Vulgarity - in Search of New Curse Words


Vulgarity has never really been a part of my vocabulary. Occasionally, I might use a vulgar word in jest, or I pick one or two to emphasize a point, usually a humorous one. Even when I do, though, the sound of them lingers uncomfortably, and I have half a mind to reach out and collect them up before they escape too far out into the universe. Last updated August 14, 2016

Vulgarity wasn't part of my youth.

Scared Girl, by Firkin,
Scared Girl, by Firkin,

When I was a little girl growing up in the deep south, vulgarity wasn't part of the equation. About the worst curse word I ever heard in our house was damn, which would send me running in terror to hide in my room. I worried that my grandfather might go to hell because he let a word slip while hanging art in our dining room for my grandmother.

As adults, when hanging art in our own houses, we understanding the satisfaction that comes from a few choice words. Life has hurts and pains in childhood, but frustrations come later on.

So you can imagine the response I got when I was about thirteen and said crap. I'll never forget the look on my grandmother's face.  I never said crap again, at least not in the presence of my grandmother. I still don't curse or speak with vulgarity, much. Evidently, it's just not in my DNA.

But there do exist those times that I need to say some things. My father always said that every lady should possess a storehouse of a few choice words, and I guess that goes for owls, also. The problem is that I don't know which words to use.

It's a visual thing.

Let me explain. You see, I'm quite visual. So when someone uses the F word, I see, well - people, you know, doing it. The same goes for the D word and on down the line. Although the angry tone registers, I jump straight to the visual.

So, we have the juxtaposition of the visual not adding up with the intent in which the words are spoken. I think - hey, wait a minute. I thought you were angry. Why are you filling my thoughts with those images?

I know I'm sort of, well, unusual. The meaning behind the words just doesn't register with most people, and that's OK. I just can't help that I interpret vulgarity literally through visual perception. Maybe it's a type of sensory processing disorder. But rest assured, this inherent trait of mine doesn't arise from a moralistic or religious viewpoint; this is just who I am. I'm not judging YOU for using these words.

But this does have me wondering. Why have we transformed language that represents the playful, sensual interactions between adults, and the anatomy that goes along with that, into curse words? Is this a vestige left over from a more repressed puritan past, or a result of the sexual revolution? I mean, how far have we really come?

How can you not be offended, especially if you're a woman, by the phrase D-bag? If you take some time to really ponder that one, visually, maybe you'll get a glimpse into my world.

Vulgarity is a private matter, really.

I would be lying if I said that I never speak with vulgarity. It's just that I prefer to do so in the secrecy of curtain drawn, darkened rooms during the interplay between lovers - and not on the street.

My grandfather's slip of the word damn is looking pretty good right now in comparison to today's options. So I need a few more words in my arsenal so that I don't slip up and use the aforementioned language.

Now, don't get any funny ideas and leave inappropriate comments, but I'm serious; I could use some help here. Slimy spinach just doesn't work. What about tinea pedis (athlete's foot)? I don't think so. It would seem that in our geeky, techno, enlightened society we could invent alternatives to words that have turned sensuality, and the physiology that belongs with that, into vulgarity.

OK, I'm blushing. Owls do that, too.