What makes you blush?

No , not the romantic types, the cringing with embarrassment types.

The first time that happened to me, in a big way was when I first came to work here in the UK. I had a team full of people who used to use expletives like adjectives. They used to sprinkle it in their sentences the way we sprinkle herbs and spices in our cooking – liberally.

All kinds of colourful words would abound in their conversations.  One of my British colleagues used to find my reaction to it, extremely funny. He used to laugh out, and exclaim, ‘Look at Smitha, she can’t stop blushing in this place! We are scandalizing her way too much !’

Initially, I had the impression that it was only the younger folks who spoke that way, which was soon dispelled when I heard a director and a VP swear equally colourfully, in a conference call. In the two years that I spent in their company, I have to say that I did get used to it, at least got used to hearing it, if not using it.

I thought I was beyond getting shocked when I overheard a mother in Poohi’s school using colourful( and very inappropriate) language. That was a first, because I have never heard any of the mothers talking like that. I think most are extremely careful about what they say in front of a child, even if they do use swear words otherwise. The only other time I remember being shocked was when I saw a mother(this was in India), teaching her 2 yr old to say ‘Oh sh*t’ , totally oblivious to the fact that it is a profanity.

Over all, the impression I get is that a lot of people use swear words far more casually. I see status messages on Facebook, that makes me cringe. I wonder if they realize how it looks, or is it just me who is not very comfortable with swear words? Or is it generation gap come early 🙂

What is your take on it? How comfortable are you with swear words and the swearing culture?Do you cringe, ignore or just participate? Do tell.

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54 thoughts on “What makes you blush?

        • Smiths, I used to feel I am from some old zamaana too before when I saw ppl use them like they r any other words. Nw, hv got used to or atleast like to think I am 😛 😛 hearing them often… colouring what I say with them .. nt sure yet 😉 😉

          I know what you mean.. I totally get it 🙂

          • Smiths, this does not make proper sense I think 😛

            Nw, hv got used to or atleast like to think I am 😛 😛 hearing them often .. nt sure yet 😉 😉 Wonder hw nt sure yet went there 😛

            Yes, I got used to hearing them too – but still would prefer not to, if you know what I mean 🙂

            colouring what I say with them … I just cant do it – this is what I wanted to say. Uff all jumbled up 😉

            I understand – totally.

            And this is only with ppl I hv to tolerate .. may be someone from whom I hv to get some work done etc… Else, difficult to get along with them

            True.. Sometimes, it happens in gatherings, where you have no option but to grin and bear it.

            • I totally get what u mean … wish we always hd a choice 😉

              I know.. if wishes were horses… 🙂

      • I just ignore it most of the time. I guess our language is an important part our own personality and I’d not want to just go with the tide

        I would agree totally to that.. Language is an important part of our personality.

        I also came here to say that I liked your Review at BookRack

        Thank you so much 🙂

  1. Interesting post. 🙂
    Well, using profane language is a matter of choice.

    Absolutely. It is a matter of choice – just not my choice 🙂

    I have seen men at workplace using it more frequently but women are not to be left behind!
    May be they find it cool or funny.

    Probably..

    And using it in front of kids is a Big No-No. I have heard kids using foul words because they have heard their parents using it too.

    That is the worst actually. It is one thing using it, and another thing using it in front of kids.

    But it makes me cringe!

    You too 🙂 Same pinch 🙂

  2. Some people use swear words instead of commas and full stops..and it totally makes me uncomfortable like you said, makes me want to somehow vanish from the scene and I have no idea how to handle these situations but for the ones using them, its no big deal, they might not even know they are using some obscene words!!
    And a mother using it in front of the child……!!!?

    Same here! I don’t know how to handle it either. It makes me very uncomfortable.

    I don’t care if someone uses bad language everywhere, but if my daughter happens to be around, then I make sure that I avoid that person in the future – or alteast ensure that daughter does not come in contact with them..

  3. I agree with Sandhya on the frequent use of the colorful language we come across both in real life and even in print (in blogs).
    If it’s in a blog, I try my best to avoid the site in future. In real life, it actually annoys me. Embarrassment on hearing profanities being used like parts of speech, had gradually given way to anger & often an irritated look from me.

    Same here.. I don’t even bother with an irritated look- I just ignore it, but yes, I avoid when I can. Blogs as you say.

    But over the years as I’ve kind of grown used to hearing them,you’ll see me ignore such people when they tend to fail to realize what they just said. Though it is a tough situation at workplace, when your colleagues and even management has that kind of language.

    Yes, you would expect something differentat workplaces, wouldn’t you? But that place started off as a start up, so it had an extremely informal culture, which I think made the difference.

    A mother using it in front of kids is absolutely unacceptable. I am glad you try your level best to keep your daughter away from such colorful people and their language.

    Absolutely! I would not want my daughter exposed to all this!

    That’s a wonderful topic for a debate, something I myself wanted to write on, but somehow never did.

    🙂 Thanks CB!

  4. I don’t really care about the language people use as long as it’s not in front of my daughter…It doesn’t bother me…

    Whether a word is profanity depends on how others view it…There’ll always be words which offend some…

    As I see it, most people who use profanity don’t mean to hurt anybody – it’s just their way of expressing themselves…So, my advice to you is take it with a pinch of salt as long as someone is not trying to be nasty to you…

    I agree, I am sure nobody means to hurt or anything.. It is just that I am not too comfortable with people using a lot of profanity. I am quite sure that they do not mean to hurt – it is just their form of expression. I am not hurt, or upset with them – unless my daughter is around, in which case, I try and keep her away in the future.

  5. Smiths, I got a call sday saying he hd a missed call from my no. and when I declined, he started using all possible swear words!!! When I told him I wil call the Police, he sent abt a dozen messages saying he ws sorry; he hd dialled the wrong no. etc etc.. Nt sure if anybody cn be wrong while redialling a no. they hv a missed call from. I think some ppl enjoy using such words too, while there might be another class who dnt actually realize they r bad. May be its just like any other word for them.

    That is horrible..

    You know, some people use profanity, without even realising it – it is part of their personality. Some do it to be cool or get accepted into certain groups.. And some, I think use it to annoy.. I get more annoyed at people deliberately using profanity, for some reason.

  6. I am not a bad mother 😉 I don’t know from where pinky picked up the word “oh s**t Yaa” we both never use it and i don’t know where she heard that word.When she falls down or something slips from her hand she says that.I have been telling her not to say.

    Oh, kids pick up all sorts of things – we can only do so much. I am sure, she will slowly understand that it is not a good thing to say. There is only so much that we as parents can do 🙂 You are a wonderful mother! Hugs!

    I feel at home we should try not to use such words and outside we can’t help it.If the child is using it then we have to tell her that it is wrong.

    So true, Sari. That is really all that we can do as parents.

  7. When I initially came to Japan… I found the guys swearing left and right…. initially I was skeptical but then got used to it… 🙂 Kya karen… listen with one ear and leave out by the other…

    Yeah, that is all we can do.. You do get used to it, after a while.

  8. In life BC: Before Kids… i think I was a bit easy going with my language. A few profanity words thrown in situations of extreme annoyance or pain or extreme happiness were okay by me. A lot of it had to do being a group which had way more boys… and hence my ears were used to it. Having said that, there were a lot of words actually off my radar. I hated to hear them or say them. .. and friends around me understood that.
    However now, I am super careful. When V is around, I have managed to say “SH*t” a few times and i check myself right away. She is now asking questions.. hence, I am on alert mode. I think now if I hear bad language… I dont cringe.. but I am not comfortable with a kid in tow..sometimes I make it a point to ask the person to back off 😀

    Yeah, I can understand. Children pick up so much, don’t they? Forbidden words, even faster 🙂 And yes our priorities change after becoming a parent. I can ignore it, if I am alone but if my daughter is around, I would rather leave or somehow keep my daughter away from such language..

    • I agree to this situation too..the impact of group that you dwell in..makes a lot of difference..but even if you’re ears were used to hear profane words you would never like to hear some roadside Romeo saying all that while passing by you…so that’s the difference of attitude..

      True. Whether you are used to it or not, you could still not like it.

      In the group you know your friends are just using the slang and the other situation you know that it’s not normally said!

      So true.

  9. I never used or will never use swear words-for sure !

    I’ve never come across such a situation where people are using it like herbs 😉 [liked that analogy] so not able to comment on me reacting/blushing.

    Yes that was a first for me. I had worked in the US before, but the atmosphere was much more formal, here it was all shocking for me initially 🙂 But the folks were very sweet, so I was really fine, just shocked at the words 🙂

    If at all I’ve to take a hypothetical situation-Well,I think yes,I would feel a bit uncomfortable..it’s natural..I mean it’s not only swear words..it’s like eating/doing/hearing something you’ve never did..so you feel a uncomfortable with the stuff..for eg: someone who is not used to wearing a skirt..has never wore it..will feel awkward to even try one and show it to frens/relatives whatever ! getting me ?

    True. That makes a lot of sense..

    This was about natural reaction.About the values that we carry and the way we are brought up-it will never let us do any such thing which is not acceptable in society….

    True, very true.

    Moreover there are people,like you’ve mentioned,who are used to using the words and hence don’t blush or feel awkward..

    Yes, they are used to it, they are not using it to shock or annoy, it just comes naturally for them.

    Also,when these bad words are used by a person to eve-tease..women feel more awkward..we might not even hear the word properly or understand the meaning sometimes..but because we know it has been said with wrong..no…pathetic intention and is directed to us we feel assaulted..

    Absolutely! That is the pits. Then it takes on a whole different dimension. Then it is done to cause hurt or atleast irritate the other person.

    As far as my take is concerned regarding using swear words in front of kids..NO ! Leave alone swear words but even the so-very-easily-used SHIT word in front of them !Nah…not acceptable !

    I agree.

    Huh !! A post-like comment again 🙂 But I would like to do a post on the same lines..have some incidences to share..have it in my mind since long..but now that you’ve written this I’ve got a direction… 🙂

    I love comments like this 🙂 Comments like this mean, that my post means something to you 🙂 Which is always a huge compliment 🙂

    • Okay forgot to tell you that I have come two female friends who were cool to use swear words and they actually did with ease !

      Yes, some are very casual and comfortable with it.. I am not sure if it is because they are so used to it, that it does not shock anymore – prob is..

      I don’t know how !!! Courage ? Audacity ? Fun ? Was never able to define the feeling behind it ! Because all these reside in me too but still I can’t 🙂

      I agree.. I don’t know what makes the difference, why some people can and some can’t..

    • Of course your posts mean a lot and they always make sense 🙂 Provokes the thought process 🙂

      🙂 That is the sweetest thing you could have said to me 🙂 Hugs!!!!!

  10. My elder son is in the US for the past 14 years and I haven’t seen him using any ‘colourful’ word. But the younger one was using ‘sh..’ word, when he came back (he was abroad only for 4 years (!) and after seeing my shocked face every time I heard the word, he has stopped it!

    🙂 Your shocked face did the trick 🙂 Your elder son never uses them? Wow! That is so wonderful!

    I can never digest these things…too old, I am for these things!

    🙂 I think it has more to do with the attitude, isn’t it?

    The mother teaching the child…horrible! Does she think that she is making her child to blend with the present world?

    I don’t know. I was so shocked..

  11. Wow! wow! and I thought I was an oddity in this cool, kwel world 🙂 I’m glad…

    No no, see, there are plenty of us dinosaurs 🙂

    Seriously, why do they use it is beyond comprehension or I know maybe!! so close friends who actually use ‘the colourful language’ like herbs (love that smilie, Nu same pinch) get a piece of my mind and never again use it in front me… irritated, it’s not the red of blush, but the red of anger!!

    I don’t give them a piece of my mind, because, they have the right to use whatever words they want to.. Just that it makes me uncomfortable.

    I suppose it is to do with the cool thing or the in thing or some such other things people want to be in or to be noticed or recognised.. like somebody colours their hair a lemon green and struts in stripped underwear!! Instant popularity, infamous though

    Oh yes, that is there too.. Btw, interestingly coloured hair – you should see some of the colours here 🙂 Poohi wanted her hair pink one day, after seeing a pink haired lady 🙂

    Sad part, lot of kids using it these days, liberally, and wonder whether their parents have cotton in their ears!!

    I really don’t know.. In some cases, parents might not be aware, or don’t think much about it, you know..

    U know what, during my postgrad, we were given a dictionary of 4 letter words, (yup there is one such dictionary), asked to look at it, and know it but never to use it, I’ll never be able to bring myself to use anything more than stupid idiot or either…

    Yea, I can’t bring myself to use them either.

    Pity these kwel things, they know only some words starting with f or b, while yes I’m stocked with much more, but I have a power not to wield it liberally hee hee:))

    cool me, I say

    LOL! Yes, cool you!

  12. Hmm.. I am going to be different. I curse a lot and that too in 4 different languages(my fav being Hokkien). I never do it in front of the kids. I used to do it on my blog but have stopped,why I don’t know.

    🙂 4 languages!! Talented lady 🙂 And see, you never use it in front of kids – that shows, doesn’t it? I find it quite amazing that some people don’t even care that there are kids around, you know..

    Some of my earliest trolls were on my case abt using cuss words, because I have 4 kids…

    I don’t understand why trolls need to get so worked up – if cuss words annoy them, just stop reading..

    I am typing this on my phone,will go home and leave a longer comment

    Waiting to hear from you 🙂

    • hee….trust me, I at least enjoy all your posts :oops::mrgreen: and like Smitha said it matters a lot when you are careful not to use it in front of your kids.

      Like Saksh says, I enjoy all your posts too 🙂

  13. I grew up with 26 wild brothers, but am proud to say non of them used such words, at least not in front of me. (I still don’t know much of Malayalam Theri words) I had first hand experience with such colourful language in the corridors of IIT in Delhi. I used to be shocked to hear it coming out so frequently from people. Now am used to all such words and like many said I totally ignore it.

    I know! It is shocking initially!

    Btw SHIT has kinda become a normal word everywhere I go and am very very careful not to use it in front of Saman. But he has already asked why do people say Oh Shit?

    Oh dear! It is so difficult to shield a child from everything, isn’t it?

    Ewww at the mother teaching the child such things.
    I think she did not even realize that it was inappropriate..

    Ps: rushing off to check if I ever used and bad words in my short tenure as a comment spewing machine 😥
    🙂 Am quite sure that you have not 🙂

  14. Interesting, I have seen people being so careful around children.
    I have hard time controlling my self after the baby…especially when he strated talking, when I am driving and somebody makes a mistake i end up using it. So i have replacements….and trained myself to use them
    sh*t is ‘o! sugar’

    LOL!!! That is a good one 🙂

    What the heck! is a line replacement in my langguage which my son finds funny…”gadu gabdawo” means drive ur car. As i generally ended up using ‘what the heck’ when somebody is not driving forward when one is supposed to.

    LOL! I can so imagine that 🙂

    A small incident…which I find funny now due to how it ended. But my heart was racing when it happened as my son is just 5 yrs old.
    I do not have habit of using F word at all like some people I have seen. And one day my son come around and asks me “mom what’s the ‘F word’ ?” I was shocked.
    Me: “who said so?”
    Son: “John was telling in my class that his mom told him not to use ‘F word!”
    Me: “hmmmmmm….’F word’ is foolish, not telling anybody foolish”
    Son: “i see, that means ‘F word’ and ‘S word’ not allowed”
    Me: “what’s the ‘S word’?”
    Son: “Stupid!”
    Me: “o i see”
    a couple of dayas later….
    Son: “you know, mom! ‘F word’ is not ‘Foolish'”
    [Me: (to my self) ‘Here we go again….what? did he find out the real word? OMG!’}
    Me: “huh uh!”
    Son: “it is the FART! ”

    :)LOL! That was the best!!! I can imagine your state, wondering how he learnt the F word 🙂

  15. Okay so I didnt know any of the hindi cuss words when I was growing up. When I got married, Nk of course taught me all the words(from mc,bc to everything in between) and I returned the favour by teaching him the Hokkien swear words. Now to him,me using the hindi cuss words is the worst thing ever..But to me, it doesnt affect me because it doesnt sound as bad in fact some of the words, I am like how can that mean that because it has such a nice sound to it. Or it sounds like it could be someone’s name(Ohh I had read a really funny blog post on this, on quirkyindian), likewise when he uses the right Hokkien word, I cringe inwardly but to him, it doesnt even sound like a swear word.

    LOL 🙂 That is true, I guess, cuss words in languages we don’t know as well, may not seem as bad 🙂

    I dont like saying oh shit.I never used it. But its a common phrase among the desi people here.:)
    Okay I will end my novel.

    🙂 It is quite common among us desis. I have heard people use it all the time, without realising that it is a cuss word.

  16. OMG! You too? I cringe, I cringe big time, that has finally made the DH completely stop using them in my presence. I just never got the hang of dealing with them. the Hindi swearing gets to me more than the English somehow…..! makes me wonder if I am internally a racist! 😛

    🙂 Same pinh 🙂 All swearing gets to me, though 😦 Of course you are not a racist! I think we are more familiar with some languages, so the swearing in it, sounds worse.. Also, we have seen it being used in rather nasty contexts, esp in movies, so it puts a bad taste, I think…

  17. I rarely swear but swearing don’t make me cringe either, at least the light swearing. Different people simply have different ways of expressing themselves and I can deal with it.

    Yes, that is another way of looking at it, I guess.

    For me, I swear only under exceptional situations and hence, the effect is maximum, at least on the people who know me.

    Yes, that works too.. Especially when someone who does not swear , swears, it goes to show that they are really upset or angry.

  18. I love swear words! 😀

    LOL! You are cute, Pix 🙂

    And it takes a lot of swear words to make me cringe!! :mrgreen:

    I use them, though not at work or with casual friends.. though all my close friends know I use them! 😀

    I think it is fine as far as people use it in appropriate places, you know..

    Me and another friend – we had a book where we used to jot down new new words which we used to make up!! Such fun! 😀 😀
    And their usage was even better! 😛

    🙂 That is an idea 🙂
    I would be careful around my child of course! 😛
    But, I would make sure that I teach my kids the words with the right meaning rather than them learning it elsewhere – at the right age!!

    Well, that might be another perspective too.. And it might actually deter them from using it..

  19. Suresh Gopi has popularized the word Shit,that even kids are uttering it,with no faint idea of what it means..

    Really? I had no idea..

    I hardly use such words,though I may say it in my mind…

    Say it in your mind – that must be a stress buster of sorts 🙂

  20. I don’t see any male comments here yet. Surely men relate to this post more than women. In whatever little experience that I’ve had, not heard too many women use profanities and swear words. Just the usual ‘shit’ and ‘damn’. Not the real F bombs.

    I have heard women use plenty 🙂

    I use it a lot. Its part of my speech but only do so when I’m with friends n stuff. Not in front of family. Not in front of kids. And not in front of women (atleast try to!).

    That makes a difference, I would say.

    But the thing with these F bombs is that they re not really cursing. Its become part of speech now. It does not mean that i m actually cursing that thing or person. Its just added words just to make the sentence more colorful. Coz when I really have to curse someone, I use our good old desi ones!!! 😀

    lol! Good old desi ones are more effective 🙂

    • Okay(Smitha you are allowed to label me as a troll)
      So once I was at the park with some desi women and I said saala machar and there was a gasp. And those women told me in India, only the kaaam wali bais use such words. Internally, I was thinking if they heard me say mc,bc then all hell would break loose…

      • LOL!!! I can just imagine that woman’s expression!!!

        You know I find funny, men using expletives is totally acceptable – I have heard men use all this and more in regular conversation(In India!

  21. Love the theme, beautiful colours.. and I love to read the Poohi speaks section!

    Thank you so much Aathira 🙂 Have I told you, that I love your name?

    Do I curse?
    Yes, I do when I am really angry.

    How often do I get angry?
    Rarely, mostly like once a quarter!

    Wow! You get really angry just once a quarter 🙂 You are a saint 🙂

  22. I cringe! Badly! But on 2nd thoughts I have changed a lot now guess it has to do with getting used to it 😉

    I used to cringe a lot, but got used to it after my office gave me that shock treatment 🙂 But now, I still cannot stand it if people use it in front of kids..

  23. Oh, those colorful words !!! Being in sales for the last 7 years, I dont think there are any of those words left that I dont know ! 😀 😀 Personally, Im against using it and I dont use it at all. I use the ‘Shit’ word, but then again, I use it only when I speak to myself or when I mention about my goofy antics to someone ! 😀 😀

    🙂 Yes, I guess, our work environments do expose us to a lot of stuff.. But then we do not necessarily need to adopt it. As you said, despite being exposed to it, you still do not use swear words..

    I guess ones upbringing plays a big role in this. I have never heard my parents or my brother use it even once. and I never felt the urge to use one such word, though I am a very short tempered person 😉

    I agree. I am short tempered too, but abusing, is not done, in my books.

  24. Not at all, Smits..I’m not at all comfortable hearing such words. In fact I’m appalled to see these words being picked up by small children even. They use them liberally even without knowing their meaning and repercussions. And not just words..what about those small kids who dont even think twice before showing their finger at us to express their outrage? Where do they learn such actions from? It really worries me to think that soon Namnam will be exposed to such expressions. As a mother all we can do is ensure our children are guided enough to not get swayed in by such outrageous behaviors.

    I know Deeps! I find it appalling that little children use words like this and for some reason, their parents seem quite alright with it!

    I know, I worry about Poohi too – but I guess as far as we teach the kids the right things, it should be alright..

  25. Think I started hearing swear words in malayalam after I got married to one who uses it! (a shame I know!) nd only then did I notice that those are common in most mallu movies too! but like a typical male, even Hubby is of the opinion that it is the right of the male species only.. nd since I still have not got used to it, am happy to leave it there :).. as for the children, I keep telling them that those words are not right and I am not sure if the next generation will lose it or acquire newer words 🙂

    You know Asha, I do not know Malayalam swear words at all, and it all goes over my head 🙂 But it looks like it is quite common in the movies.. As for the children, I just wonder.. They might just acquire new ones that we are quite clueless about 🙂

  26. To each his own, I guess… whether to use or not to use..

    I agree with that.

    But I know ppl who use it with every other sentence just to increase their ‘cool’ quotient 🙄 it doesnt, it just sounds very lame 😛 they dont even realise it…

    Oh yes! People certainly do that!

    And using it in front of kids is seriously a no-no…

    I agree!
    A mom teaching her kid to say ‘oh shit’… 😯 now that deserves a reaction WTF!!

    🙂 That i can agree with too 🙂

  27. First i dont know what are these colorful words 😦 then i am using the shit word at times these days 😦

    Now you know, Kanagu 🙂

  28. oh smitha I use them too at times but i am more careful not to use it in front of Ojas or any other kid for that matter

    but recently I happen to visit a distant relative a mom and her 2 daughters (8 and 4) and a grandmom..they were from ghaziabad (UP) and shifted here so was paying them a courtesy visit and i was shocked to hear them talk…

    all hindi gaalis in the most inappropraite manner were being used most liberally all 4 women

    the youngest was calling the grandmom as buddhi and all ma**** behen*** and no seemed to mind

    Goodness! That is too much! But for some people, it is just a way of life, I think.. They don’t even consider it offensive..

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