24 September 2017

I'm A Teenager and I Don't Swear

Do you have a memory from early on in your life which for some odd, unbeknownst reason you remember really well? Well, I do. Here's a hint: Mine involves being 7 years old, swearing and sitting in a McDonalds's drive-thru.
I remember being at the drive-thru at my local McDonalds when I was young- I'd guess about 7. My 6 member family were all piled up in the car and we were ordering our favourite desserts (a family ritual every Sunday) which consisted of the same order: 3 creamy white, sugar-filled and decadent chocolate-draped ice cream sundaes, a similar rich, dark crimson and creamy strawberry sundae for my dad and two crispy and cracked golden apple pies for my oldest sister and twin brother.

I distinctly remember bringing up the topic of swearing (although I did not know it as 'swearing' at the time) whilst eagerly awaiting to wrap my tiny hands around the undulating plastic form of the cold chocolate sundae I had ordered. Back then I had just heard words such as "S**t", "damn" and "crap" being thrown around for the first time at school-which my more experienced self now sees as laughable compared to the words hurled around now, but nonetheless that was the day I discovered that 'swear words' existed and asked my parents inquisitively what these words were, why people used them and what they meant. I think I had realized that these terms weren't 'everyday', frequently used terms (or that's what I thought) as  I had never heard these words spoken before in my household.

My mom answered my curiosity with a simple sentence "People who swear are not 'cool' (but rather are trying to be) and lack vocabulary as they cannot find better words". I think I rolled my eyes and blurted out something along the lines of "Seriously, mom. Come on?". My mom, in proper motherly fashion has repeated that sentence to me a handful of times since and at first I hadn't thought it had made an impression on me. I mean really? I doubt that the reason that people swear is because they want to 'fit in' and be cool. Really?

With that, the car rolled forward and was met with an outstretched hand giving a traditional brown plastic bag with the top curled down slightly and handed it to my dad. With that, I enclosed my 10 oddly long fingers and unusually irregularly shaped short nails (I was a nail biter) around the just off-white wondrous concoction of ice-cream and chocolate and forgot all about the conversation with my mom. Until, sometime later, I brought up swearing again where my mom, again, simply repeated her now increasingly popular line "People who swear are not 'cool' (but rather are trying to be) and lack vocabulary as they cannot find better words".

Fast forward to grade 8 where hearing words such as "s**t" "pu**y" and even "f**k" were the norm. I entered high school and still hadn't found myself blurting out these words. I distinctly remember a friend stating "Just wait Steph; By the end of high school you'll be swearing (and drinking) like a sailor" I responded with laughter and a strong statement of doubt.

Fast forward 1825 days (...or five years) to Steph as a senior. I went out to lunch with my best friend from preparatory school -Sam, whom I haven't seen since the day I left preparatory school. Every fourth word which she stammered was a swear word which after all these years has become less sharp to my de-sensitized ears but nonetheless still harsh. When Sam asked whether I swear, with a wide smile, a sense of childish giddiness and a great sense of pride I responded with "No", only to be met with a look suitable for seeing an alien who had just landed on Earth.

I have a concern; Since when has it become unusual for a teenager not to swear? How has our generation (and our parents) turned these once socially unacceptable words (in most regions) into an unacceptable scenario if one does not use them? Some argue that these are words- just like any other-and shouldn't be seen as any different, but in my opinion, these words historically, politically and socially operate in a context where the particular words are (were?) frowned upon.
Why is it that the individuals, like me, who don't swear have become the 'abnormal' ones?

On the other hand, we kids have been described as sponges-absorbing everything we see and hear. If your parents are condoning these vile utterances than maybe it isn't our generation who are the messed-up ones, popularly known as the trigger for the "decline of our society as we know it".

Upon some Google searching, I have found that there are an astounding 1,025,109 words in the English language, according to the Global Language Monitor. This number out ways the number of swear words by about 1.025.009. There are only a hundred or so swear words currently circulating- but as is the nature of any dynamic language, there will be more. Let's use these one million plus words to benefit ourselves and our society.

On the odd occasion that 'Sugar Honey Ice Tea' does escape my mouth, it still pierces my ear ossicles and makes me shuffle uncomfortably and as you can probably tell from my use of asterisk's I still avoid swear words.

Upon reflection of that Sunday drive-thru where my 6 family members were bundled in the warmth of our long, white Chrysler, I realized that maybe Steph back then did in fact want to be that 'cool kid' who had a brain full of complex and elaborate words at the ready to be spewed out at any given moment and never needed to use these 'swear words' and you know what... I think those of us who don't swear, we're the cool kids. It also shows something about our ability to overcome the grueling peer-pressure that accompanies the life of a teenager in high school, particularly. Can someone get cooler than that? I don't think so.

I think that the Steph clustered amongst her family in the car partly wanted to be the 'cool kid' but more importantly wanted to make her parents proud- with a wealth of words which weren't 'swear words'.

Excuse the hypocrisy and the irony, but don't get caught up in all this ****.
Dung! The word's dung!

How often do you swear? What are your thoughts on swearing?

Stay cool, kids.
Till next time-

* This post was originally published in May 2016


  1. Firstly, I'll say that you have a really good writing style (this is first post I'm reading here so I don't know whether you write like this in all or just in this story-time-like post). I really like it, it's really like I'm reading a novel.
    Secondly, I read your bucket list and I just love that and the whole idea of having a bucket list.
    Thirdly (is that a word?), I love this post. Unfortunately, I wasn't as strong as you when it came to swearing. Nobody pushed me nor did they consider people who doesn't swear less cool. I'm just surrounded by people who swear a lot and we don't even think of those as searing, it's just a word to fill in the conversation (as is 'like'). I was trying to stop to decrease the amount of swearing, but I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to my young self... Good for you!!

    xo Honey - blog Royal Lifestyle - Twitter - Instagram

    1. Thanks so much, Honey! That first comment of yours about my writing style is so incredibly sweet.

      I need to constantly review my bucket list...however, if memory serves, I've knocked a couple of things off already.
      Yes! Thirdly is most definitely a word. i completely understand what you're saying; It's so easy to pick things up from other people- until eventually it becomes a habit.

      Thanks for leaving such a lovely comment! I really appreciate it.

  2. The other day I was thinking about it! I don't use to use this kind of words too! But I must to admit that when I was in secondary school (between 12 and 16 years old) I used them more, I ended up talking as everybody, but there are some words that I never use and I feel proud that my mouth is "clean" hahahaha
    I'm surrounded of people who swear a lot (like my boyfriend hahahah) and I accept I can change their vocabulary, at least I try to don't use it, and I think it makes people to don't use it when they talk to me.

    and about your last post (I didn't arrive on time to comment there) I can understand what is to share a "space" (I don't remember if you mention that you live on a flat or where) with people that you don'thave things on common. I can tell you that you don't have to be friends with them, no where says that is obligatory, you just have to make the possible to have a cordial relationship and avoid fights for nonsenses (like dirty dishes, broken things...) And you don't have to feel like you have closed in your room, when you are there, just spend time doing your hobbies, homework or things from the daily routine and try to go outside when you can.
    I'm sure soon you will met friendly people to go for a walk and share hobbies and interests ^^
    Good luck!

    1. It's great that you were able to maintain some form of 'cleanliness'! I actually completely understand what you mean; I find that people stop swearing around me too, or alternatively, they constantly apologise (although that it less frequent now than before).

      Those are very wise words, C! You have a very good point; I have since made friend with 2 of my flatmates. I have settled in more so than when I initially wrote this post.

      Thanks for your support and luck, C! I hope you're well!

  3. I really dislike cursing. But it all depends on who I am around. With my friends and family I would never curse ( unless I get really mad ) but on a night out with my intern colleagues I have found myself picking up their frequent use of cursing. I think it's contagious. It just slips in.

    This was a really interesting post Steph! I love your anecdote, I think most people have some memory related to curse words

    My first memory of a "curse word" was when I was about 5 and my aunt was sitting in the living room with my baby sister and I. My sister wouldn't stop crying so she told her to shut up and I was so horrified that I ran out of the room to tell my parents XD

    I don't consider "shut up" or "sh!t" to be curse words anymore. They are just normal words.

    1. I find it very interesting how people's habits change depending on who they're with-mine included. It's very easy to pick things up from people, which is actually incredible.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post, M! Thank you for sharing that story. I get that there are degrees of swearing! I'm totally with you on that one!

  4. I love this post Steph, I was raised not to swear and I didn't swear until I was 17/18 but never in front of my parents because even as a 21 year old, I would probably get in so much trouble! My dad used to give me a row for telling my brother to shut up. Now, I only swear by myself or with my friends and I only say s*** and f*** but only when I'm frustrated with something or if I've hurt myself.

    -Em xo

    1. Haha, sometimes a parent's influence never fully goes away.
      Thanks for sharing your story, Em! I think you've managed to maintain a 'clean mouth' in some aspect despite your friends.

  5. Haha, great story! I do swear quite a bit (I am Australian, after all!), but it is odd that I do so, as I am a real Pollyanna, goody-two-shoes type!
    Wonderful post. :-)
    April xx


    1. Haha, I have come to know that about Australians; Your accents are pretty great, in my opinion.

      Thanks so much for sharing, April Rose!

  6. I've literally just come across your blog and I'm in love with it! The layout and style - just everything about it! This was a great story to read. I have never been pushed to swear. I remember hearing 'swear words' quite often when I was in the last couple of years in middle school. It was a big deal for me as I had always been told that swearing was 'naughty'. I think I said my first swear word in high school and I felt so awkward and embarrassed, I didn't even mean for it to come out. I swear on the odd occasions now x


    1. Wow Megan! Thank you so much! That means a great deal to me.
      I also remember people swearing and thinking that it was a terrible thing.

      I think you've held your ground pretty well if you only swear on the odd occasion.

      Thanks Megan!

  7. I don't swear at all!! Like you I was brought up in a family where it was seen as nasty language and that there are far better words to describe how you are feeling. So you're not the only one hehe xx

    Sophie's Spot

    1. That's impressive! Looks like there's more than one of us around.
      There are definitely better words!

      Thanks Sophie!


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