a lady does not use dirty words


I wasn’t trying to sully the ears of the church-going patrons of the fish fry, in the basement of a Catholic church, on Ash Wednesday. I was merely attempting to share a story with friends. A story I must have been excited to tell because my voice kept getting louder until I was abruptly shushed for shouting, “fuck.” Being I’m no one-trick pony when it comes to embarrassing myself, I followed it up by describing a character in a TV show as “quite the little slut.” I’d like to think if anyone overheard me, they simply thought I was referring to “F.U.C.K.” (fornicating under the crown of the king) and the little slut who was being stoned to death for it. A topic I know is acceptable in the basement of a Catholic church because a CCD teacher mentioned it in class once. If I’m not mistaken, Jesus went ahead and saved said trollop (and if fornicators are getting direct assistance from the son of God, I don’t see why my swearing in his house should be such big deal).

Church and women of questionable character aside, curse words and ladies typically do not go together. Some states still have laws on the books about not swearing in front of women and children. My old pal Harvey Newcomb goes so far to say the improper use of grammar by a lady could lead to “rudeness and vulgarity.” He also advises against “coarse jesting.” If you are unfamiliar with coarse jesting, then I’m afraid you will just have to try to avoid what you think it might be. Newcomb would tell you but it would be rude of him to do so.

So what happens to bad little girls who do go around slinging slang on the first day of Lent? They get their mouths washed out with soap. Or, at least, that is what happened to me. Not a week after I made my friends question whether they should take me anywhere again, I found myself with a mouthful of shower gel after attempting to use mouthwash (I was in a hotel, where those things can be tricky to discern). Before I had a chance to even think about the many ironies of life, karma, or the mysterious ways of Jesus, I said, “fuck” and turned on the faucet to rinse out my mouth.


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