I was headed to dinner with some old college friends who have
less than stellar conversational modesty. Since we all have kids
now, I just assumed the obscenities would be left at
home. In the first few minutes of our greetings and
catch-up, the F-Bomb was thrown around, and several other words
that left me and my kids uncomfortable. I kept
looking at my husband as if to say, "Please say
something!" Eventually it did die down, as they
sensed my discomfort and David did speak up for the kids' sake.
Our brand new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is officially known as a
"Potty Mouth." In Rahm's family growing up as a child, foul
language was not acceptable.
"The Emanuels did not
ban swearing in the house, though Marsha says her boys know that
she considers cursing to be lowbrow behavior." (Chicago Tribune)
His father even speculates that the rumors about his
son's language might be exaggerated, according to a Chicago Tribune
article and interview. In my former professional life I
had several brief phone encounters with the now honorable Mayor
Emanuel. Though he never spoke a foul word directly to me, I can't
vouch for the conversation that went on after I hung up the phone.
If indeed he is a Potty Mouth, I wonder how Rahm talks around his
So is this the Victorian era, where ladies and children should
be subjected to a different quality of speech coming from the
mouths of men? Or is it a free-for-all that now includes
women and children? In my experience,
women are generally subjected to just as much foul language in the
workplace as men are.
Whenever really bad potty-talking men would "clean-up" their
mouths if I was present, somehow it made me feel lesser-almost as
though I wasn't really viewed as an equal. But in front
of children now? I think the line must be drawn
somewhere, really. In fact, I strongly agree with Rahm's
mother and find cursing in general to be lowbrow
behavior. That's not to say I don't use a few choice words now
and then, but never in front of my kids-which is very difficult
since they are the ones prompting me to use the choice words!
How do you talk around your kids? Do you follow
two sets of rules for your language, or do you keep it clean/dirty
all of the time regardless of who's in earshot?
See more of Heather's stories here.
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