Read by Bhavini Ravel
People always think it’s so cool that I had fairy Godmothers at my christening, and for a while I did too, but really it’s turned out to be a pain in the abdomen. And if you’re wondering why I’m being so coy about using a certain three-letter word, you can blame my third fairy Godmother, Beata, and her double-edged blessing.
The first two Godmothers I have nothing against. Beneficia made me “fair of face and clear of eye,” so I’ve never had acne or needed glasses. Benevola gave me “fleet of foot and sharp of mind,” which meant I was one of those kids who was sporty as well as academic. But don’t hate me yet, because Beata made me “sweet of voice and sweet of tongue,” and that was the kicker: while I can sing like an angel, I can never, ever swear. Not a single curse word can pass my lips.
I know, I know, you can hear the world’s tiniest violin playing for the pretty, athletic, clever girl with the great voice, right? Oh boo hoo hoo, she can’t say f- f- fudge (see what I mean?). So what? Who gives a shoot? But you underestimate the centrality of swearing to human social interaction; its function as the glue of camaraderie, the marker of informality and friendship. Sure, nobody swears in the office. But at drinks afterward, who wants to talk to the prude with the stick up her abdomen who talks like she’s teaching primary school?
The disadvantages of my condition, as with so many curses of adult life, didn’t really manifest until my adolescence. Until the age of 13 I was a beautifully-behaved child, a credit to my folks. And then I discovered gangster rap. Being attracted to that which I could never express, naturally I became a huge fan. My concerned parents tried to buy me off with Justin Bieber and Hannah Montana, but it was no good; if I couldn’t be gritty, dirty and downright offensive, the next best thing was listening to that shizzle. (It also supplied me with a vaguely credible alternative to actual swearwords, even though the other kids laughed at a teenage white girl coming out with this stuff).
Ol’ Dirty Ba-a-achelor, Ni … Nickers With Attitude – old-school was how I rolled. I couldn’t get enough of them, and I thanked God that they were known by their initials, so my parents didn’t realise how deep into the forbidden domain of obscenity I had really gotten. But the sheer frustration of having to sing the radio edit of every Biggie track depressed me. I didn’t want to hurt Mom and Dad – I didn’t want to act out or get into drugs or skip school or rebel – but I thirsted, I yearned, I ached to be normal. And naughty words were a pivotal part of that. If only I could’ve been just the tiniest bit dirty, I would’ve been cool, I know it! But my blessed sweet tongue could not curse. What was a girl to do?
The summer I was seventeen, I met J-Dog. He was a bad boy – not too bad, but bad enough to be drawn to an apparently prissy, butter-wouldn’t-melt good girl like me. He was also an amateur rapper, and so of course I fell hopelessly, helplessly, caught-in-a-hurricane in love with him. He wasn’t real big on YouTube yet but he said it was just a matter of time – he needed a gimmick, a unique selling point, that was all – something that made him stand out from the crowd. Apparently, with every Midwestern white boy into rap these days, even being a Jewish red-head wasn’t enough.
J-Dog and me saw each other every day after school, I’d go round to his home studio (well, his Mom’s basement), he’d spit his latest rhymes and I would wonder, wide-eyed at the sheer number of rhymes for luck, snit, witch, mothertucker and slick that existed in the world. I couldn’t risk my protective parents finding out that I was dating the most dangerous guy in high school, so though we made out a lot, I never stayed the night. Instead, J-Dog, who told me he was a very audio person, suggested that we talk dirty to each other over Skype instead. Have, you know, phone-relations. And as you can imagine, this presented me with a big problem.
The first time … well, I’ve pretty much erased it from my memory. It was that bad. I tried to mumble so he couldn’t really hear what I was saying, hoping he might mistake all my “big hard stick” talk for the real thing, but he just asked me to speak up. Then I tried fuzzing up the line with interference, twisting the handset in the socket, turning on my digital radio in the background, but the broadband wifi was just too good. At last I lied that my Mom was knocking on the door, hung up and burst into tears. My blessing was a curse, my true love was gonna hate me, and my life, basically, was over.
And then one lonely, tearful, ice-cream-eating, cable-TV-watching night I saw the film Airplane! on a midnight repeat. It was so incredibly dirty, and yet not one single curse word was spoken in the entire ninety minutes. Innuendo – that was the secret weapon! I was inspired. Fudge it, I was cured! I picked up my iPhone and dialled J-Dog’s number. I’d been avoiding his calls for a fortnight out of sheer embarrassment, so I hoped he’d pick up.
“Mary?” he said sleepily, “You OK? You want something?”
“I’ll tell you what I want,” I purred breathily down the phone, “and that’s your big juicy Jewish sausage. I want it sizzling and spitting in my mouth for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve got this empty feeling inside baby, and only your kishka can fill me up.”
“Oh my God,” he croaked, “this is so hot!”
“Not as hot as my frying pan, baby,” I told him. “It’s all oiled and ready. You wanna put your sausage in, hmm?”
The rest, as they say, is history. J-Dog and me are still going steady, and his latest YouTube track, “Tunnel Vision,” a euphemistic ode to the beauty of a woman’s angina, has 300,000 hits and counting. I still can’t curse; but frankly, my dear, I don’t give a shizzle.