Last week, I heard someone mutter a certain expletive. It’s not that I had heard it for the first time, but it was one of those whose meanings I never understood. After much coaxing and cajoling and telling him how laidback I was, he finally told me the meaning. And that got me thinking. Most of the expletives have two meanings to it, an inherent meaning, and a more often meant or "prachalit" meaning. Like, “screw you” didn’t really mean I wanted to screw you, it could rather mean you are the last person on planet Earth I would want to screw.
And this got me thinking about the number of expletives in any language. I wondered why 99% of the swear words I knew either alluded to either the whole or parts of the reproductive system, or to the act of having sex?
Fuck, screw, klpd, the different sub-families of swear words ending with ch**, b***, jh*****, the list is inexhaustible.
I would think the power of the reproductive system has been historically acknowledged and worshiped. Then why don’t we say “I care eyes/liver/throat about you” instead of “I care balls about you”? Why can’t brains rot instead of testicles rotting? How is the reproductive system any different from say, the olfactory system? Or is it because the lower we want to get (in terms of words), the lower in the anatomy we have to go?
What is this big deal about the reproductive system anyway? You are born, you breathe, eat, live, sleep, and just as normally you reproduce. Just like your heart pumps blood and aids in circulation, your sex organs help you in reproduction. Why then do matters of intelligence lie embedded in the brain, matters of emotion and affection stem from the heart, while all the filthy swear words you hear are concentrated in the reproductive system? Our fucked up imaginations needn’t really be fucked up all the time. For there are better ways to describe filth than alluding to the act of procreation and to the system where from we have sprung.