Profanity for Gentlemen.

Via on Feb 11, 2012

What’s the big deal about swearing?

(Via Pinterest)

“Just remember, Huck Finn swore a ton and it was awesome.”

I was talking with a friend the other day who didn’t understand why we make such a big deal about not swearing in front of children. He said that since “everyone swears when they grow up anyway…what’s the big deal?” And he brought up the example of the much-beloved Huck Finn who cussed non-stop (to the delight of most but not all readers.) I gave a few pat answers as to why I don’t, but then I thought about it some more.

Why is it such a big deal?

Is it protection of innocence? Could be part of it. Or maybe rite of passage? Sort of a linguistic separation between childhood and adulthood, or the verbal equivalent of sneaking some of Dad’s scotch from the liquor cabinet? Why do we make such a fuss about cussing? It can be rude if overused. It’s best not hurled at anyone. But the way I see it, it’s like salt. Too much is unpalatable, but without any–flat and boring.

I decided I needed to go to an expert on the subject:

“The idea that no gentleman ever swears is all wrong. He can swear and still be a gentleman if he does it in a nice and benevolent and affectionate way.”

“There ought to be a room in every house to swear in. It’s dangerous to have to repress an emotion like that.”

“When you’re mad, count four; when you’re very mad, swear! But most of us don’t wait to count four! at least I don’t!”

“Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”


“Let us swear while we may, for in Heaven it will not be allowed.”

About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is the strongest girl in the world. She is the love child of a pirate and a roller derby queen. She hails from the second star to the right. She doesn't know how to behave with all the apples and ibexes. She doesn't suffer from her eight million freckles, she loves them! Like a rolling stone, Kate gathers no moss. Kate loves kale, being barefoot, Dr. Seuss, singing too loudly, gallivanting, palindromes, blackberries and has far too many books for her own good. When she's not writing, you can find her practicing yoga, running in the woods, playing with her kids, devouring a book, planting dandelions, changing the world and doing her dishes. Kate does not play the accordion. She is a massage therapist, writer and a compassionate friend to all. This year Kate aspires to finally give up on learning to knit and will instead spend that time putting a little bit more of her heart on the page. Connect with Kate on Facebook and Twitter


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3 Responses to “Profanity for Gentlemen.”

  1. John_Dalton says:

    Bloody Marvelous Kate.

  2. [...] and I try not to be crude or ugly with my words, even if they involve profanity. I think there is a difference between swearing and vulgarity, and the line is drawn in the tone of [...]

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