I go through this moral dilemma every time the f-word pops into my head, which is pretty often. I know some people think it is crass and un-lady-like and I hate for people to judge me, but then again, it’s a great word and I find myself wishing I could use it more freely, lose the fucking anxiety associated with it. For example, I find it to be an exquisite descriptor for a variety of situations one feels strongly about. Such as, “I’m so sick of shoveling this fucking snow.” Or “I can’t see out the fucking driveway because this fucking pile of snow is so fucking high.” You needn’t limit usage to just snow-related scenarios; it works in hot weather just as easily as cold. On any given hot July day, for example, I can be heard saying something like, “Why is it so fucking humid? I’m so fucking sweaty, I can’t stand it!” Fucking also comes in handy in the non-weather-oriented realm, as in “Why the fuck is there so much fucking traffic? I fucking hate driving.” Or when you read virtually any article in the newspaper it’s a perfect time to exclaim, “Fuck, people are so fucking stupid.” It just feels really good to say it. And come on, these sentences definitely would not have the same power if you were to substitute something else in place of a choice f-word. You can’t say “I’m so sick of shoveling this darn snow,” or “Golly, people sure don’t make any sense to me,” and have it produce the same sense of catharsis or express the proper degree of anger and hatred for humanity, don’t you think? Then of course, there is my all-time favorite technique, injecting it into the middle of another word for emphasis, as in, “Fan-fucking-tastic! The dog dismembered a squirrel in the backyard, what the fuck am I supposed to do about that?”
There was a time when I made a concerted effort to tone down the gratuitous swearing because I was concerned people might think I was low class or something equally ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely situations in which excessive cursing is not helpful or particularly appropriate. Such as, when I meet with my daughter’s teachers or other parents, for example, I try to leave my cursing vocab at home. “School fucking rocks, I’m so happy with how my daughter is doing” does not seem like proper mommy talk, even to my ears. I’m pretty sure my husband finds my foul language fairly horrifying. He is a good Catholic, or he was, at any rate, until he married me. His church attendance has dropped precipitously since our wedding. But my feeling is that I should be able to use this word without it casting a veil of disrepute on my very being. If I weren’t so high-strung and irritable, I’m sure I wouldn’t need to swear so much. Please, cut me some slack. I can be the very picture of class and sophistication when I want to be.
I didn’t do any extensive research on the use of the word fuck by strong, female characters in great works of literature but maybe it would make a good thesis topic for a Ph.D. student somewhere. I did, however, think of a few examples where the use of the word really spoke to me and made me love the women using it simply because their liberal swearing was so nonchalant, so forceful, so carefree and so excessive. Suburban Kamikaze recently wrote about the necessity of profanity in winter, saying “Why the fuck do I live here? Why the fuck does anyone live here? I fucking hate everyone in fucking February.” I really feel her discontent. And The Cursing Mommy column from The New Yorker is another instance where I sense that using the words fuck and fucking really accentuates the expression of frustration. Wait a sec… Hold the phone. I’m doing a little reading on the side here as I write and I see that The Cursing Mommy is actually a man. Oh great, what was the fucking point of this anyway? Hell, I’m sure there are countless other genuine cursing mommies out there who aren’t afraid to say “fucking this” and “fucking that” but they are still good moms, good women, and good people. The point is a woman has a right to choose. That’s right, it’s a feminist issue and I think that in lieu of burning my bra, I’m going to choose to swear with abandon. I mean, why the fuck not?