I see that a new report is out which says that in Britain women now swear more than men. Yes indeed; it seems that women say fuck, or forms thereof, 546 times for every million words spoken, while we chaps can manage only 540. Well done the ladies there!
But swearing generally has become more widespread, and less offensive. Only the other day I was in the kitchen with my eldest daughter (19) and she dropped a piece of toast and said ‘For fuck’s sake’. I just laughed. That expression is now so popular it has its own acronym in textspeak. I’ve always thought it was a funny expression. My favourite ever example of its use occurs in Magnus Mills’ novel The Restraint of Beasts. A team of fencers (not swordfighters; they build fences) run away leaving a job unfinished because it’s too hard and the boss is too scary. They then learn that their next job – in a completely different part of the country – is for the same scary boss. One of them greets this news with the despairing remark: ‘For fucking fuck’s fucking sake’.
My only worry is, if swearing becomes too widespread, will it cease to be funny?