I was in my bathroom getting ready this morning, examining the silver hairs streaking through my locks and thinking about expectations. A lot of my friends (and one extremely close family member in particular whom I worship and adore) would look at me in this slowly advancing state of salt-and-pepper and use the word, "hag."
Besides the silvers (they're not grey; they're silver), my hair is probably a little too long. A little too frizzy. Oh, I could take the time to blow dry, grease it with Moroccan Oil, dye it back to its original monotone chestnut color, but I'm not sure I care. Anna Wintour says that any woman of a certain age should cut her hair above her shoulders. Hmmmm... yah, no.
There are lots of rules like Ms. Wintour's here in America — social norms we call them, if I'm remembering the term from 11th grade sociology correctly. Don't wear white between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Don't eat on public transit. Greet people with one kiss on the right cheek (unless you are a New Yorker who pretends to be a European, then you deliver one kiss on each cheek while scanning for other more important friends in the room). Do not invade a stranger's 18-inch bubble. Get married before you make babies. Hold your tongue in an elevator. Tip anyone in the service industry. Etc., etc., etc.
And then there's the cursing. Oh, the cursing.
I know there are social rules about cursing, but I still go back and forth on how I feel about it. Those who read my blog faithfully are familiar with my ease at dropping f-bombs. Writing for me is a passionate release, a focused meditation — and often times my fingers fly over the keyboard so quickly that I barely know what I'm writing until I'm done. If a few unclassified words end up in the mix, who am I to edit them?
Plus. In real life, I quite enjoy the f-word. I use it occasionally. Maybe too occasionally. But I don't place any verbal value on it, except as a non-verbal verbal that lets people know that I am flawed. (Though most wouldn't need four-letter word to see that.)
And then there's always pressure to stifle the cursing in front of the kids. Tell me. When it comes to parenting, what is right? Apologize for letting "shit" escape in front of the kids? Don't apologize for letting "shit" escape in front of the kids. (Maybe they didn't notice?) Is hell a cuss or a place? Is ass a donkey or a bum? Is fart okay? What about penis and vagina? I think they're good. But not in school. Boobs? Butt? Shut up? How 'bout the modern alternative — Shut it? Is it okay that my 7-year-old knows all the words to "I'm Sexy and I Know It"? Is it okay that my 5-year-old sings "Red Solo Cup" and that I think it's kind of funny when she says, "And you, sir, do not have a pair of testicles if you prefer drinking from glasses." (I mean, she's almost 6, really, but that's still pretty bad, right?)
I actually spend time pondering the spiritual repercussions of cursing. Oh, yes, I do. I mean, it's about 49th on my list of priorities, squeaking in just after emptying my mom's dog's anal sacks, but the spiritual questions are there.
Is cursing an careless, heedless form of communication? Is cursing offensive? Yes, I suppose it is. But why? I guess I know why, but is it because God cares? When I splatter searing hot bacon grease on my bare arm and shout, "JESUS!" does Jesus give a shit, ahem, I mean give a damn, ahem, I mean give a rat's ass... oh whatever. You know what I mean. But really. Does he? And does he/He/HE care if I capitalize or not? Honestly, I'm thinking no. And if, by some small chance, I'm right and God doesn't care, why do some people care so much?