Tactfully Yours…Or Not


My blogger friend, Gigi over at Gigi’s Ramblings, amazed me the other day when I read her newest post, “Irritants.” I mean she’s a wonderful, resonant writer on any day of the week, but when I read that post, I also thought about how tactfully she handled a subject I would have handled very differently. I’d have been baser. MUCH, MUCH BASER. Rude, crude and probably socially unacceptable, as well. And she was funny, y’all. If you haven’t already, please go over and give Gigi some love and read her post. You won’t regret it! She has an evil laugh, too!


Then today, I read another blogger friend’s post, who likes to stay under the radar, who also wrote about a delicate issue (gastrointestinal symptoms/gastric distress) in a very clever and tactful way. Neither of these bloggers resorted to using coarse language in their posts. Yet, they were both so clear and brilliant. And rip-snortingly funny about a couple of real life evils.

To both I say Bravo, Motherfu…okay, I won’t write that! I’m soooo tempted, though. (Okay, nine-year-old, ADHD self, ya gotta stop! You are so inappropriate sometimes!)

Anyway, I’m so impressed with Gigi and my other blogger friend and thought this was worth writing about.


As in Gigi’s case or anyone else who’s worked in corporate America, you’ve  probably had a gripe or two about your bosses, co-workers or clients. Then there are the “higher ups,” those aggravating souls who seem to know exactly how to make the lifeblood of their companies aka staff scream for mercy while they go play a round of golf. I know I’ve certainly dealt with this in the past and will probably, again, in the future.

Also, after reading many bloggers, I know there are a few of you out there who could live in pure luxury if you could sell your stories about the asinine incompetence, inefficiencies, backstabbing, ridiculous policies, protocols and people, etc., ad nauseum…that you endure on a daily basis at “the office.”


And usually when I come across these ventings/rants/entertaining posts, a few choice words — well-earned choice words, I might add – just go along with the territory.

These choice words are often referred to as: four-letter words, obscenities, profanity, vulgar language, expletives, curse words, cuss words, swear words…you get the idea. They’re some of my favorite things to utter and/or shout when the situation warrants, which is why I have a disclaimer on my About Page.


It’s not like I use these words every other sentence or anything. I know how to be tactful and not say certain things in front of certain people or in public or church…and stuff. My mother brought me up to know how to use manners and how to determine when and where to use best behavior and pleasantries…and stuff. She also brought me up to know which words were for adults only. The hard way. Mom and Dad used most of the four-letter words fairly liberally. Neither liked the “f” word though. They said “screw” instead because…that’s so much better? I dunno. It’s a preference, I guess.

So as an adult, I indulge when I feel the need to get some things out of my system when there just aren’t any better words for what I need to express. Which goes to the heart of this matter. That’s why these words were invented — to communicate intense emotions or intense physical pain or to emphasize something usually important. And sometimes, when used in just the right way, they can make us laugh.

Truth be told, I also indulged as a child — maybe not in front of my parents or other adults (I wasn’t completely nuts) — but how do you think I’ve become so adept at using colorful words? I’m now in my mid fifties and I’ve definitely put in my 10,000 hours. A very well-earned 10,000 hours plus.


I realize many people simply don’t like to use “blue language.” While I love reading Gigi’s posts, I don’t know her that well. Maybe she’s one of those people. And if this is the case, I just have one question — Why, Gigi? Why not use the choice words (of which there are so many) at your disposal? I mean, you don’t owe me or anyone else an explanation or anything. I get that. If you’re willing, though, I’d like to know because…I’m fascinated. Why would you choose not to use “adult” words to describe utter frustration on the job? I don’t think anyone would blame you if you did. And I’m not trying to corrupt you or anything either. I truly am just curious. Besides, I found how you wrote your blog post (without the use of any expletives) entertaining as…well…you know what.


On my end, I’ve had people chide me for my choice of words which always puts me on the defensive. I had one person in a writers group tell me after I read something that had the “f” word in it, “People who feel the need to use those kinds of words demonstrate a lack of expressing themselves in any other way.”


Who’s kidding who? Puh-leeze! Since I was a small child, I’ve always scored high (in the 97th to 99th percentile) on the reading and comprehension portion of aptitude tests. Does anyone really believe I have an impoverished vocabulary? I can and have said the same thing five different ways in one writing. Matter of fact, I’ve done that multiple times in multiple writings. Just ask the people in my writing group who groan and beg me to “tighten it up!”

When someone pulls out that old nugget as an excuse for their own poverty of “colorful” language or to try and shame me for my command of a broader usage of words, I usually find this person is not as clever or as original as they believe they are. I’ve found, generally speaking, when someone says this (there have been a few), they tend to just go along with whatever social constructs someone else has ingrained in them without ever having thought things through on their own, which, again, usually, makes them boring. That’s not to say that because someone chooses not to use profanity means that they’re automatically judgmental or boring. But for those who are, they can suck it.


Matter of fact, the last time someone said that to me, I wish I’d had a copy of “The Case for Cursing,” an article written by Kristin Wong of the NY Times, which was written back in 2017.  When I finally came across this article and read it, I found myself saying, “Yes, that’s it exactly! This explains exactly how I think about using obscenities and the like!”

With that said, I don’t like and won’t use the GD word. It’s not that I’ve never used it; it’s just that once I learned better, I’ve hopefully, done better. I’m just not into taking the Lord’s name in vain, y’all. Other than that, the sky’s the limit.


I do believe in respect and so I won’t use certain language in front of certain people — not because I can’t, but because I know they would feel disrespected (like my Dad) or it would just be socially inappropriate; but, again, I’ve thought it through and it’s a choice I make. Just like I’m probably not going to use “foul language” when I first meet someone or on a job interview, I also tend to not use certain words in public or in front of children.


Basically, I don’t use curse words except in certain situations which warrants their use. If I’m in front of children or people I don’t want to affront or corrupt, I’ll either bite my tongue — hard — or I’ll find a euphemism, which often isn’t the best word or way to express my feelings at that moment but will do in a pinch. When I do use colorful, bold, blunt words or expressions, they tend to help me cope. Or I use it for a point of emphasis. Let me tell ya, at this emphasized point in my life, I’m incredibly resilient.

And yes, I know that yoga is a “healthy,” physical way people deal with the stresses of life, but if you don’t think I haven’t said sonofabitch under my breath during a yoga class before…because yoga is stressful when you’re as out of shape as I am. So is every other kind of exercise. And hey, if you’re as asthmatic as I am, sometimes just trying to catch your breath is effing stressful. So my point is, use the right words or the wrong words or whatever it is that gets you through. Now breathe! Namaste.


BTW, my friend Gigi isn’t judgmental about the use of my words — I want to point that out. She reads my posts, after all, and always has something interesting, witty or kind to add to the dialogue. And I’m not judgmental about most people, and certainly not about Gigi. It’s because she’s as wonderful as she is that I feel comfortable in asking her my question, now that this has crossed my mind. I will admit, though, when people get judgy with me (as evidenced above), I tend to reciprocate. (Something to work on!) I’m just relaying some of what I go through with those who wish to censor the way in which I choose to express myself. But that’s not Gigi!


Anyway, as an adult, I sometimes wonder why other adults, who have so many gloriously sublime words available, won’t use those words that were invented and intended to provide relief or express a wide-range of emotions on an adult level.

I’d love to hear all of your thoughts and opinions about this. Also, if you indulge or even if you don’t, what’s your go-to word or expression when you need it?

If you’re a regular reader, you already know that mine’s —


Because it truly does provide relief, a release of stored up tension, when nothing else will do. You know what’s really funny? My Word program can read back to me what I write, but it can’t correctly pronounce my favorite expletive! Ha!

I love words. The good and the bad. The mispronounced and, especially, the ones that are close but don’t quite capture just the right sentiment. I even love the words left unsaid. Most of all, though, I love the naughty ones!



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Catchy, fun songs to sing along with!

Tactfully yours,





24 thoughts on “Tactfully Yours…Or Not”

  1. Very well-put! I vacillate between relishing the cursing and trying to embellish it creatively, on one hand, and undertaking the challenge to describe things – like said recent GI incident – without using it at all, on the other. It’s quite similar to not “writing how you talk” – something we Southerners are told all the time not to do, right? I know I can construct a proper paragraph, so I feel at full liberty to rip off a “I ain’ gon’ tell you again, aight?” now and then. I know I don’t need to curse, so I do. A lot. 🙂

  2. I hate it when others imply that because we indulge in “colorful” language we lack the vocabulary to speak in an eloquent manner. BULL-FUCKING-SHIT!! I choose to say what is say because it usually fits the moment, person and state of anger/rage. Not because I lack the vocabulary to express myself any other way. In public, my colorful vocab does come out….okay it comes out a lot. But at work, if you were to hear me speak one would wonder weather it was me or not. I give presentations, speak in front of my superiors, or converse with patients and support staff and not one, NOT ONE “F” word does arise from my crimson lips. But that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking it…lol. Hey I’m not perfect, but I know when and where to use my “colorfully profane” vernacular. Great post Mona, and vividly written….see what I did there? Used more of my “nice, smart language”…..🤣😝😂

  3. Your words are my words. With a snort of amusement/scorn, I recall hearing the hypocritical pervert Bill Cosby stating that any comedian who uses swear words would not be funny without them. However, given his recent behavior, I’d rather have heard him swear. At least then those women would have heard him coming. (PS I love Gigi too).

  4. Hey Barbara,
    Can you believe they released the SOB?!!!! At least he’s been outed for the predator he really is…I just wish that had happened decades ago.

    I’m with you, Gigi’s the best! M

  5. Oh, Mona – your kind words are making me blush!! Thank you.

    I promise you, I CAN (and sometimes, do) curse a blue streak – why it rarely comes out on the blog is beyond me – it just…doesn’t. I am certainly not censoring myself – it just usually comes out the way it does. I’m sure if someone went digging through the archives they could probably find an example or two.


    • Hey there, Gigi!
      So glad you cleared that up! Fascinating. Now I want to go digging through your archives. Ha! I absolutely loved your post. That one’s going to stick with me for a while. The overlord’s Mothership…priceless! Bunches of hugs to you, Mona

  6. Hi Mona
    In defense of my own liberal (over)use of your fave word-string, Timothy Jay, an emeritus professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts who has written extensively about profanity, says curse words can help you more accurately communicate your emotions, which contradicts the folk belief that people use profanity because they lack vocabulary skills. “This is the ‘poverty of vocabulary’ myth, that people swear because they lack the right words due to impoverished vocabulary,’’ Dr. Jay said. “Any language scholar knows otherwise.”

    • Hey Sherry,
      I know, right? With all the benefits of using profane language, why wouldn’t someone use it? If you get a chance to read Kristin Wong’s article highlighted above or you can click on https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/smarter-living/the-case-for-cursing.html
      I highly recommend it. The article goes into great detail about what you were saying! You have nothing to be defensive about, my friend, and I’m sorry if I made you feel that way…I love every curse word in your posts! Your posts are refreshing and they always make me think and I usually laugh and feel really good after I read them. Damn, you’re like the best that Advil, caffeine and a shot of tequila combined have to give with all of their benefits but without any of the bad side effects. I’ll read you on the flipside! Mona

  7. Once in a while someone will comment on my blog and ask, “Is it okay if I swear?” and my response is usually, “Hey, we’re all adults here, go nucking futz!” And then I feel guilty because somehow dodging the swear word comes across as dirtier than saying “fucking nutz”. And as the comedian David Mitchell pointed out, if everyone understands a euphemism then it’s not really a euphemism anymore. On the other hand I think euphemisms and swear word substitutes, in the proper context, can be really funny, but so can swear words.
    And, as another comedian, Buddy Hackett, pointed out, if you drop an anvil on your foot you’re not going to say, “Spring is here!” You’re going to say, “Holy shit, I broke my fucking foot.”
    I could go on and on about this because you crack my ass up and laughter inspires creativity, but I’ll just stop and say, damn, you nailed it with the sentiment that writing can and should use all words. Limiting ourselves, keeping certain words off limits, would be really shitty.

    • Hey Christopher,
      And WOW! Talk about being unleashed and gone wild! You’re hysterical! Nucking futz, indeed! The video was a nice touch. I needed that this morning; though, I can picture Buddy Hackett in my head and that was even funnier. Thanks! Also, I’m playing catch up because things have been…fucking nuts…so I’ll see you on your blog this afternoon or early evening. I’ve needed a healthy dose of your perspective for at least a full week now! Maybe two. Could even be three. Big hug, Mona

  8. So true! I find myself avoiding the cuss words on my blog – but I honestly have no idea if there are any in there or not. I try not to speak them either, but they do come out as if I were a sailor’s daughter (well, yeah, my dad was Navy) when I’m stressed or ticked off! Just a day or two ago, I let out an F-Bomb in front of my 8 year old & he was SHOCKED!! Mommy usually sticks with “Oh, Sugar!”, as my own mother did. I guess I just don’t want to put off any readers. Also, I’ve been told I’m unrecognizable between my daily interaction language, and my professional voice for VIPS & important phone calls HA!

  9. Hey Anonymous (Okay, I know who this is, but since you’re writing as Anonymous, we’ll go with that 😉 ),
    You brought up something very important. We are not just one-dimensional beings. Our personalities have different facets and sometimes we emphasize or downplay those different facets all depending on the situation, the people involved and the various dynamics between the people around us. BTW, I adore “Oh, Sugar!” That’s lovely. I might even try that out in some of my interactions just to see if I can pull it off (I’ll give you credit when I do.) Undoubtedly, someone in my inner circle will probably check my forehead to see if I have fever because I usually say something…saltier. Ha!

    As to your 8-year-old son saying “Oh, sugar?” If he does, get him on tape and play it back for him when he’s 18 after he knows and uses “all the adult words.” So glad you commented. This really added to this conversation/dialogue!

    BTW, just curious, if your tender-aged son dropped an F-bomb, how would you deal with it? Laugh, wash his mouth out with soap, explain gently why he shouldn’t say that, explain emphatically why he WILL NOT say that, ignore it, do/say something else? I do hope you come back and answer! Mona

  10. In real life I swear, but in blog life I revise what I write to use *softer* words. On the flip side I don’t care if commenters swear up a storm in my comments. Writing this here makes me wonder why I don’t full out swear on my blog, but something stops me. Of all my quirks this may be one that I don’t need to overthink.

    • Hey Ally,
      I’ve thought that maybe I swear too much in real life and on my blog. However, I once had a pastor who was a member of the writing group I belong to who vehemently opposed my using the word “crap” instead of the “s” word when I was reading. She told me, “Mona, just say shit. No one says crap. They say shit. I can’t stand it when people won’t say what they really mean!” Needless to say, everyone in our group was shocked to hear the pastor say what she said. She then proceeded to tell our group that someone came to their house and overheard her husband use a slew of swears when he’d dropped his plate with his sandwich on it and their dog got to it before him. Again she explained, “We’re just ordinary people just like everyone else in the world.” After that, I figured out two things. One, I’m probably going to hell for making the pastor say “shit.” Secondly, if I’m going to hell, why worry about using an expletive here and there. (but hopefully, I will be forgiven, fingers crossed!) Ha! Thanks for stopping in! Mona

  11. While I very rarely use rude/blue/vulgar language on my blog, I let it fly quite often in real life. Sometimes no other word will do than the one that begins with f and u. Of course my husband positively hates to hear that come out of my mouth, so I have to make sure he’s out of earshot. 😉

    • River,
      That’s amazing about your husband because he’s ex-military, isn’t he? My Dad’s the same way…hates! hearing anything like that coming from my mouth…maybe because I’m his daughter. Hey, we got into it and he started with the “gd’s,” so I threw one “f” out there, a very strategic “f,” and I won that argument. As if that really matters. Being able to do that though is a blessing and a curse. Anyway, Dad calls “vulgar language” military language. Says that when he was in the army, they used the “f word” every other word practically. Funny. Mona


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