We’ve all been there: you stub your toe really hard on your dresser, someone cuts you off in traffic (how dare they), you just remembered you forgot to do last night’s homework and that four letter word just flies out your mouth. Cursing has always had the negative connotation that it makes the user unintelligent and inarticulate, but there are some instances where “golly gee wiz” just doesn’t cut it.
Now this isn’t a column advocating cursing. Just because you can say the F word six times in a row while technically remaining grammatically correct doesn’t mean you should. However, when used correctly, cursing can be very useful.
Be honest; no one would take you seriously if you used insults like “you meanie.” The phrases our parents taught us when we were five just don’t carry the same weight anymore. These childish synonyms don’t make a graceful transition into adulthood. When someone is being excessively mean or rude, you are well within your rights to stand up for yourself, a.k.a call them something followed by “excuse my French.”
Cursing also has an emotional connection. The words imply that the people using them are passionate about what they talk about. It creates a passionate tone to what they are talking about, be it happy, sad or even humorous. Think about the times you use the most curse words: fights when you are mad, clumsy moments when you hurt yourself or even just joking around with friends. String a couple curse words in there to quickly emphasize your point.
It’s more than emotional; it’s scientific. According to Psychology Today’s website, cursing actually causes a hike in adrenaline, our body’s “fight or flight” defense. This hormone rush can actually help the body cope with pain levels. So the next time you stub your toe, let one loose to make yourself feel better both emotionally and physically.
From the time we were old enough to talk, most of our parents took special care to explain how “bad” cursing is, but I believe the power in the words is in how people employ them. Used all the time, they’re cliché and annoying. Used in an emotional context, they’re emotional. Used in a humorous context, they’re funny. I mean, you may not be comfortable yelling one in front of your 86-year-old grandmother, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t ever be useful.
Don’t think of cursing as something to hide or be ashamed of. It’s just a form of expression in a passionate way. An artfully placed “F bomb” doesn’t make you less intelligent or a bad person; it makes you someone who means business.
– By Chloe Gruesbeck