I don’t really like to swear but sometimes I find myself possessed by a demon with Tourette’s causing a few choice words to exit my mouth. Usually the result of surging female hormonal activity or stress in the workplace, such moments even take ME by surprise. I knew it had to stop and the problem certainly improved, as soon as I chose a lexicon of alternative swear words.
The one I use most often is “farts”. The tube is delayed? “Farts.” A meeting’s cancelled? “Farts.” I jam my finger in the door “Smelly farts.” It may not be the most elegant of words, but it works for me.
I’m certainly not alone in using alternatives to the fruitier words of the English language. Tintin’s friend, Captain Haddock, survived his most annoying moments by shouting “blistering barnacles!”, so suitable for a man of the sea, and Raymond Briggs’s Father Christmas got around on his sleigh, saying “blooming this,” and “blooming that” rather a lot.
At work, a colleague exclaims “ooh, my sainted trousers,” or “big, fat pants,” when she is surprised or irked by something. If the problem is worse than usual, it may extend to “big, fat, smelly poo pants”. Graphic, maybe, but very effective without having to resort to any of those unseemly little four-letter words.
Alternatively, a rather well-bred friend prefers to swear in foreign tongues, so his expletives will generally involve “merde” or “scheisse” of some description whilst another pal quotes Father Ted’s “arsing tarts” and “arse biscuits”. Deee-licious.
Here are a few links to places where we can jazz up our daily usage of expletives in the English language without resorting to inane profanity:
Shakespearean Insult Generator
Blackadder Insult Generator
There’s also plenty of nostalgia to be had with the following:
From our American friends: cripes alive, tarnation, heaven’s to Betsy, jiminy cricket, darn, jeepers, Holy Cow, heck, fudge, shoot, Great Scott
From Ye Olde Blighty: crikey, balderdash, my word, heavens above, blimey, blooming (blimmin’) heck, blasted, piddle, poo, bugger, botheration, bollocks, frigging, feck
However, if this is all too much like hard work for you, perhaps you have a confirmed profanity problem. If that’s the case, watching South Park is always good for updating your profanity and insult lexicon and if you’d like to interact with like-mouthed individuals, there are on-line swearing groups to join. Meanwhile, I think I’ll just stick to saying “farts”.