cunts, twats, pussies, assholes (this’ll bring the punters)
Scrolling through the things I call myself on a nightly basis, it occurred to me: wow are the really bad words ever different over here. I’ve picked up a few that I use at home. (Not in front of the children, for chrissake, at least not on purpose!) At first they drew me steely looks from my wife, and then verbal correction. But somehow I’ve now used them enough that I can get away with it, especially if they seem especially unpremeditated. We are I guess becoming a little bit, you know, British.
The two words that come round most often – and they are bad, misog. words so avert your eyes if you feel the stirrings of offense – are cunt and twat. Remember – I didn’t make these things up, nor did I invent anti-female-genitalic shittalking! So please don’t get mad at me!
The two mean almost the same thing, but not quite. I am not sure I am going to be able to describe it all that well. They’re not that far off from a certain usage of the word asshole at home. Cunt is more angry; twat is more dismissive. (I was about to do a demonstration employing everyone’s favorite popular “philosopher,” but IT is right – it’s time to buy him cake, not call him the platonic ideal of twatitude….)
But here’s the interesting thing. Americans have their own very bad words and they too are derived from the business-end of the female of the species. But if an American in America were to call someone either by the C word or the T word, it would probably sound either affectedly-anglophilic or Chelsea-gay or maybe just maybe greasy New Jersey.
I am not sure they know what either of these words mean out in Wisconsin.
But we have our own nasty word, another one that I’m not supposed to use at home, and it is pussy. And that word, when used properly, that is as a descriptor of a person, means only one thing: coward. Oh, or homosexual I suppose. This is suddenly quite interesting to me. I can’t think of a British vulgarity that is generally applied to cowardice, and the Brits don’t as a rule use the P-word since they have all these others that work just as well…. and, perhaps, cowardice isn’t the issue that it is at home. *
So we hate timidity and effeminacy. And they hate… what? I have the words, but I’m still not in a position to define…. Help me out.
* Asshole, in American parliance (and it’s really ours, as they’re never quite sure whether or not to convert it to arsehole, which we’ll all agree just don’t carry the same punch….) is an interesting one as well, as it generally carries at least a tiny bit of respect along with the disapprobation. They guy who cuts you off in traffic is an asshole. Wall Street types are as a rule assholes. Somebody who knocks you down a bit, especially if unjustly, is a bit of an asshole. Hmmmm…. Do most Americans aspire to be assholes? Does America as a whole?