So, Mark got me laughing—and thinking—with this quote from his daughter, age 7: "It was awesome, I tell you! There was a water creature that breathes out of its butt!” (Who knows what water creature she saw.)
I was thinking about how it would be a different quote at our house because my kids are not allowed to say butt.
And then I wondered, why aren’t they?
Because butt was a bad word at my house when I was growing up. Also bum. We said, very politely, “bottom.” Which is what my boys say. At least, around me. I’m beginning to think they probably don’t say that very effeminate but polite word around their dude-buddies. Even, maybe, I’m hoping they don’t.
But do I really want them saying BUTT????
Why not? Possibly, it is a perfectly well-accepted term in the real world. Possibly the only reason I think it’s crude is that I was taught so in my home of origin. How can I tell? Someone help me, here! Have I done my boys a disfavor? Certainly there are lines. We all know the word everyone uses for this body part on TV, and of course THAT is not acceptable. And I will be the first person to protest against the practice of teaching your kids silly words for their private parts. No, we have been very careful to call EVERYTHING by its correct name. Except, well, BUTTOCKS. (Is THAT the correct name? What is it, anatomy specialists?)
I’ve always been determined that my boys will be polite, behave like gentlemen. For example, I can’t stand seeing guys spit on the ground, and so my boys have been forbidden do that (where I can see, anyway!). Although I won’t be able to stop them from doing it when I’m not around, I am conscientiously creating a feeling of unease about it—they may turn out rude, but at least they’ll know they’re rude. But I begin to wonder whether I am doing them a disservice, curbing their masculinity or something because I have given them certain words and refused them certain others.
I’m having butt-paranoia!