Real sh*t on cussing: Does cussing empower you?


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Natalie Vincent

Picture me on my first day of sixth grade, pulling my textbooks out from my locker. A boy a few feet away from me opens his locker and is greeted with an avalanche of books, papers, pens and pencils. Then my innocent and sheltered ears heard– with incredible clarity– a word uttered from the mouths of the most enraged and disgusting of perpetrators.

It was the four-lettered, holy grail of cuss words. Yeah, you know the one I mean. My eyes flew open, my skin became red hot and I froze. “What kind of kids go to this school?” I thought. Surely all the cheaters, drug dealers, gang members and societal rejects. Good kids like me would never say such words.

Well, I can assure you that my language since then has evolved into a colorful array of words and phrases that my sixth grade self would be horror-struck to hear. In fact, I believed I’ve become desensitized to such cuss words so much that if the Pope were to drop an f-bomb, I wouldn’t even blink.

Why did I choose to let myself become this way, you might ask? I’ve been labeled a “potty mouth” in the past, and yes, that was shameful at the time, but the people I surround myself with now don’t give a flying– yeah, that word again.

I’ve learned that embracing cuss words when cracking jokes or exaggerating a good story just makes what you’re saying that much more interesting to listen to, at least in my experience. Oddly enough, my parents let me and my siblings cuss quite often, and the laughs got louder once we did. Could you say cursing brought my family closer? In a weird way, it did. My friends (if you’re reading this, sorry for my terrible influence…) certainly appreciate me for my humor. At the same time, they’ve picked up my mannerisms and word choice. These are some of the people who would have received a royal “butt” whooping if their mother were to hear such talk. But between us, it’s just any other English.

So, I have shown you how the comedic part of me uses this “dirty” language, but this article is about cursing and empowerment. Do I feel like I gain an advantage over others when I choose to cuss? The answer varies.

In a confrontational and serious situation, I would argue no. Picture yourself at a college party. There are a ton of people and personal space is a joke. You’re dancing around when all of the sudden your foot smashes the foot of the stranger next to you. You jerk your head upward to see that their face is enraged, and they begin to unleash their anger on you. After apologizing, you say that there is simply not a lot of room to move around. They begin to retaliate by saying that you should have been dancing in one of the other rooms with more space. On top of that, they begin firing cuss words like darts at you. In situations like these, I would not be cussing. The first person who does so is the most enraged and unstable as they have lost the ability to rationally dispute their emotions now are white-knuckling the steering wheel. Whoever says the first cuss word to the other person now looks ridiculous and illegitimate. They take on a caveman mentality, and they do so because they’ve run out of any substantial arguments to make.

I save my cussing for comedy. When I cuss during a funny story or telling a joke, and get good response from my listeners, I would say that I feel empowered knowing I can make people laugh so hard that they spit water across the table or begin to cough their lungs out. Cussing empowers me when I turn it into something that brings humor to others. Making people laugh is one of the best feelings in the world. Despite some of the criticism around this unrecognized love language, I’ll continue to cuss every– yes, that word again but add “-ing”– day.