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  • Jo Jacoby

Cussing Is My Love Language



When I was young, my mother, my teachers, and my school—all of them Christian— always said that swearing was “unholy” and that “good Christians” don't swear. I carried that with me, despite the strange jealousy I felt when my cousins sang songs with the word “frickin'” in them without fear of displeasing their parents or god, or the interest I felt at the words themselves, how they even became “bad words.” I carried that, until god stopped seeming so real, until my mom stopped seeming so righteous, until I was depressed, angry, and alone. That is when I finally let myself say “fuck” for the first time.

It felt divine. Like there wasn’t any other word that could convey the bitterness that sat in my little twelve year old stomach. Like it was the last gift I received from god before he died. (And since his death, I see no need to give him the regard of a goddamn capitalized ‘g’. He isn’t around to smite me for it.)

Now, I curse all the fucking time. Maybe because it’s fun. Maybe because it’s a natural part of my vocabulary. Maybe out of a lingering thrill of rebellion against being raised to not say such nasty words. Or maybe because the English language is full of ways to eloquently describe feelings and thoughts, but it’s all the more easier to say “I’m fucking pissed.”

It’s simpler and carries an energy that a comprehensive explanation of a particular anger can’t. I can describe,

“Heat seems to rise out of every pore in my body,”

but some people don’t flinch the same way as they would if I let that heat spill from my lips in its purest form: curses, swears, expletives, profanity.

My mother flinches the most, and it’s just as gratifying to see as the words are to say. Certain curse words like bitch, fuck, cunt, and shit have such a satisfying auditory and performative quality. They feel good to speak, and they feel good to hear; one easy syllable, concise hard consonants and versatile vowels. As Dr. Kate Lister explains the word cunt on her blog “Whores of Yore”:

“I love the forceful grunt of the C and the T sandwiching the softer UN

sounds, enabling one to spit the word out like a bullet, or extend the UN and

roll it around your mouth for dramatic effect; Cuuuuuuuuuuuunt!”

Lister also adds how purely feminist the word cunt is. More than any “non-pejorative” term we use for female genitals. Instead of “vagina” which essentially means “sheath” (as in nothing more than a holder for “swords”), “cunt” comes from “woman, knowledge, creator or queen.”

So despite it being my mother’s fucking least favorite word, shouldn’t she be proud that I’m pro-cunt? At least from a linguistics standpoint; she knows I love linguistics. I think that she, and all of my childhood teachers, just need to understand that my love of cussing is likely just a natural progression in my love of language.


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Art by Dizzy Starfie


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