There is a very subtle war going on in my family. And by family, I mean the glop which I call my husband and child, and my mother and sister. There are obviously other family members out there, but it only applies to these select folk, this war I'm talking about.
You see, there are PARTS of my family which like to pepper their language with a variety of interesting words. Some of which are made up. Some of which are used untraditionally. Like cuss words, for example. Although my mother will tell you, all holier-than-thou, that "Profanity is the effort of a feeble mind to express itself forcefully" while she's telling me to stop saying "fuck" so much, in the next sentence she will either say that or "Goddammit" herself. The husband, well, he rarely cusses. Occasionally, especially when he's talking about something moronic at work, or when he's drunk. But he always has a huge bit of guilt afterwards, as though he's let his judgment lapse. GOD FORBID. You know, the rest of us mere mortals lay in fear of being discovered to be... well... HUMAN.
And then there's my mother's interesting use of the words "faggot" and "queer". She will insist rather vehemently that the first definition of the word queer in the dictionary is "odd" or "unusual". Okay, so we can get away with saying something is queer, and have people by the context understand it to mean odd or unusual. Simpler minds out there may stumble on that, but whatever. And then there's faggot. When she says it, she means basically the same thing as queer, yet with a lot more oomph. It never ever ever means homosexual when said amongst us, it just means dorky but usually in an adorable kind of way. Like, when my husband comes home from work, takes off his work clothing, and dons a blue swimsuit, a t-shirt with some logo from his job printed on it, YET HE CONTINUES WEARING THE DARK DRESS SOCKS. He sits all casual-like on the couch, as though this is perfectly acceptable attire. THAT is faggot. Or, when a person wakes up after a bender, with the hair all caddywhompus, half mohawk, half rooster tail in the back, noticing when they put on their pajamas, they put the top on inside out, and the bottoms on backwards, and they are missing a sock. That is also faggot. Crooked ponytails on my child with flowered pants and a plaid shirt, and maybe a second shirt on top for good measure, all of her choosing, that's also faggot. And one time, my Mama said she thought someone was breaking into her house (turns out it was her brother, but didn't know it at the time). Instead of being all brave like she would like to think she'd be, with her kids there and everything, she got up on the couch and ran back and forth screaming. Now THAT IS FAGGOT. It's a term which needs to have a word for it, and preferably one that isn't "faggot", since that seems to incite some serious emotions in people, and not at all in the right direction. If you aren't in my mother's little circle of folk who know her and have come to understand the meaning of this word, you might take offense. So, there ought to be something else in its place, descriptive yet not so damn CONTROVERSIAL.
The husband, he doesn't particularly care for these two terms. No, let me be a little more clear on this point. HE FUCKING HATES IT. I get the "I'm SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU" look if I have ever said either word within earshot of Hootie. I might as well have said, "Fucking Asshole Piece of Shit Prick." And other choice words I probably would have to crawl in a hole from embarrassment if my inlaws ever read my blog. So I'll refrain. It could happen someday. We have agreed that we make every effort not to cuss in front of the child. I won't say I have never done it (BECAUSE I WOULD BE LYING LIKE A DOG ON A RUG) but I am pretty good to avoid fuck and shit and I modify things like damn into "dangit" or "doggoneit" or other schoolmarmy variety thereof. But I think back to my childhood, and I remember vividly that my actual mother cussed like a sailor, and my father rarely did, and I didn't until I was old enough to do so with permission. That's the way it was. You did what you were told, those were the rules, you didn't cuss around your family, but what you did amongst your friends, well, that was your perrogative. So Lord help all of my friends, because when I am away from my child, I have BUILT UP cussing which must come out, and it usually spews out like toothpaste under pressure.
So anyway, the war. My mother likes to say things to my husband like calling him faggot, just to get a rise out of him. And my husband likes to give the disapproving glare or the serious talk to either of us, if we happen to cuss around the child, especially. I'm caught in the middle. I can understand both points of view. Faggot just sometimes needs to be said, and yeah, it's probably not right to say it or other such things around Hootie, at such an impressionable age. What is a girl to do?