Much To My Delight

Much To My Delight


Why I Curse on My Blog

 

Blog subscribers come and go; that’s just the nature of the beast. People unsubscribe when the content bores, when pictures or recipes suck, when nothing unique or original is being produced. And I have noticed, on my blog in particular, that people unsubscribe whenever a few choice dirty words are dropped on the page.

I mean, it could just be coincidental…but I really think it’s not. Every time I have sworn on a blog post, at least two or three people unsubscribed shortly after.  Because I only post about once a week, it’s pretty easy to surmise which was the offending post. I recently described the rat in my apartment as both an asshole and a filthy motherfucker, and I still can’t think of more accurate ways to describe that little bastard.  I don’t know much about the values or leanings of the majority of my readers, but I can say with confidence I am not offending my girlfriends in Queens, because they’re the ones writing comments on my FB wall like, “Loved this post Jenn. You cursed twice…and it was the good one.”

So let’s talk about profanity.

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My clients almost always apologize after cursing in session for the first time. I establish very quickly that they should never censor themselves in therapy.

“This is your space. You can say anything you want in here,” I tell them, and mean it. I almost always follow up with, “Trust me, I’ve heard that word before and I say it myself.”  But this wasn’t always the case.

I was the most straight-laced teenager on the planet, and spent my formative years actively avoiding colorful and potentially offensive language. I grew up in a sweet and charming beach town called Galveston, which was recently named one of the Top 10 Friendliest Small Cities in America. When it was time for yearbook favorites, I was nominated in the category of “Most Courteous”, the teenage equivalent of “Biggest Waste of Hormonal Mood Swings” or “Person We’d Secretly Like to Punch in the Face”. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I was definitely not the Jennifer Lawrence of my high school. I was Anne Hathaway.

I didn’t start cursing until my early 20s after taking to the hard, mean streets of New York City, a town where the gutters run with filth and the mouths follow suit. On my first day of work in publishing, my editor gave me the office tour. When she referred to the ladies’ restroom as “the john”, I knew a tide was turning and that my mind and mouth were about to become much dirtier places.

I don’t remember when I finally pulled the trigger on dropping my first F-bomb, but I’m sure it was an occasion befitting such vulgarity. I do, however, remember feeling very empowered and genuine and free, because I felt as though I was truly getting my point across. Sometimes a well-placed curse word really capures a feeling, and being all mamby-pamby with language can dilute the strength of the message. Case in point: The mother of my best friend in high school is a beautiful and elegant woman who would yell, “Ohhhhhhhh, double-darn!” when someone cut her off in traffic. You could tell by her hesitation that she really wanted to scream something else, and if she had, I’m sure she would have felt tremendous satisfaction and significant tension release. She also would have shocked the hell out of everyone in the car.

When someone who rarely curses suddenly says a word as powerful as fuck, people tend to take notice. And that’s why I still use curse words carefully and conservatively—both orally and in writing. I too would like to be described as a beautiful and elegant woman. Still, I’m not willing to censor myself to an unreasonable or unnecessary degree. I think I have a firm grasp of when it’s appropriate and when it’s inappropriate to swear. I don’t curse in staff meetings or around your children. It’s all a personal choice, and I choose to occasionally pepper my writing with profanity for emphasis and descriptive value. I also use it to add humor, which it almost always does. My aim is never to offend, or to water strong words down with overuse. When I use an expletive, it’s always judiciously chosen and for good reason.

If I were writing about food or fashion or home decor on my blog, there would be no real purpose for profanity and I wouldn’t use it. But because this is a story-telling blog, I’m not willing to eliminate descriptive words that could make a story richer, fuller, funnier or more authentic. If I lose a few readers because of those words, that’s a hit worth taking, in my opinion. If I’ve learned anything at all in my short time on this planet it’s that you’ll never please everyone, and if someone is turned off by occasional curse words, this might not be the right blog to read. Still, I can promise that I’ll never intentionally write something truly offensive or overtly controversial, because it’s just not my personal style. Anyone who knows me can attest to that.

And so, as I see the numbers on my subscriber list falling, I pull up my bootstraps, fire up the computer and tell myself the same thing I tell my clients, the ones who tread cautiously while trying to express themselves in an honest, authentic way.

This space is yours. You can say anything you want in here.

 

Jenn P.

30-something psychotherapist. Loves cooking, hosting parties, exploring new places. Texan by birth. New Yorker by choice. Likes to tell little stories. Pull up a chair; I'll tell you one.

  • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
    To the bloggers in the house: Do you use profanity on your blog? Have you ever noticed people unsubscribing following a post in which you cursed? I’m curious.
  • ME
    There are people that are offended by the F-Bomb. I am one of them. However, I agree that sometimes you just have to go there.
    There is no reason to unsubscribe. There is a setting in your email server. It will let you block any email containing ANY words
    that you find offensive. I have it. It works. Jennifer has SO much talent and wisdom, it is a shame anyone would unsubscribe.
    I have met her and she IS a beautiful and elegant Lady. I know you have seen pictures of her in all aspects of her life.
    When I have not seen her blog in my inbox for a while, I go to it via my bookmarks. That is MY decision
    Jenn has so much to say and show in her blogs. Missing out on this great talent because of a word you hear EVERYDAY
    you are in public, you are putting a void in your life.
    ME
    • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
      That’s a really good point about blocking emails that contain profanity. I actually didn’t know you could do that. Thanks for that! And thanks for the very kind words about my writing and my character too:).
      • ME
        Jenn,
        You are the leader of the pact with subscibers. I hope all email servers have the block option. Just go to settings and I hope all servers have that option.
        I feel sorry for people that unsubscibe. They don’t know what they are missing out on.
        And this too shall pass
        ME
  • http://nicolemarica.com/ Nicole Marica
    I struggle with this on my own blog. there are times when I’m telling a story that I feel like a curse word would make so much better but then I worry about offending readers so I don’t do it. I even get a little concerned over “damn” which isn’t even that bad of a curse word. I enjoyed reading this post, it was thought provoking
    • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
      Thanks for your comment, Nicole. I do notice that very few bloggers use curse words on their blog, and it’s definitely never my intention to offend anyone. There’s certain REALLY dirty words I would just never ever go near because I would offend MYSELF in writing them!
  • http://writemeg.com/ Meg
    For the most part, I couldn’t care less about seeing curse words in writing. You’re right: there are times when no other word will do, and the story is less colorful and interesting and genuine because of it. I don’t curse much (or at all) in mixed company, but I have shocked the hell (!) out of my coworkers when I’ve dropped a colorful word or two. I doubt anyone thinks less of me for it! (Eh, hopefully. But there are certainly much dirtier mouths than mine.) But on my blog? I guess I don’t have much of an occasion to curse, really. As you note, writing about books and recipes and the like doesn’t really open me up to an F-bomb. I’m also very aware of my audience — which includes my mom, grandmothers, mother-in-law, and various other people I know IRL. So I don’t do it . . . and if I have, I don’t remember. Would I be opposed to it, if I felt like putting one in? Probably not, as long as it’s something innocuous like “damn.” As in, “Damn, it feels good to be a bookworm.” I think I could rock that. :)
    • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
      Hahaha–you should totally make “Damn, it feels good to be a bookworm” your tagline. Gangsta! I used to be more conservative with what I wrote because my darling grandparents as well as in-laws and other relatives do check in from time to time. But I think I’m at an age where I’m not as bothered if relatives think/know I curse or not. Plus…so do most of them, in my company:)
  • http://www.jbound.com/ Julie
    Well, I effing love your blog! So there’s that. I don’t really curse on mine…mostly because my parents read it, and my mother would clutch at her pearls. That, and some people at work found out about it. Too much potential friction there.
    • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
      Oh Julie…you are in for such a treat when you move here. You can’t walk two blocks without hearing an F-bomb. Also…eek. Hope it wasn’t a weird situation when work colleagues found your blog. I’ve tried so hard to avoid that!
  • Sonya
    I think I could have been described exactly the same way you described yourself, in high school, so I am glad that I’m in good company. :) I agree that swearing has an appropriate time and place and I will definitely continue to be a reader.
    • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
      Thanks Sonya! I’ve outgrown the image a tiny bit since growing up and moving to NY, but there’s always a little bit of Anne Hathawayishness that remains.
  • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze
    Please don’t stop cursing. It makes you real and relatable and it’s why I love your blog. I don’t care for foul language when it’s over done but if you pepper it in here and there it can be really funny and you always do it in a way where I don’t see it coming and then I find myself laughing out loud. And I turned off the notifications of unsubscribers. It was causing me anxiety but I didn’t notice any direct correlation with dirty words. Other than when my grandmother stopped speaking to me for five months because she misunderstood what I wrote in a response to her comment once and thought I told her to fuck off. I would never tailor my thoughts for my audience though. The writing wouldn’t be as good because it wouldn’t be from the heart.
    • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
      Thanks Kelly! As a fellow NY blogger, I’m sure a curse word here and there is something you barely notice:). I agree with you about not tailoring the writing to try to appeal to a certain audience–I’ll always keep it respectful, but I don’t want to go down that road either because the story-telling would definitely suffer. I hope you and your grandmother have mended fences:).
  • Deborah Hutchison
    I am a new subscriber but have been reading a few weeks. I’m not turned off by cursing when appropriate. Having a rat the size of a cat is an appropriate time to do this. I’m a Texan. I live in Houston. Texas is the best. I am however familiar with nutria. Gross & pox on the people who brought those nasty animals to my paradise. Ugh. Just an FYI that I learned from. As a child I was told the only people that used bad language were people who were stupid and had no other ways of expressing themselves with a more appropriate vocabulary. Well cheers to my parents this stopped me cold for many years. However I became older and wiser and learned they were wrong. Funny thing is it’s so engrained that when I read curse words I always ask “hmm is this a dumb person ? Or someone I should associate with ?” Parents engrain things in those little brains of ours. Word to the wise. Be careful what you say to kids. I had read a lot of your archives and knew this was not a regular thing. So it’s fine by me girl. Sometimes the occasional f bomb makes me feel much better. I subscribed today to make up for your recent loss of subscribers. Mostly cuz I wanna know what would make a TEXAN move to NY CITY & stay ? Lol. Plus I REALLY ENJOY your writing. Keep it up.
    • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
      I love this comment! Thanks Deborah. I do agree to some degree that overuse of curse words can make someone sound less intelligent. And I also think the smartest and funniest people are ones that are able to be sharp and witty without excessive profanity. I appreciate your sweet feedback. Trust me….after this winter we’ve had here and the amount of money I’ve dropped on rent living in NYC for the last 14 years, I’ve certainly asked myself the same exact question about why I left Texas for the city!! I’m from Galveston originally, so Southeast Texans unite!
      • Deborah Hutchison
        Hey Jen. For some reason I don’t see Vin leaving your fine city. He seems to be a dyed in the wool New Yorker.
    • ME
      Hi Deborah,
      I am from Houston also. I moved to Las Vegas and I keep asking myself why. Initionally, I had a goal.
      After achieving this goal, I keep kicking myself for not going back to Texas. If not for the economy and my age,
      I would definately go home. That is my next goal. Texas Rocks!!!
      I hope you continue to follow Jennifer’s blog. She is amazing. I also suggest reading ALL past blogs. Jenn has a way
      of combining pictures with words that makes EVERY story come alive. You will find yourself feeling like you are there.
      Texas misses her. When you go to her Wedding blog, take notice of how much Texan stays in her heart.
      You will love it.
      • Deborah Hutchison
        Hey “ME” nice to meet ya. I have read all the archives. I love Jen’s writing & photos. Jen you have an awesome balance of crackin me up and touching my heart. Often in the same post. “Me” I wouldn’t let age or the economy stop you. As far as age, years pass by no matter where you are. And Tx has a notoriously cheap as dirt housing market. Don’t know about your job situation. As Tx is making a recovery in most areas. The job market however is still pretty tough from what I hear. In other words, come home to Tx girl. ; ) do you have an instagram ? Follow me @iamdebhutchison. Best.
        • ME
          Thank you Deborah, If I could go back home, you will be the first to know. Thank you so very much. Eat some good Mexican and BBQ and Seafood for me. GAIDO’S
          ME
  • ME
    Maybe it is just me. It seems you have gotten more comments on and about the content of this blog than you usually get.
    These are open minded and intelligent people.
    Your talent overrides all. A smart person recognises this and will be waiting for you to write the next..
    I hate the F-bomb. But it is what it is and will definately NOT keep me from one of the joys in my life…
    reading your blog.
    ME
  • ME
    Jenn,
    I am sorry if I crossed a like chimbing in to Deborah,
  • Rosemary Liriano
    I have always been a reader but I do the random type muchtomydelight.com typing in my URL bar to check for new posts…well not anymore!! This post taught me that I can subscribe and be alerted of the posts I look forward to reading. Duh loser is what I said to myself when I found the subscribe button. P.s. Keep fucking cursing…it’s necessary :)