Is profanity ever acceptable? The first sentence in ‘The Martin’ contained the F word. The opening sequence to ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ was filled with it. Celebratory chefs are noted for its liberal use. They pepper their phrases with it.
I’ve been trying not to use it so much if at all, especially the F word l but it’s not always easy.
Having started my working life in the motor trade and in a warehouse environment where swearing was part of the vernacular, it was expected of you, it has been hard to get it out of my system. One of my colleagues, who was a regular user and ran one of the warehouses in the Midlands, set up a swear box. He had to give up at the end of the first day as he’d run out of his salary
But is it always wrong? At Thinking Digital this year one of the speakers used the F word on stage. It seemed appropriate for the topic and the audience laughed. The next time he used it though it just didn’t work. It felt unnecessary and his listeners did not respond in the same way.
At the launch of Tech North one of the speakers, a woman this time in case it makes a difference, used it to add emphasis. She got away with it.
What are the rules? Are there any rules?
Is it acceptable to swear when you are out with your mates? Is it OK to use it if you pardon your French? Are their times when it can be used without offence and others when it can’t? Does it matter whether you are in mixed company? Should you avoid using such language around children? Is it not big nor clever?
Clearly there are no written rules. Everyone has to make up their own mind. Profanity can be appropriate but not always. It can add humour, it can add emphasis, it can release frustration yet it can also offend and intimidate.
So at work I have been trying to stop using profanities.
I’ve let it be known that I’m trying to hold my tongue. Of course this instantly became a sport to my colleagues who have gone out of their way to get me to utter some obscenity or another and believe me there is plenty going on to swear about. The first time I gave it a go I managed to last a whole eleven minutes. The second time I made it to twenty six and the third I lasted a couple of hours. This week though I have managed not to use the F word at all, at least not at work.
On many occasions I have felt it on the tip of my tongue. I have tasted it but have managed to chew it and swallow it again before letting it free. I’ve felt better for it. I’ve noticed how some people swear more than others and I’ve realised that it somehow works for some people and not for others. Perhaps it suits some people.
Is this the end of profanity for me? I doubt it but I think I will save it for those special occasions when only the F word will do.