, or do a disservice to their intelligence, or are just vulgar in general. I say whatever. I've heard plenty of geniuses drop the f bomb.

I will admit that some people do end up cursing so much that it becomes tiresome. When I'm watching a movie or show and there's an overwhelming amount of profanities, to the point where it gives me a headache, it turns me off. Obvious shock factor techniques don't impress me, and there is a point where swearing every five seconds becomes overkill. Sometimes I even hear myself cursing too much and I dial it down.

Luckily I can usually keep from cursing when I am in a situation where I can't/shouldn't. I know a "shit" or "fuck" will be entirely inappropriate and I manage to keep the urge at bay.

But there's one curse word that is the grandaddy of all obscenities (or should I say grandmama because of its obvious gender association?) :


When I was a kid, my sister worked at a nearby pub. One day I overheard her having a conversation with my mom, talking about how her bosses from Ireland loved using a certain word. It was a common word across the ocean, used frequently and unrepentantly. I wanted to know what word it was, but no one would tell me. I just knew they referred to it as the "c" word. You cannot imagine my frustration. I had to know.

A few years later, I did. My friend and I used it like you wouldn't believe. It became as easy and as fun as calling the other "bitch" (playfully). Over the years I've become friends with people who also feel the word isn't a big deal. And I've also become friends with people who I wouldn't dare use that word around. Honestly, even thinking about it is making me cringe. Sometimes I blush around certain friends when I accidentally slip and say something like "shit".

Google "why is cunt bad to use" or some variation of that and an incredible amount of articles pop up. Two of the top ones are from Jezebel, and both are written by women. They explore why the curse is still such a big deal today. I scanned one, and took a peek at the other. It was interesting to me that they were written six years apart. The more recent one suggested we (women, I guess) reclaim it. That it shouldn't be a taboo word because, in a way, it belongs to us.

Clearly the use of cunt and its connotations hasn't changed over the past six years, or Jezebel wouldn't be writing about it again. Personally I don't mind the word, but when imagining a man calling me one in a vicious way--a situation posed in one of the message boards I clicked on--I understand why many find it degrading and violent. (I've been called a cunt in comments on my stories, and in private messages. A faceless man doesn't intimidate me.) I know it's not such a nice word, and it's even worse to call someone one. I only use it playfully.

I still won't stop using it.

The reason why I'm thinking about it is that months ago someone wrote a comment on a story: "Let's be realistic: If you're going to write as a woman, don't use the word "cunt". Even the most filthy mouthed women hate that term." 

It should be said that, as much as I enjoy using the word with a few friends, I don't necessarily love using it in my stories, as I think in that regard it's semi-crude and uninspired. There are only so many times you can use "pussy", however, and I try to stay away from "core" "folds" "vagina" "hole", etc. So sometimes I use "cunt" because, whatever. Maybe I'm being a hypocrite. 

When I first read the comment (left by an anonymous poster, of course) I rolled my eyes. But it stayed with me. Sometimes when I wrote the word into other stories, I thought back on it. A few days ago the comment caught my eye again.

Usually I don't care about negative comments that don't contain constructive criticism. I get a lot of them, especially ones that attack me as a person. It comes with posting in the genres I do, and on the site itself. I have thick skin. This one didn't upset me so much as it annoyed me. And it made me curious--did people really think that the word was so verboten?

I got a little pissed off at the condescending, presumptuous, sexist and stupid message. I am a woman--a filthy mouthed one, no less--and I fucking love that word. It is realistic. I'll use it any way I fucking please, and if I want to put in my story, I will. 

People can be such cunts sometimes.

PS My sister went to a comedy show not long ago (I have to ask her who it was, it's driving me crazy), and the comedian said that there isn't much you can call a guy that'll affect them...except one word that also begins with "c"--"creep". No man wants to be called a creep, he laughed.

Interesting that isn't a word people gasp over.

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