Four Letter Word

Disclaimer: This post has the word fuck in it. Quite a lot, actually. If you find it offensive, don’t read it. If not, my favorite writer human, Mark Manson, wrote an entire post about The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, and it’s great. And then watch this. Because Chris D’Elia. If you’re impatient, fast-forward to 1:38. You’re welcome.

You may now continue if you so choose. (Last chance to back out. Seriously. But first… Click me quick!)

For background: 

As an impressionable kid with a penchant for words, I loved learning new ways to describe life. I was born head over heels for language, determined to become its master. I had things to say, and I was ready to command my universe.

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Kids have a knack for picking up on things they aren’t supposed to, especially when learning to speak. I was no different. Children hear things, and they latch on because the illicitness makes it thrilling. I loved to roll words around in my mouth until the right time to spit them out, carefully assessing each reaction. A charged response lifted me like a helium-filled balloon.

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One day, at the babysitter, a boy thought it’d be fun to teach the small girl with the big voice (hey – that’s me!) one tiny four-letter word. That word sounded a lot like fuck (because it was). From then on, any possibility for an elegant, lady-like vocabulary was toast.

The story goes like this:

I unveiled my new favorite word when my grandparents were visiting from Washington. It was bedtime, but I did not want to go. In the overtired, well-known fashion of small children, I threw a tantrum.

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Slung over my dad’s shoulder like a flailing sack of flour, the time was right. I began to yell, “FUCK!” at the top of my little lungs. As my dad carried me up to bed.

My grandparents laughed to tears. My mother was mortified. Not wanting to encourage me with a response, my dad chewed his cheek raw to keep from chuckling. His hope was extinction by non-reaction, and in the short-term, it worked. I stowed it in my language toolbox for safe-keeping until middle school.


Fuck is such a fun word to say.

Tell me you don’t get a kick out of reading a line like that. Tell me that when you’re really hurting, saying fuck doesn’t make it feel better. Tell me when you’re angry, it doesn’t feel like divine justice to overuse the word fuck, even if it makes you sound like your only argument is the word “fuck.” (Hey, sometimes it is.) Tell me that when you stub your toe on the corner of your stupid couch, yelling, “AH FUCK!” doesn’t make the pain seem a little more bearable.

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That’s because it does. Studies suggest profanity reduces the perception of emotional and physical pain (You can Google those if you want), serving as a convenient excuse any time I overuse the four-letter beaut. I try not to overuse it. I love it, but there’s a time and a place, as Dad would say. OH MY GOD, I’M QUOTING MY PARENTS TO PEOPLE. WHAT IS THIS?!


I get that it’s offensive. Arguably, the way you use language versus the way it’s interpreted is a matter of perception and opinion. Endless debates exist for people who love to argue about what’s offensive, proper, correct, etc. but I’m apathetic to arguing simply for the sake of doing so.

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Instead, I’m going to talk about why I love the word fuck, for all of it’s glorious inappropriateness whilst Internet debaters argue over the previous paragraph. Cue Harry Potter quote in my best British accent: “Wands at the ready!”

Where was I… oh, right. Fuck!

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I love how it lands when you say it. I love how it sits in your mouth before you drop it into conversation. I love the endless ways it can be applied: filler, emotional expression, elaboration, positive/negative, incredulous, dismayed, disappointed… the list goes on. It’s so freakin’ versatile it makes my head spin. (Yes, I purposely chose freakin’, because while fuck is versatile, it doesn’t always fit – that’s a weird writer’s thing for me.)

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I love how punchy it is. Fuck. Gets right down to it, doesn’t it? It’s a no bullshit kind of word. I like that. I like how it still makes me giddy when I say it, and how sometimes it still makes me giggle afterward.


What can I say? My sense of humor is fucking immature.


If you’re still reading this… Sorry for all the fucks, Mom.


Bossey Boots

4 thoughts on “Four Letter Word

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