There are some words I just can’t stand. ‘Moist,’ for instance. I hate it. The way it sounds, the way it feels to say- I don’t even like to eat cake described that way. It gives me the oogies. For real. I have friends who can’t stand ‘panties.’ It doesn’t really bother me. It’s a little juvenile and I don’t use it very often, but it doesn’t give me that nails-on-a-chalkboard feeling.
But, there are other words… words that make me cringe. The “n” word. A young white guy on the bus home today was talking to a girl and every other word was “that n_ said,” and “I support that n_,” and “that n_ is my boy.” And every time, I shuddered. He was putting on his “thug life” attitude pretty thick and didn’t care who heard. And I wanted to say something. But I didn’t. In the crowd, I didn’t want to draw attention to myself and I didn’t feel safe confronting someone that close to my apartment. But I was ashamed that I didn’t ask him to watch his language.
Also, the “f” word. Most of my guy friends are gay men and use it to refer to eachother all the time. But it’s not for me. Something about it stings a little. It sounds like all the redneck boys in my high school to me. Like hate and fear and a little bit more testosterone than anyone needs.
It’s not about manners. It’s about words that cut, words that stab, words that have history. And while I am all in favor of free speech, today on the bus I wanted to quiet someone else. To drown out a little of the ugliness. To hear a kind word.