I used to have a rowing coach who loved admonishing my teammates and me whenever he heard us cursing with, “Profanity is the crutch of the ignorant man.” I used to take umbrage with this because then, and even now, I think swearing has its place in certain instances. I’ve written before on my thoughts about gentlemen, and today I want to take another dip in that pool.
A Gentleman ‘Swears for Humor
Some jokes are just funnier with a few curse words sprinkled in for effect. There are some great comedians performing who can kill without using any like Mike Birbiglia, Jim Gaffigan, etc. But just imagine Carlin, Murphy, Pryor, or Kinison without the foul mouths. The effect is lost. Profanity pushes the joke over the edge, allowing the humor to strike through.
A Gentleman Swears for Impact
Curse words possess a certain weight. They can elevate the intensity of a phrase or express the seriousness of a condition. When I was rowing, a good coxswain could always get me a little extra fired up during a race by adding a swear or two to his commands at the right time. Today, I get an additional push during Crossfit when someone gets in my face and drops a motivational F-bomb. Remember, too much profanity can drown your intentions, but just the right amount can add quite a boost.
A Gentleman Swears for Dramatic Effect
Let’s be honest, there are points in a man’s life that require a bit of showmanship. Those certain moments that demand some extra flair: bachelor parties, fishing trips, celebrating your new fatherhood with the guys. Sometimes these big events need an extra dash of panache.
A Gentleman Swears for Camaraderie
There is something special about a shared swear that can bring men together. Maybe it’s a dirty joke told amongst friends. Maybe it’s the first time a father swears in front of his son. Whatever it is, the right timing can grow the bonds between men.
It bears mentioning that there are indeed times when a gentleman should never swear. I would even argue that those times far outweigh the times when he should. A gentleman never swears to insult, attack or belittle another person, unless you just want to sounds like some meathead drunkenly shouting at the bar. A gentleman never swears to dehumanize or objectify another person. Every human being deserves our respect. A gentleman never swears for a lack of vocabulary. Substituting profanity for a more suitable adjective displays a certain level of ignorance.
Hey, I guess my old coach was right.