Social Censoring


The other day we were making a home video of our daughter and my husband kept dropping things and then cursing in the video. I pointed out on tape that he really needs to stop that, since our daughter is starting to imitate us and will be talking any day now. My mother watched the video and asked me a question: "Did your husband always curse so much or has it gotten worse since he's been in the Army?"

I met my husband when he was 19, and yes, he cursed a lot. But now he's 30, and I don't think his mouth has changed much. It didn't take me long to formulate an answer: The Army hasn't made it worse, but it certainly hasn't made it better. (It might've made it more humorous though; do civilians use metaphors about "soup sandwiches" and "football bats"?)

I imagine my own father might've cursed a bit when he was a young man. But once he graduated from college and got a job, social custom dictated that he grow up and start speaking like a polite member of society. My father can't stand around the water cooler and drop f-bombs, nor can he entertain new clients with stories that start with "no $#!&, there we were...."

But these things -- and far worse -- happen in the Army every day. My ears bleed sometimes when I hear my husband and his cohorts talking. Tank platoon in Iraq, three-man team in Afghanistan, these are not environments that foster polite speech! The Army has provided my husband with no social incentive to clean up his mouth. In fact, there has never been a time in his life when he's really had to learn to socially censor himself, which often leaves me wincing when he opens his mouth around my mother or other people's small children.

But now he has a daughter of his own and he needs to get it through his thick skull that he may be able to curse at work, but it has to finally stop at home.

I suppose the first f-bomb out of our baby's mouth might be the incentive he needs to clean up his act. Let's just pray it doesn't happen off-post...

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