At our age, many of us may remember ourselves or our friends getting their mouths washed out with soap for saying curse words. Cursing was taught to be bad, though it was also said to be something that was ok for grown-ups. Hmm.
I remember I was in grade school, possibly 3rd grade, when I learned curse words. This was a time when the entire classroom would give Valentine’s cards to each other. I had my brand new pack of cards and was carefully filling them out for my fellow classmates. At this age, I knew that saying fuck you was a not very nice thing to say. So I wrote one special valentine to a boy in class that always bothered me. Looking back, possibly he was flirting, though I’m positive the outcome would have been the same. In my best penmanship, in the now dying art of cursive, I wrote, “Happy Valentine’s Day. Fuck you. From Kimberly Ann Smith.” I of course included my full, proper name. I mean even at such a tender age, I obviously realized you gotsta follow through with a fuck you valentine, right?
Needless to say, my mother was called into a conference. I don’t recall my punishment – though I’m certain the real punishment was that my mother dated my teacher for a brief period following the incident. But I do recall the feeling of power. And of being left alone by the boy afterwards.
While I’m not advocating that you scream, or nicely print, fuck you to everyone that bothers you, cursing does carry certain power, even healing elements. Swearing, in many situations, can actually boost your self-esteem and ease pain.
Besides, if there’s a couple things we know have been considered unfeminine and unattractive throughout history, it’s women cursing and women aging. Well fuck that, sisters.
There is research in Australia and New Zealand that says swearing among friends is a sign of trust. The same research shows that co-workers that cuss around each other also trust each other more.
When you zip your skin into a tight pair of vintage jeans or skirt, with the classic metal zippers, cursing can actually help you feel less pain. Not to mention the pain of accidentally washing a vintage wool sweater. Curse about that shit. It will help. Richard Stephens a senior lecturer in psychology at Keel University in England, after conducting a study involving students keeping their hands submerged in ice water, said, “I would advise people, if they hurt themselves, to swear.”
Increased circulation and a release of endorphins, which reduce pain and trigger positive feelings in the body, are a couple of health benefits associated with cursing. Letting those four-letter words fly during a workout is also beneficial. While I often swear just over the thought of working out, Stephens says swearing can produce a boost of power during your workout.
Swearing can give us a sense of control over a bad situation. If someone is trying to pawn a bad 90s mall dress off as true 50s vintage, and you exclaim, “I’m not standing for this shit!”, you are in a sense relaying that you are not a victim. Ok, not the greatest example, but you get the drift, right?
Chloe Grace Moretz, an actress born in 1997, said she was raised to think cursing makes you look unintelligent. Poor girl, glad she grew out of that. Besides, science says it’s actually a sign of more intelligence, not less. Studies by psychologists from Marist College found that swearing appears to be a feature of language that an articulate speaker can use in order to communicate with maximum effectiveness. And actually, some uses of swearing go beyond just communication. Language is a sophisticated toolkit and swearing is a part of it.
Whether you’ve just scored an amazing vintage item, or your old car breaks down, gosh darn it, it just feels good to swear.
by Kim Kalliber
Kim comes from a fantastic family of vintage collectors, thrifters, artists and very non-professional comedians. She lives in the ‘burbs outside of Seattle with four rescue dogs and a few vintage cars and motorcycles, in a house some deem as overly-full of 50s lamps. She’s a graphic designer and news editor by day and also creates one-of-a-kind custom purses as Kalliber Kustoms. She’s a firm believer in living out loud. Kim is a founding member of the Piston Packin’ Mamas, an all-girl car and motorcycle club in Seattle.