***warning, long entry***
There was a time when corsets were worn in a fashion to constrict breathing, actually I think they were always worn like this, the breathing part. In this same time there was a certain modest gentility where women of fine breeding were demure and men were gentlemen, reserving all "manly" behavior and language for the billiard room. In these times of long ago, a man would never say a naughty word in front of a lady because the shock of it would send the oxygen depleted woman into a swoon preceded by a back-of-the-hand to forehead motion followed by, a gentle yet surprised high pitched sigh. Naturally, the gentlemen next to her would gallantly catch her while giving the offending cad a disapproving glare meant to warn of an impending meeting in the billiard room where chastisement made with some more naughty words might be safely encased while being expressed with great freedom and force. A few years earlier the gentleman would have challenged the offender to a duel but that usually ended up in more fainting spells, so as evolution goes, the tongue with its sharpness did the cutting, of course far from flammable ear hairs.
I think of myself as a lady, though I don't wear a corset, my control top nylons do a pretty good job of taking care of the oxygen depletion. (Tight jeans can have the same effect, especially the above the belly button styles worn in the 80's and 90's). Lately, I've observed that a man's billiard room has had some expanding renovations as well as open admissions for males, females, and of late, children, my children to be more precise.
I have trained them to say please and thank you. I have encouraged them not to hit, spit, kick, head butt, or other provoking things to each other. One thing I have not done with any degree of success is teach them to use good language. Granted, there is one word they might have learned from me, but the rest I'd have to attribute to their school friends and the bathroom stalls in public restrooms. Now, when I first heard something slip out I tried to act calmly and gently by saying "we don't say that word, it's not nice." Soon, they realized as they expressed more new vocabulary words that there were a lot of "not nice" words. Soon, I started calling them "naughty" and "dirty" words and began making threats of time outs and washing their mouths out with soap. At these moments I would think of Ralphie sucking on soap after saying the "f dash, dash, dash word"
"Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. My personal preference was for Lux, but I found Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor - heady, but with just a touch of mellow smoothness. Life Buoy, on the other hand..."
Well, that hasn't worked out all to well but they have stopped saying certain words in my presence and have taken them down to their "billiard room" a.k.a the basement. Because they forget that that door is open they don't realize that mommy is monitoring. To be the "responsible parent" that I'm trying to be, I make an angry stomping sound down the stairs while molding my face into its "I'm mad" contortion, in order to confront the bad words. Reed and Douglas, upon hearing the steps I'm making and realizing their impending doom, immediately start making all kinds of accusations putting blame for the word on the other, then backing them up with why they had to say such and such. "He made me!" is always mentioned somewhere in the verbal chaos.
"What? I didn't say anything!"
Luckily, I have not yet fainted, partly because I've started to abandon wearing nylons all together and also because some wonderful designer decided a lower cut waist line would be a good thing for jeans in this decade. Even with the comfortable pants I wore today, I almost passed out from a laugh induced lack of oxygen when Isaac kept saying the word "bum". I told him not to say it, and after remembering hearing his brother's defending their own naughty language he said in a very informative and somewhat condescending manner, comparable to the teacher teaching the ignorant student, "Bum is not a naughty word, it's a good naughty word!" Apparently there are good naughty words and bad naughty words and I'm just going to have to differentiate before I decide to act shocked and swoon.