Yesterday I dropped Jonah off at school and was about to head home when his teacher quickly approached me; ‘Mrs Hughes I just wanted to have a quick word.’
Oh brilliant. Has Jonah:
A) crapped himself in assembly again
B) taken a tampon in for ‘show and tell’ (he found it completely unreasonable that I forbid that)
C) demonstrated to the class that two fingers up ‘that way’ means ‘peace, but two fingers up the ‘other way’ means…
All were realistic options…
‘I just wanted to tell you that I’m in a whatsapp group with lots of other mums and we love your blog! That one the other day about ‘How not to raise children who are you-kno-whats’; that was hilarious!’
I felt my face going red. I’ve never been great at accepting compliments but that was not the cause of my discomfort.
Before I explain, let me tell you a little bit about Jonah’s teacher. If you’ve seen Miss Honey in the film Matilda, then you’re on the right track. She is beautiful, lovely and what Americans would call ‘wholesome’ I think. In short she is everything you would want for your child’s first teacher.
‘I’m so sorry for all the swearing!’ I exclaimed.
‘No no we all had a right giggle! It was so well written! she reassured me.
Still, I walked home a bit stressed trying to recount the blog, making a mental note of all the effin’ and jeffin’ it contained.
I got in the car to head to work and started mulling it all over. A few people have said to me that although they love the blogs, if I want to get them out to a wider audience I’ll have to tone down the profanities… Right I thought to myself; I’ll set myself the challenge this week of writing a blog with no swearing in at all!
I was just letting this terrifying thought settle in, when Radio 2’s ‘Pause for thought’ segment came on (yes I listen to Radio 2. I know you probably thought I was a Radio 1 gal due to me being so goddam hip, but I am also very profound and intellectual so Radio 2 is where it’s at.)
The guest that day was the screenwriter Frank Cottrel Boyce. Amongst other things the presenter asked him, ‘how do you stay working as a writer these days? There must be so many people doing it and it’s such a saturated market isn’t it?’
It was like a message from the universe straight to me (that sounded less arrogant in my head) when Frank replied;
‘The most important thing is to just ‘do you’. Write in the way that only you can and don’t try to fit into a style that isn’t yours. Write about how you live and how you love.’
I mean; howay kids! If that isn’t serendipity then what is!?
So. The upshot of this is; I intend to continue my effing and jeffing at full force. I swear not because I think it’s big or clever (although it IS), but because I think it’s funny! Swearing in the right context is a hoot. Don’t deny it.
I also swear for accuracy. For example if I call my children complete twatbags it paints a far clearer picture of them than if I call them ‘little tinkers’ or something equally benign.
The final reason I swear is probably the most important one for me: it just feels so friggin good! I guarantee you will not get the same endorphin release from calling your husband a ‘meanie’ as you would from muttering ‘cocking tosser’ under your breath when he comes in from work and says; ‘You’ve been off work today! How is the house in such a state? You’ve obviously just been watching Loose Women all day.’
Oh the rage.
Now I know what you puritans are thinking (all three puritans who read my blog that is); you’re thinking that swearing denotes a lack of good vocabulary. Why use profanities when you could just run through your internal thesaurus and choose another less ‘offensive’ word?
I have heard this argument many times over my career as a prolific professional sweary-pants.
And my response today is the same as it always is; what a load of BOLLOCKS.
I challenge you to a vocabulary-off puritans! Rest assured I have a wide and varied vocabulary which is only enhanced by the number of fabulous swear words it contains.
Swearing does not make you crass, or common, or aggressive. Some of the most fabulous, loyal, kind people I know regularly turn the air blue and I love them all the more for it.
Right. On that note I shall sign off, before my potty mouth goes into overdrive. It goes without saying that I hope you have a f*^#ing wonderful Christmas and a bloody brilliant 2018.