Ever notice how everyone has different words they hate and different words they don’t mind at all?
You’d have to ask my best friend to be sure, but I don’t think I curse that much out loud. Zoe always teases, “Oh my God you said a swear word!” when I type one, and that’s pretty much the reaction I always get in real life, so I don’t think I curse that much out loud. I’ve got a squeaky-high voice that’s higher than most of my ten-year-old students, so curse words tend to sound out of place, anyway.
What’s weird is, my mind, when thinking, tends to adopt the voice of a country boy, kicking back with a beer and shooting the shit at the local run-down, after-work bar. (I’ve never been in one, but I’m a writer. What can I say? I’m practicing dialogue.)
Anyway, most people say hell isn’t a curse word, but my mother was so belligerent about using it that I always hated it. Her voice usually came from her throat, squeezed tight like she was straining hard to hold it together.
But when she said hell, she’d open everything up. Her jaw would relax, her tongue would get big, her mouth and throat would open wide, and hell would come up from the very bottom of her stomach.
Now some people hate shit, but I rather like it.
I like to play at teasing and compliments. You can’t know this about me from online. As a teacher, I have great respect for the art of complimenting: it’s no easy thing to shoot one right on target, one that makes someone feel so good they couldn’t stop smiling if they wanted to. Those are hard to do.
Trust me, they take quite a bit of craft.
Glenn has his buttons. If I tell him he’s handsome, he’ll tell me I’m full of shit. Granted, he’ll say it with a pleased smile, but still, it’s like getting a middle piece of cake when the person before you just got the corner piece loaded with icing.
But if I manage to deliver a compliment with just the right words when he’s least expecting it?
He’ll stop dead in place, a huge grin on his face. And if he can’t get his mouth to stop grinning, all he can manage to say is, “Shit.”
He can’t, however, stand the word f-ck. He thinks it’s the ugliest word ever. Indecent.
I think it’s rather cute. When I say it, it sounds almost like a two year old saying “Lookee! Duck! Duck! It’s a duck, mommy!” (Yes, my voice is that high. *sigh*)
It’s so neat and clean and compact. It’s chipper. It rhymes with luck. And duck and truck. A little squeak and it's gone, cut off cleanly with the k.
The worst for me, though, is when Glenn gets mad at another driver. We’ll be driving along the road, which is one of my favorite things to do.
Glenn isn’t much of a talker. He'd be all friendly-like if you met him, but at home he’ll read or watch TV or work on his computer. If I want to talk deep thoughts, he gets antsy and feels pinned down, so
I have to lock him in the car we have to drive somewhere.
I don’t much get to talk to anyone else, because all my interaction tends to be with kids, so I treasure our times in the car together. We’ll be driving along, and I’ll be chattering and he’ll comment and I love the sound of his voice.
He has a low voice that is smooth and rumbly at the same time. When he’s amused or he’s thinking I’m cute at the moment, the smooth rumbles get more airy, like light shining through bubbles.
I love that sound. I don’t have kids, so right now that’s the most beautiful sound in the world to me.
But then some driver will cut him off and spoil everything. I mean, one minute his voice is full of love, and then all the rumbles and airiness flat disappear. His voice gets hard and passionate—so passionately intolerant and angry—and he curses the worst one in the whole world to me:
“Oh go jump in a lake!”
I know what you’re thinking but you have to hear it.
My husband’s voice sounds mad and ugly when he says it, and I’ll get upset because our intimacy is spoilt. I’ll yell at him not to be mean and not to curse, because it just sounds so awful. I swear I hate it so much that just to hear him say those words will put me in tears.
I hate “Go to hell,” too. What a horrid thing to say. What an awful, horrible thing to say. How could you wish that on someone?
So which curses do you find cute? Which ones sound horribly ugly to you?