Some time ago I read a post by Wendy on the Rock where she talks about her love for bad language, particularly the ‘F’ word and how this used to upset her mother to hear her swearing at one time, but now she has become used to it.
I could relate to this post, mainly as it brought back memories of how strict my mum and stepdad were when my siblings and I were growing up. I have to say that as a little girl, I was not much of a swearer, in fact, I was reticent and a bit of a ‘Goody Two Shoes’. Well, truth be known, back in the ‘olden days’ we didn’t hear much bad language, not even on the TV (Mind you I had to be in bed before eight until I was about 12 years old)!
I never heard my mother swear at all, growing up, (I don’t count ‘bugger’, ‘bloody’ and ‘Christ’ as swearing. She did let the odd ‘shit’ slip out though (Ha Ha! bit of a double entendre there). Woe betide any of us that dared say any of those words though, We would be threatened as Wendy was, with our mouths being washed out with soap. My stepfather was a bit different though as he had a broad West Country ‘oooh-arrr’ type of accent that made us laugh, especially when he described someone falling as ‘going arse over tit’. Commonplace now but shocking to us kids back then. Mum would give him a bit of a look, but he was oblivious to it anyway!
I remember when I was about nine years old and desperate to grow up quickly, was upset about my deficiency in the boob department. We had been singing Christmas Carols at school. A line from ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ had piqued my interest, which was …’a breastful of milk and a manger full of hay’. Hmmm, did that mean that if I drank a lot of milk, then a would get big boobs, which I desperately wanted ( I was very innocent back then). Anyway, I asked my Mum for a glass of milk, and for some reason told her why I wanted it. She asked me to repeat what I had just said,
“To make my breastful of milk grow bigger,” I chirped. WRONG! I got a clout for that!. We did not discuss intimate body parts in our house, not even allowed to say ‘bum’. Bottom was the correct term for everything front and back, girls and boys! Sex education we learned at school (or from other kids), and I dreaded telling my Mum when puberty started!
I would never swear in front of my older brothers and sisters either, particularly my eldest sister as I would probably get a smack off her as well (she dobbed me in to my Mum when she found a packet of cigarettes on me when I was 13)!!! Funnily enough, Mum wasn’t as mad about that as she would be about us swearing!
My younger sister was and is a lot braver, and much feistier than I am. I remember once when we were teenagers; she was sleeping in my room, and as we used to fight like cat and dog then. I for once got furious and told her to ‘piss off”. Oh, no, Mum’s room was next door, and sure enough, my stepdad yelled, but at my sister, not me! No-one thought I had it in me to use such language!
Now of course. Mum doesn’t seem to mind her grand-children swearing, in fact, she has been known to come out with a few choice words herself. Not only that she openly talks about sex (CRINGE), and has a filthy mind we’ve discovered. When we have large family gatherings, we quite often end up playing games, and although they always start reasonably innocently, ‘consequences’ ends up making an appearance, and the filthier, the better!
For those unfamiliar with it, everyone starts off with a bit of paper, you write a girl’s name on it, fold it over, pass it to the next person and they write a boy’s name on it, fold it over, pass it on. Then write where they met, what they did, what he said, she said and how it ended up each time folding it over and passing it on. When that is over, you take it in turns to read out all the combinations. It is a playground game really, but you can get some interesting scenarios if you have a dirty mind!
It is odd though that I still have that fear (or respect) in me that I will not swear in front of my Mum!