Until 10 days ago, I swore like a drunken sailor in Kings Cross. I believed a sentence wasn’t properly constructed unless it had at least one F, S or C word, preferably one each. If there was ever a chance for a swearin’, I was on to it.
It’s partly being in the media. Anyone who has the misfortune of knowing any of us will tell you journalists are generally foul-mouthed pigs, especially lesbian news editors called Stacy.
It’s also partly because I come from Adelaide. Despite the whole posh accent thing, everyone from Adelaide is a bogan. Look at Lleyton Hewitt. Even Alexander Downer, who is probably the most famous Adelenglish speaker in the world, is a full-scale bogan deep down I bet.
Anyway, it’s 2006 and I’ve turned over a new, polite, non-swearing leaf. No longer will people overhear my potty mouth in the aisles at Marrickville Metro. Never again will I find myself swearing in a birth class or to my girlfriend’s mother.
My first slip happened on New Year’s Day, when I saw Channel 10 reporter Harry Potter on the scene of the Central Coast bushfires, and he was wearing a stupid fireman’s jacket. I’m only human.
It’s not been easy, and my friends aren’t helping at all. They seem to think it’s a stupid resolution, which will ruin my personality and, besides all that, it’s impossible to police anyway. Why don’t I, they helpfully suggest, just stop swearing around those people who care about such things?
Then there’s the pedantry. Everyone wants to know what I can and can’t say. Surely I can say bitch, they demand. And how will I live without dickhead? That was my favourite derogatory/ affectionate word until 31 December. And if I can say dickhead, then what about just dick? And what about cockhead?
Yes, it’s a minefield.
Some particularly tough moments: Returning to the daily scourge of the public transport system. Returning to my office and individually deleting 1,500 spam emails, 200 from faux-Westpac addresses alone. Every experience I’ve had in my car. Watching the new ABC ads.
On the first day of work my resolve crumbled, and I allowed myself to mutter swears under my breath (previously outlawed). By the second day I had returned dickhead to the acceptable box.
But it’s a challenge, and I’m going to face it. And to everyone else with an equally stupid NY resolution -“ good luck, dickheads!