Don’t curse like a sailor. Curse like a lady. I’ve seen a lot of pictures on Facebook (mostly someecards-type memes) shared from a Facebook community called Intelligent, classy, well-educated women who say F*ck a lot. That page has, at the time of this writing, 424,690 likes, which says to me that 424,690 women like to think of themselves as intelligent, classy, well-educated cursers. Which has quite a ring to it, but it begs the question: what exactly does it mean to be classy and cussing at the same time? The image that comes to mind is of a woman in a gown and an up-do holding a cigarette holder and speaking with an anglo-esque accent that you can’t quite place but you just know she’s going to say “droll.” But considering that most of us don’t often wear gowns and smoke from cigarette holders (or say “droll”), what does classy cursing look like? It’s a balance that I suspect few among those 424,690 people have managed to strike. I’m not always the classiest motherfucker around, but I have some upscale qualities (I sing opera, I speak French, I occasionally drink wine that doesn’t come from a box). Let’s just say I “clean up nice.” And if I hadn’t thought to mention it yet, sometimes I use profanity.

So here are my thoughts on how to talk like a potty-mouth while remaining a prima donna.

1. No shouting.
A lady keeps her cool. (Yes, you can slap a man in the face with a satin-gloved hand, but only if you don’t bat an eyelash and only if he’s a cad.) Vulgarity is for adjectives, verbs, and the occasional noun. It’s not for exclamations or imperatives. If you’re upset, don’t yell “SHIT!!!!” Just say reflectively, “Oh. Shit.”
2. Don’t swear at people.
That’s rude and unkind. Classy cursing adds color, not insult, to conversation.
3. Swear in complete sentences.
Intelligent, well-educated people form complex verbal structures. This isn’t a reality TV show—you should be swearing at a 10th grade level at minimum.
4. Surround your four-letter words with longer ones.
I’m especially fond of anything French-tinged. Which sounds better: “Where’s the fucking bellboy with my suitcase?” or “Where’s the fucking concierge with my valise?”
5. Enunciate.
Don’t get all Foghorn Leghorn with your rootin’-tootin’ cock-suckin’ vulgarities. Finish your words. Vulgarity should be cock-suckING.
6. Know your audience.
A lot of what we think of as “classy” comes down to etiquette, which is all a matter of making people feel comfortable. If someone looks taken aback by your language, try to judge if they’re startled because it’s out of context (who would expect trash talk from such an intelligent, well-educated, classy bitch?) or because they’re offended. If it’s the latter, either tone it down or find someone else to talk to. The above advice applies strictly to using profanity while trying to maintain a typically “classy” image. Really, you can swear however you want to. Want a mouth like a metalhead? Rock the fuck on. Wanna talk like a townie in a dive sports bar? Go Red Sox, ya cunts. Want to not swear at all? Well you go ahead, gosh darn it! But I kind of like the image of the classy curser. I love comedy, and the reaction you can get from the unexpected combination is hilarious. I mean, it’s fucking droll. Pippi Parnasse is a poler, #PDBloggers member and writer in the Boston area. She has over 10 years of experience both in pole and in writing professionally.
February 27, 2020 — Jacqueline Lee