Very few things provide relief like a well utilized curse word.
Think of when you stub your toe and those artfully crafted cuss-filled verbalizations emerge, the sudden throbbing begins to subside.
It’s not a coincidence.
And if you pause here a hot minute, you’ll find I fucking love swearing.
Though knowing when it’s appropriate takes a certain amount of social sophistication.
My grandmother called my grandfather Bull Roar, a nickname born from her reaction to his stories. He would tell mildly embellished stories with her piping in, “oh, bull roar!”
By the time I was double-digits I knew she was calling him out, and that roar really meant shit.
For a long time, polite society has considered the use of profanity a sign of vulgarity or low intelligence and lacking education.
Swearing can provide comic relief too. A well-placed accidental fuck can be a game changer.
Like the story that gets talked about: my husband, who at five years old demanded Ken-fuck-y Fried Chicken be served at dinner without realizing what he had done to humour all the adults.
Cursing is also a rather interesting activity as it engages both our left and right brain, with our language center in the left and our emotional center in the right.
Yet there is a negative view of profanity. And those who employ it.
Where would stand up comedy be without swearing!?
But is that because bad words really are bad or is it aversive conditioning?
When it comes to pain, it would appear there is a positive purpose for profanity.
Let us return to the stubbing of the toe:
When the event occurs you are likely to express some choice words, perhaps you use my husband’s favourite, “oh fucking fuck!” However, the meaning of those words is less important than the emotional release they offer.
Even if most of us equate the word fuck with sex.
And that isn’t without merrit either – it is derived from an Old German word meaning ‘to penetrate.’
Research has shown that cussing triggers an emotional response and that triggers a stress response that carries with it a stress-induced reduction in the pain you are experiencing: your stubbed toe. But be warned, the same research has shown that those magical curse words lose their power if overissued.
Profanity is an evolutionary advantage with the potential to protect us from harm. And there is science to back this.
When an animal is scared, angry, or wants to be left alone they hiss, scratch, or bite. Similarly swearing provides the opportunity to express one’s emotions. And it can very clearly communicate to those around what your emotional state is hopefully without you becoming physically involved.
It is possible that swearing makes a more honest person out of you too.
When we express ourselves using strong emotionally fueled words, we will inevitably come across more honest. Like in a hold nothing back way, not necessarily a morally superior way.
As cussing dances on both sides of the brain, it tends to be preserved when the rest of our language is lost, because of its strong emotional content. It is why stroke survivors who lose their ability to speak can still articulate a handful of so-called bad words or why non-verbal folks successfully and fluently let the fucks flow.
While studies involving loss of speech and continued cussing date back to the 1800s, more research and studies regarding profanity and speech loss have emerged in recent decades.
Studies have also shown that filtering our fucks and swapping our shit doesn’t achieve anything, so put away your self-censorship badge. No one fucking cares and it doesn’t fucking mean anything.
The truth is, we should spend more time listening to people and getting to know them than we should (or do) spend censoring them.
So where was I going with all of this? I bet you’d like to fucking know.
Because swearing requires the use of our creative brain, while performing a logical function, I thought it would be a hoot colour some colourful language amongst pretty things.
To offer some added value to spending your time on the site, I will be creating a *FREE* monthly Bad Words Colouring Page.
Here is the innaugural page:
Profanity is (still) a taboo that exists in all cultures, whether you believe it bad manners or an artform.
Personally, I think something that unites the two hemispheres in our brain and has the ability to inspire everything from sadness to laughter to outrage, deserves some fucking respect.