I’m not entirely sure how to explain what happened to me on Friday morning (12-3-04), or even why I feel compelled to comment on it, but I’ll do my best.
I was sitting at a table in a local coffee shop, checking e-mail and reading Greg Beale’s new book on the temple (I’ll review it at a later date). A few tables away from me were two female employees, one in her late thirties or early forties, the other a teenager. The older of the two began telling her tale of woe. She was lamenting the fact that she had discovered her teenage son smoking pot in the car of their driveway. She was furious that he had been so brazen and open about it, evidently caring little for his family or even the possibility of being caught. From this she turned to an angry reaction to his plummeting grade point average in school. As if that were not enough, she then related how she was dumping her boyfriend, twelve years her junior, because he was infringing on her freedom to live as she wanted.
I suppose I could have turned a deaf ear to what was being so loudly projected in my corner of the restaurant, but her story was being told with the help of virtually every four letter word imaginable. I may sound like a chauvinist in saying this, but here goes. It’s one thing to hear such language coming from a man. Often we write it off as the crudity of working in a depraved society where standards of decency and common courtesy have largely disappeared. Or perhaps it is simply masculine posturing, an attempt to project a macho image of the typical tough guy. But when such vile speech comes rushing from the lips of a woman, it strikes me as uniquely and profoundly offensive. No, I’m not suggesting that we are free to “write it off” simply because they are men. No, I’m not in the least sugge