Photo: ThinkstockBy Corrie Pikul
The last time you dropped a can of stewed tomatoes on your foot, what did you yelp? We bet it wasn't "banana split!" or "lox!" or some other neutral word. A popular study that came out a few years ago confirmed what most of us instinctively know when it found that participants who swore while their hand was submerged in a bucket of ice water were able to endure the pain longer than if they didn't swear, or if they shouted nonnaughty words. However, new research suggests that cursing comes with complications, especially for certain women.
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A small yet interesting study of 34 middle-aged women (some with rheumatoid arthritis, some with breast cancer), published in the May issue of Health Psychology, found that the women who frequently swore in the company of others turned out to be women who were less likely to feel that people sympathized with them and felt their pain (and this had the power to make them feel even more depressed). "Would middle-aged men-or, for that matter, women of a younger, more swearing-prone generation-feel the same way?" asks Boing Boing. "There's a possibility that this study could have more to say about what middle-aged women expect from themselves, or who other people expect them to be."
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You know who doesn't care who other people expect her to be? Helen Mirren, who is one of the classiest cursers we've ever seen (watch her drop the f-bomb with aplomb). Dame Helen is a great example for those who are hesitant to harness the power of swear words when they need it most. Maybe if we were more accustomed to seeing and hearing women express themselves (uncensored!), we'd be less worried about what we shouted when we put our own hands in ice water...or on a molten steering wheel, or in the hinge of a door, or on a hot pan handle. In other words, if we got caught trying to ameliorate the ordinary pains of domestic life.
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