Why do so many people use F$#@$# obscenities?

There are times when I’m really glad that my children aren’t with me when I’m out and about, and today was one of those days. I went down to the main shopping area here in town to buy a couple of pair of shoes and had to walk past some homeless folk, general riff-raff and scruffy college age kids.
Each and every one of these groups was speaking in loud voices (or so it seemed to me) and every fourth or fifth word was an obscenity. If the walk from my car to the store and back would have been in a film, it would have easily guaranteed at least a PG-13 rating (though nowadays, maybe people can use the F- word in a G movie for all I know).
Now, I’ll admit, I like obscenities. I talk with A- and G- about how “words have power” and that certain words have a lot of power and that’s why you should never use them without thinking, but when I’m with my pals, I’ll use obscenities for effect.


Heck, some of the best words in the English language…
But the liberal use of obscenities in public, in places where plenty of families walk and where it seems to me that my kids are just as likely to hear these words as anyone else, just turns me off completely.
My view is that in private I really couldn’t care less how people communicate, but when you’re in public, and especially when you’re in front of children or even in an area where there’s a strong likelihood that children will be present, you need to clean up your act and skip the inappropriate language.
Does that make me a prude?
Fortunately for me, while my kids are very aware of their surroundings, we haven’t yet had a “Dad, what does $#@$# mean?” sort of question, which rather surprises me. Probably they already know what the words mean, but they’re also savvy enough to know that they’re not really words that we use in everyday discussion.
As it is, G- (who is 6) already knows about “the F word” and while he doesn’t actually say the word, he’s clearly fascinated by a word that has such power. A- (9) doesn’t seem to care less, but that might be a gender thing too: in my experience, men use a lot more obscenities than women do (which isn’t to say that women can’t keep up with us guys, just that in everyday speech guys seem to be more crude).
Nonetheless, back to point. Is it just me, or are you also seeing a gradual degradation of public discourse to where it’s hard to differentiate it from an Eddie Murphy comedy special or some pathetic “stoner” movie?
As for me? I wish these uncouth folk would just go the $#@$#@ away!

10 comments on “Why do so many people use F$#@$# obscenities?

  1. A little prudeness could go a long way, these days! And I freely admit to having a sailor mouth and occasionally slipping up in front of my kids, ok, more often than I care to admit, but, when I do, I feel ‘bad’ (operative word) about it, and apologize. There are so many people who don’t recognize that ‘bad’ feeling in their tummy when they’ve done wrong by a child. And a lot of people are of the mind that they are just ‘words’ and that their children are going to hear/say them anyway, so they might as well allow that. Words are not just words. Words have power, like you said, and words can be ugly and hurtful. It is just one more way that our ‘modern’ society is ripping our children’s innocence away. ‘Ripping away a child’s innocence.’ Ouch. How can your tummy not hurt from that?

  2. I have to say, the “bad word” thing never phased me until a few months ago when my son really started talking….now I fear all words spoken around him – and because of that I take great offense when out at what should be a nice peaceful restaurant, and cringe at every nasty thing that comes out of the mouths of the people around us….I guess I’m a prude too 🙂

  3. A very good question indeed! I’m no saint and can have a pretty bad mouth myself, but never in front of children- especially anyone else’s kids!! We recently moved from Phoenix, AZ back to our small, quaint hometown in Ohio. I am SO glad to be back here. There is none of the riff-raff like there was out there.

  4. You seem to care so much about how you are rasing your kids, and yet you describe other human beings as “general riff raff”??? How can that be? Do you want your kids to grow up to make snap judgements about people based on how they look, or do you want them to judge people on how they behave and treat others?
    On the other hand….I agree with your concerns about obsecenities…I teach in an inner city middle school and am constantly horrified by the language I hear in the halls and cafeteria.

  5. Funny I should finally read this today… same thing around here in our sleepy little corner. I was babysitting two kids (and had my own son there too) and as we passed a group of three teenage girls, one of them said the f-word… I think I scared her because my head whipped around and the glare… I almost scared myself. Pretty sure I even had an audible growl. She ended up snapping-to, wide-eyed and said “Sorry!”. Hope she now thinks about what she says.
    Even a couple of days ago at the park – gorgeous day, lots of kids around… this guy starts shouting at his buddies *across the park* “YOU GUYS ARE F-ING LOSERS!!”. Well, my drama teach would have been proud of my “using the diaphram to project” because if he didn’t have attention on him before, he certainly did after I got all Mom on his @$$ 😉

  6. tis because it seems to be the norm..and also why did we make words that are “off limits” anyways? it seems like the red button that says dont push me what ever you do.
    i feel people that use these words are just caught up in a social conditioning that even i fall into from time to time

  7. I agree with Melissa. It’s nice of you to call “homeless people” and “scruffy college age kids” riff-raff. I’m a college age kid and I assure you that I am neither scruffy nor a sailor mouth as you make us all out to be. I also did not appreciate the needless jab at homeless people. Because others are young or poor, you have the right to judge them? And about the swearing thing. There’s such a thing called freedom of speech in this country. People may say whatever they like, whenever they like, regardless of your disapproval. People swear, and you do as well, as you so generously admitted. Get over it. If people are decent enough to restrain themselves in the presence of children, good for them. If they are not, it’s none of your business. If you are a good parent and your children are smart, they won’t use the words they hear.

  8. Obviously, I couldn’t disagree with you more, Sunny. Societies aren’t based on “individual freedom trumps societal expectations and norms” and I find it curious and frankly offensive when you say that if someone isn’t using some discretion with their language in front of children that it’s “none of my business”.
    In fact, it is. And that’s why all states in the US have obscenity and lewd behavior laws.
    Try it for yourself if you’d like. Go to a playground or other public place where there are lots of kids and start talking as crudely as you possibly can. First you’ll have parents asking you to tone it down or take it elsewhere, then you’ll have the local police or sheriff encouraging you to move along or take a little trip to the station with them.

  9. I also recently discovered that my spouse of nearly 20 years, whom I have adored has been unfaithful to me. We are both professionals, with very busy careers; yet seemed to enjoy alot of the same things. Our intimate life began to suffer early on in our marriage, even though when we had sex, I felt it was great for the most part. Now, I have learned that the reason our sex life “dropped off,” was due to an affair with a secretary much younger then him. Even though this was years ago, they have been in contact again recently and have resumed their sexual relationship. I know this, as her husband recently contacted me and has shared information/emails between them. Do I think he loves her…No. I think he may have a sexual addiction…as I have discovered other relationships, and web contacts to Adult Friend Finder. He refuses to come totally clean, however if he would, it would be easier to forgive. He is accustomed to being the man in charge and does not like being humbled or on the hot seat. He tends to react in anger and walk away rather then showing maturity by discussing what has happened and being upfront. I recogize no one wants to be in the Hot Seat…but his avoidance of the truth, only continues the lying…and not knowing probably causes me to embellish things in my mind. This is a man that I revered, and even though I do love him; I feel his disrespect/selfishness has forever tarnished the image I will have. I feel as if my married life has been A LIE. I will not live my life or spend my time checking up on him, but will not have blinders on either.

  10. I just discovered the same thing. What is this site anyway? My boyfriend has hundreds of hits a day on it! Help me to understand what it is all about and what should I do?

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