Bad Language: Our Household History

I am a child of the seventies.  My generation listened as profanity switched from absurdly scandalous to cutting-edge conversational. My parent embraced the zeitgeist with humor and creativity.

Yet, I live in a home free of rough words.

I do not curse because I married a Russian.

In Russia, women and children never use profanity. To do so would be as taboo as using ethnic slurs in our culture—offensive in the extreme. In seventeen years of marriage, my husband’s worst oath has been “The devil can have this as a gift!”

It took me a month to temper my language around my new husband. A year later, my brain re-wired itself so much that my own mother scandalized me. Seventeen years later, my Mom re-wired her brain for her blushing daughter!

Every household is a miniature culture, with its own customs and prohibitions. Our home honors Russian tradition and my injunction against personal insults.  We do not say “stupid”, “idiot,” or demand someone to “shut up.”

So, this summer, my brows lifted when I overheard Liev’s cartoon du jour, Phineas and Ferb, feature a shut up-stupid shouting match.

I didn’t ban the cartoon outright. He will hear the same words at a playground or at school. At six, Liev seemed ready for a life lesson on bad language.


House of Curses

Actually, I was the one who learned a life lesson about bad language.

To be continued…