Sunday, May 18, 2008
“Cunt” is a loaded word. In North American English, there is probably no more offensive word, with the possible exception of a few racist slurs. It is strictly feminine, and used only to degrade a woman in the worst possible verbal way. Having grown up in a feminist household, I was taught to never, ever use this word… even though I’ve heard my sisters use it to describe some of their female co-workers. If a man uses this word publicly in the USA, he runs the risk of a sexual harassment lawsuit and/or getting a slap.
In the rest of the English-speaking world, they throw “cunt” around much more freely (no pun intended). It can be feminine or masculine, an insult or a vulgar term of endearment, similar to the way we Americans use “bastard.”
i.e.: “He’s a funny old bastard/cunt.”
No matter the context, “cunt” still carries a bit of tastelessness. I don’t think anyone of any nationality would say it comfortably in front of their grandmother.
It has been 18 months since I left my homeland, and there are certain words and phrases I have added to my vocabulary due to cultural osmosis. I catch myself saying things like “no worries” and “sweet” in the surfer-influenced Pacific Rim manner. When you’re away from home for this long, it just happens. Somehow, though, I had avoided the casual use of the word “cunt.”
To the person who stole my American Express card in Thailand and went on a shopping spree… you, sir or madam, are a cunt.
And to the person who stole my daypack from my former hostel in Sydney which contained my passport, work visa, Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate, sunglasses, notepad, and (worst of all) my beloved Nalgene water bottle… you, sir or madam, are also a cunt.
And to the money-grubbing slumlord proprietor of the aforementioned hostel who didn’t see the need to equip his/her rooms with lockers or electrical outlets, or security cameras in the kitchen from whence my bag was stolen despite posters that would indicate the contrary… you are a cunt, too.
That is all.