Recently Chump Lady got taken to task by a commentator on HuffPo for saying “fuck” too much. The person wrote to say that he himself says “fuck” on occasion but found my usage of the word “fuck” offensive. Another commentator said while she agreed with the message, she thought my potty mouth did my writing a disservice.
To which I say — Christ on a crutch, you mother fucking pansies with your delicate ears. Really? You find the eff word offensive when discussing infidelity? Huffington Post is crawling with trolls who post the most misanthropic, depraved shit — to wit, the man who told the mother of three, a betrayed wife of a deployed soldier that she was to blame for her husband’s cheating because she didn’t give him enough sex — THAT is not offensive? That raises no hackles? But writing the word “mindf*ck” with an asterisk is beyond the pale?
I know, getting in a huff about trolls is pointless, but taking offense at the word “fuck” does raise questions about the language we use to describe infidelity. So I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss my profanity with you.
My salty language is intentional. Before I started Chump Lady, I was writing about infidelity and giving advice on support forums while dropping eff bombs left and right. Not deliberately, but simply because nothing short of vulgarity felt remotely satisfying in describing my anger and sense of injustice. There were no words. And the closest words I could find were the darkest and the most shocking. I realized pretty early on that I was unable to write about the experience of infidelity without cursing.
Using euphemisms to describe cheating sanitizes the experience of betrayal, minimizes how willful and destructive it is. That is why my language is deliberate. You will not read affairs here described as “a mistake” (singular). I do not use the term “wayward,” I say “cheater.” I prefer “chump” over “betrayed spouse.” And yes, I say fuck a lot.
When you have been cheated on, you have been lied to, gaslighted, had your words used against you. You cannot truly cheat on someone unless you verbally abuse them as well — make them doubt their perceptions of reality, deceive them, humiliate them with language. If you don’t believe me, look at any comment at Stupid Shit Cheaters Say and how almost every example is a cheater turning the betrayal back on the victim — well you were so cold, that’s why I couldn’t divorce you. The problem here is your emotions. (Not what I have done.) I am not defined by my “relationships.”
Chumps need to take their language back. Call a spade a spade. Not feel compelled to speak in polite, hushed tones about what happened. Hell, it’s huge for chumps to speak of what happened at ALL! Many walk around with this shame, feeling responsible for the cheating (how could you not with all the feeble minded self-help gurus asking you what you did to contribute to the “environment” that “made” them cheat? Don’t you feel accountable?) So many chumps feel compelled to keep secrets, to maintain the image of their cheater — it is understandable that chumps speak in euphemisms, shielding others from the unpleasantness.
Chumps, it is okay to be ANGRY. To call a mindfuck a mindFUCK. To curse a blue streak if you want to. Unvarnished language is plain language. Everyone understands invective, it’s completely democratic. No one has to guess what you’re hinting at. Unlike cheaters who delight in obfuscation and word salad, who want you to believe that cheating is Very Complicated and you wouldn’t understand it because you’re not as clever or sophisticated (or as broken and wayward) as they are.
Oh fuck you, you fucking mindfucks.