The Art of Cursing

I never swore until I was out of my teens. Pretty shocking, huh? Let’s just say I was a good girl with my verbiage for most of my early years. As a kid, I never had to suck on a bar of soap like my sister did after being busted for swearing. I did, however, thoroughly enjoy watching her do so. Actually, I shocked myself the first time the word shit slipped from my lips. It felt wrong while at the same time strangely satisfying.

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not some potty-mouthed person who is addicted to swearing. Please! I’m a nice Catholic girl who attended Church twice a year (Christmas and Easter) and now only for weddings and funerals. Hey, I never said I was perfect, did I?

Having said that, there’s something satisfying about cursing. When someone cuts me off on the freeway, darn it! just doesn’t cut it, you know? In the privacy of my vehicle, where nobody can hear me, I say what I imagine a truck driver might exclaim under similar circumstances. I’m guessing it’s pretty much a regular occurrence in that occupation.

I bring this up because I read an article recently about people who curse. And guess what? A 2015 study found that cursing is a sign of intelligence. Well, as my dad used to say, can you beat that? They found that well-educated people with plenty of words at their disposal were better at coming up with curse words than those less verbally fluent. And you know how verbally fluent I am, right?

The study found that those who came up with the most words that start with F, A and S in one minute also produced the most swear words. (You can’t see me but I’m taking a bow.) And lest you think that’s all, they also discovered swearing can be associated with social intelligence. This just means knowing when and where it’s appropriate to swear, which is why I avoid it around my pets. They don’t particularly appreciate vulgarity, especially Jack.

Did you just say what I think you said?!

Then there’s the 2017 study that says swearing may be a sign of honesty. Well, I’m nothing if not honest. Except when I’m fibbing. But fibbing doesn’t count, does it? Those in the study who lied less had higher levels of integrity overall. Please, you’re embarrassing me.

The next benefit of cussing: it improves pain tolerance. Well then, count me in. For instance, research found that bikers who cursed up a storm while pedaling against resistance had more power and strength than those who used neutral words. So next time I’m biking up Big Rock hill, I’ll be sure to use an expletive instead of shoot! and consequently forget I’m in complete agony.

The top of Big Rock Hill

And just so you know, the author of “Swearing is Good for You” says cussing is a sign of creativity. Well, I’m a writer, aren’t I? I think that about covers it.

Cursing also acts as a remote form of aggression while avoiding the repercussions of expressing your feelings up close and personal. I can attest to that since the majority of my swearing this past year occurred while either listening to or watching political programs. I tell ya, this remote form of aggression is raising my blood pressure.

Since naughty words are taboo, in a sense they become powerful. Letting an F-bomb fly every now and then isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It lets us vent, which helps us cope with particular situations. So go on! Express your intelligence, creativity and honesty by generating a colorful swearing vocabulary.

Trust me, it will leave you feeling pretty damn good.

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