Monday, April 17, 2006

What's Effing Wrong With Swearing In Romance Books?

You know, if there’s anything guaranteed to piss me off, it’s romance readers who get all hoity-toity about the use of profanity in romance books.

A reader at the
All About Romance Yahoo Group, recently wrote:

This obviously annoyed the hell out of me, so I had to throw my tuppence in. What? Did you really expect me to do any less? *g*

My reply to her comments were:

Now, I guess the question of how much swearing is too much, is totally subjective, but seriously, how many people have grown up without hearing the odd swear word here and there?

God knows, I don’t expect a girl who was brought up in a convent to use words like twat and cunt, but by the same token I certainly don’t expect an army ranger to substitute the good old F word for something as inane as ‘oh fudge’.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating the use of the F word in every other sentence, (seriously) because that would just be overkill, but for instance, in a situation where the hero, (in a romantic suspense) has just been shot in the arm by a perp who’s trying to kill him, I certainly wouldn’t’t expect him to say “ Oh dear, I’ve been shot”. Would you? Seriously?

I obviously don’t mind swear words in books at all, but they do have to be used in context, and they should gel with the character who’s using them. In other words I don’t expect to read about a little old lady screaming “Drop it mother-fucker!” at the top of her voice. I suspect that that wouldn’t really work.

Most of us are grown-ups, we know the score when it comes to swear words. Some of us swear like sailors, others only cuss in highly stressful situations, whilst there are some people who just wont use profanities at all.

Regardless of your own personal stance on this subject, I would assume that anybody reading romance books wouldn’t be so naïve as to think that swear words have no place in them. That just doesn’t make sense.

Are there really people out there who think it’s ok to use sexual words like cock and pussy, but get offended by the use of the F word?

The F word has been around since the 15th century, and I dare say it will be around as long as man-kind still has the propensity to get annoyed.

What say you?