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A Gentleman’s Guide to Not Swearing

  • Kempt Staff

George Carlin

If there’s one day of the year you should really feel obligated to clean up your act, it’s Mother’s Day.*

Which means a clean shave, tucking in your shirt and, by all means, absolutely no foul language. (A card wouldn’t be a bad idea either.) Yes, even if you’re just planning on spending a few heartfelt moments over the phone with your salty seafaring sailor of an old lady.

But chances are, you’re going to be seeing dear old mum, face-to-face, over brunch—possibly with an impressionable child or two within earshot of your every syllable. We understand it can sound like a tall order to keep it clean (especially when you’ve been waiting all spring to tell the family your Dennis Rodman story), but we’ve got you covered with this handy list of euphemisms and campy alternatives to your favorite four-letter words.

Presenting: a truly exhaustive list that should steer you clear of any run-ins with furrowed brows or mouthfuls of soap.»

When Did Menswear Get So Grouchy?

We’ve been getting some weird vibes from the menswear blogodome lately.

It’s a sudden antisocial feeling, an uptick in cold shoulders—and, more recently, a cotton pocket square that says “fuck off.” The days of polite, well-behaved pocket squares are gone now, possibly never to return.

We’re not taking it personally, but it’s hard not to notice: menswear’s gotten a lot grouchier in the last few months. Maybe it was inevitable, given the recent level of swagger in certain corners, but we can’t help thinking something’s gone terribly wrong...

Naturally, we’ve got a few ideas about what it means»

The Filthiest Song of 1937, by a Lot

While preparing last week’s report “In Defense of Cussing,” we stumbled upon a 1937 song by Lucille Bogan that contained the first swear word ever recorded. Judging from Ms. Bogan’s photo, we assumed her vernacular would have been similar to that used in, say, Gone with the Wind—which, in 1939, became the first major film to employ the word “damn.” We were fantastically wrong.

“I got nipples on my titties, big as the end of my thumb. I got somethin’ between my legs that’ll make a dead man come...”»

In Defense of Cussing

Last week, Arizona State Senator Lori Klein proposed a law that would make it a fireable offense for K-12 public school teachers to repeatedly swear in the classroom. “These are young, impressionable minds,” she explained. “We want to fill them with the highest ideals, values and education that we can.” Yes, we agree. (Who doesn’t?) The issue we respectfully take with Senator Klein, though, is that a distinction must be made between teachers swearing in front of students and teachers swearing at students.

If a second-grade teacher, say, channeled Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket by telling his students that they “had best unfuck themselves” or he would “fuck them up,” we’d assume he’d be dismissed.

Especially if he did so repeatedly...»