Thankfully, I work in a very lax, very creative environment. Pretty much anything goes. Between Maury – show watching, celebrity shade throwing (looking at you Wyclef) and impromptu jam sessions, clowning is expected on any given day. Now, let me first explain that our office is mostly comprised of women, with 2-3 men in the mix. So it can be assumed that with the spirited conversations that take place, there is some equally colorful language from the men and women alike.
Usually, it’s not an issue for either party. Or it wasn’t until a couple of days ago.
We were talking about the plausibility of certain celebrities being gay. Somewhere in the middle of the conversation my boss, who is a woman, said “…but he sucked his d!ck.” Then someone else said it and then I said it. In the span of 40 seconds, at least three women had said the word d!ck. Finally, one of my male co-workers had had enough. He interrupted the whole conversation, face all twisted up: “Language, Language!”
Oh, that was interesting. Every cuss word under the sun has been uttered in this office at one point or another; but d!ck was a non-negotiable, huh? Apparently so. I didn’t take offense, in fact I strongly believe in avoiding words that offend others. I’ll just use them in front of people who don’t mind. Plus, how many times during the work day do you need to say d!ck?
It was surprising but the more I thought about it, I’d heard another man say something to that effect. Once my sister and I were having a private conversation and my father just so happened to overhear us use the word d!ck. Naturally, he was not having it. I could understand that. For him, hearing his little girls say that word probably elicited images he was certainly uncomfortable with. After all, that word, d!ck is almost only used in a sexual/demeaning context.
So maybe my coworker doesn’t want to think about us in that context, which was interesting. In fact, the whole concept of some words just being uncouth has always interested me. Back in sixth grade, I remember cussing in front of my lockermate/friend and in true sincerity, he told me that wasn’t very ladylike and subsequently not very attractive. *Clutches pearls* Well!
In retrospect, it’s amazing that a boy at 12 or 13 was so adamant and clear about his dislikes at such a profanity-filled time of uncertainty and insecurity.
I mean, I’m fully aware of double standards, I’m just always surprised when they’re so blatantly thrust in my face.
This whole incident made me ask myself, are there any words I can’t stand to hear men say? I definitely have a couple. As much as it dominates mainstream music, I can’t stand to hear the word bicth too much in a song or from the lips of a real life man in a real life context. But I don’t know if I would have gone out of my way to correct one of my male coworkers for using it. (Not that I minded him, feeling comfortable enough to “check” us.) I’d just resign to judge them silently.
What about you, ladies, has a man ever told you your language wasn’t very ladylike? Did you take offense to that warning or did you take his words to heart?