Celia Rivenbark

The increased use of the ‘F’ word | From the Belle Tower by Celia Rivenbark

For most of my adult life, I have been an unrepentant fan of cussing in general and the F-bomb in particular. As often noted, the F-bomb’s appeal is derived from its unique linguistic versatility. In other words, unlike almost any other word in the English language, a properly executed F-bomb is equally effective when employed as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, conjunction, preposition, article or, as it is most often used, an interjection.

I don’t limit my daily cursing to F-bombs. Why that would be like only wearing one color or eating one food day after day. To do so would be to ignore a veritable smorgasbord of colorful colloquialisms available for the taking! My point is that as someone who makes her living (an effing meager one at that) with words, I am overjoyed, ebullient even, to read a new study that finds—contrary to the tired canard about cursing indicating low intelligence—quite the opposite is true. But all of us sesquipedalians already knew that. Sigh.

I always enjoy a defense of swearing by someone of obvi intelligence. No less than the fabulous Tina Fey tenderly told a prim Matt Lauer (apparently channeling an 1850s “Little House on the Prairie spinster schoolmarm) that swearing was “comfortable, like an old swaddling blanket”) when he seemed to have his knickers in a twist over language in the movie “Sisters.”

Forgive my circumlocution. Which is not to be confused with circumcision which, from what I can tell, has led many a newborn to utter his first curse word.

I will get to the point: The study found that a voluminous taboo lexicon is an indication of healthy verbal abilities, not, as previously (and vexingly) described by certain saxicoli as “a cover for verbal deficiencies.”

Nanny nanny boo boo and eff all y’all! Sorry I was caught up in my own gasconade. A thousand pardons.

I believe we can all agree that these scientific-butt findings are fascinating fodder. Interestingly, the study follows another from a fortnight ago, that found that women curse a lot more than men. Especially when discussing how much more they have to pay for dry cleaning for reasons no one can effing explain.

OK, I may have added that last part.

A study at Cambridge University looked at 10 million words used by 376 volunteers to discover that women are 10 times more likely than men to use the F-bomb in daily conversation.

The study also found that use of the F-bomb among women has increased FIVE HUNDRED PERCENT in the past 20 years. (Interestingly, the first case of Mad Cow disease surfaced in England exactly 20 years ago. Coinkydinky? I think not.)

Unscientifically speaking, I know that I cuss a lot more than Duh Hubby, who tends to sound more like Phil Dumphy, the “Modern Family” dad who stubs his toe and screams “Sacajawea!!!

P.S. I tried, all column, to work in a reference to Kim Kardashian being callipygian but I couldn’t. Eff it all.

Celia Rivenbark is the New York Times best-selling author of “Rude B****** Make Me Tired.” Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.

  Comments