A while ago at, my friend and I were at a delightful soiree (read: a raging party), with eclectic music (read: Nicki Minaj) echoing throughout the venue. I sang “Starships” as loud as I can, admiring my angelic voice and judging myself for knowing all the lyrics.
I continued to sing: “Bad snitches like me, is hard to come by…” At this point, the people around me stopped dancing.
“What did you say? Snitches?” Confused faces and awkward laughs follow. But what REALLY confuses people is my response.
“I don’t swear.”
In fact, I’ve never said a swear word in my life.
When I first mention this, people think I’m kidding. And, to be fair, I’m a pretty sarcastic and sassy person to begin with, so I can understand if they think I’m lying. But I’m not.
The next question I get is why I choose not to swear. Well, here is where it becomes difficult to answer. “I just don’t like it,” is what I want to say, but I know people don’t like that argument and I actually have more to say about it as well. I don’t swear because I think it is unnecessary. It’s NOT a religious or cultural thing – though some people tend to think that it is. Whether it is out of humor, anger or just in casual conversation, I don’t think swearing contributes anything of value.
People argue with me on this. They say quite the opposite – that swearing adds an important layer to something someone says.
But I disagree. There are plenty of other ways to put emphasis on something, rather than use an expletive term. Be more descriptive, speak in a different tone and change your volume of speech. You honestly don’t have to use swear words. And to some people, swearing can be a little off-putting.
I used to be that kid in elementary and middle school that would give people the stink eye for saying a bad word. I’m not like that anymore. I know that people swear – and that it’s not necessarily the worst thing ever. I just still don’t think it’s a good thing.
My friends at home joked that they would try to get me to swear by the end of my four years of high school. But I never caved. Hearing this, my friends at Northwestern say the same thing. One of them said, “You will DEFINITELY swear at some point. Especially now that you’re in college.”
And that got me thinking. Will college change me? Will college finally make me say things I never thought of saying in the past?
With freshman year coming to a close, I can still say that I have never sworn in my life. But the college experience has made swearing more apparent to me.
From what I’ve seen, there is a lot more swearing going on in college than in high school. Maybe it’s because everyone is older. With age comes excessive potty-mouthing.
If you walk around campus, you’ll see plenty of students passionately debating everything from ASG elections to skim versus whole milk. If there’s anything I know about NU students now, it is that they will make their voices heard by any means necessary – often by adding an expletive or two to get their point across.
I also think partying has something to do with the seemingly large presence of swearing at college. When you go to a party and certain people are less sober than others, the mother of all swears (pun intended) keeps making an unwelcome appearance.
Swearing in college is also less tabooed than it was in high school. High school teachers didn’t say any swear words, and if they did it was because the required text demanded it (To Kill a Mockingbird, anyone?). In college, professors don’t really have that ‘G-rated’ wall anymore. For example, many of my professors and teaching assistants this year have said swear words during lectures and discussions.
And yet, instead of turning me to the dark side, the excessive swearing at Northwestern has led me to be even more aware of my position on the issue. Swearing, no matter how prevalent, will always be something I will avoid.
And to the people who say that I’m strange and childish, I say this: Fudge you.