I’m pretty comfortable with descriptive language that usually comes with four letters.
It fits like a tailor-made suit in many social situations, but not every one of them. The trick is to know if you are in a social situation where it is acceptable and possibly required to make the grade.
Job sites are a place where bad language is generally good form. The exception might be a barn-raising in Amish country, but most job sites are an acceptable place to flex your profanity muscles.
Years ago, I was part of a three-man crew where one guy used F-bombs for every second word. It is common knowledge that an F-bomb is considered to be one of the most versatile words in the English language.
It is a noun, verb, adjective, adverb and just about every conceivable part of a sentence. Buddy made it every second word of everything that came through his vocal cords. And he nearly sucked the fun right out of the famous word.
So we decided to saturate our entire conversations with the same amount of F-bombs to see if he noticed our new speech style.
The program continued for several days until we finally had to throw in the f—ng towel on the experiment. The guy wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer not to twig onto our game, but he was consistent.
Profanity can be therapeutic under the right conditions.
Frustration can be defused by the proper use of more descriptive words. Sometimes “frick” just is not going to make the grade when levels of emotion are more of a code red than code yellow.
The use of a more intense word like the more famous F-one can sometimes provide enough relief to bring an emotional code red down a few colours.
Type A personalities probably employ less judicious use of F bombs. The use of profanity may help them gain leverage in a situation that they want to control.
A typical Type A guy keeps profanity in his tool box of behaviour and is very generous with its use, along with substantially higher decibel levels when necessary.
Most guys like to swear around their buddies, especially when beers are involved in the festivities.
Basically it is a type of bonding that every guy understands, and the ruder the better.
It just shows the level of friendship is at a high plateau within the brotherhood.
The rules of profane engagement get a little less defined when the social situation gets a little more diverse. Women are one area where you have to test the blue language waters a little before you dive into the pool.
One hard and fast rule is not to swear around women who are older than you, but the best gauge is keep it clean until the language rules are clear around any women. And never swear around your mother or grandmother. That is just bad taste at its worst.
The final basic rule for public profanity is to pick the place and occasion. Some people are painfully uncomfortable with bad language, so bring along basic social skills, common sense and a thesaurus if you need replacement words.
Jim Sutherland is a freelance writer living in Red Deer.