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OK, old timers, how many of you had your mouth washed out with soap?

  • Paper Roses (331 posts)
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    OK, old timers, how many of you had your mouth washed out with soap?

    Remember the days when you might have said ‘hell or damn’? As a kid in the 40’s and 50’s, I lead a very strict life. Obviously I picked up some great new words in school that I never heard at home.

    From Mom, once: reprimand , twice., wash out your mouth with soap. Third time, a whack on the seat of the pants.

    Fourth time…never!

    Now? I shiver at what I see and hear. Some lessons stay with us all our lives.


    Doremus Jessup, azmama, LiberalArkie like this

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15 replies
  • goodgirl (2184 posts)
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    1. I haven't but my grandmother did it to my nephew once.

    He was mortified.

    Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.    John F. Kennedy
  • NVBirdlady (3773 posts)
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    2. My parents threatened it but never followed through.

    President Trump. Thanks DNC, HRC, DWS. #StillSanders. #NoDAPL  #NoKXL Giant Meteor 2020
  • NV Wino (5136 posts)
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    3. I never swore as a kid.

    I made up for it as an adult. Shoulda been a sailor.

    Got spanked exactly once for talking back to my mother. Didn’t seem to damage me.

    Resist-sm_zpswfchkz8t “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.” Barbara Lee  
  • jdpriestly (5879 posts)
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    4. Count me in. I always loved the sounds of words.

    So when the neighbor children introduced me to all these delicious, emotive, resonant sounds, I picked them up right away and used them.  My parents, whose English was impeccably pure, were horrified.  I couldn’t resist the sounds of those words, so my parents grabbed me and . . . . I’m not sure whether the suds ever really got into my mouth, but I have carefully avoided “naughty” words ever since.

    My father could not afford to have a pretty little girl spewing profanities.  It could have cost him his job.

    So, overall, in my life, I must say that the fact that I don’t swear, that a questionable word never escapes from my mouth has been a big advantage.

    But I don’t believe in “naughty” or bad words.  It’s just ridiculous to have words that are you aren’t supposed to use.  And to have so many of them is uniquely English as far as I can tell.  It’s kind of a form of linguistic snobbery.  Because words are just words.  They have the meaning and content we lend to them when we speak them, when we hear them and when we read and write them.

    However, it is advantageous to use a vocabulary that does not offend others.  It smooths the way in many social situations.  So I’m very grateful that my parents were strict and washed my mouth out with soap.   They rarely if ever used physical punishment on us.  They never needed to.

    But if you are born poor but you learn the language of the well-off and middle class, it gives you a big advantage in life.

    Today, language doesn’t mark you in terms of your class or “breeding” quite so much as it did 50 or 60 years ago, but if those “naughty” words don’t occupy much space in your brain, you will probably be better off than if they do.  You can still say what you mean, but you don’t immediately ruin your chances with those who don’t like those words.

    My father used to say that violence and swear words are the resort of the unintelligent.  There is something to that in my opinion.

    No Truth!  No Trust!  Bernie or Bust!
  • Lord Thomas (1895 posts)
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    5. Many many Times.

    The Only Consistent Thing in Life is Change.

  • LiberalArkie (4100 posts)
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    6. No soap, but switch twice in 30 minutes.

    First time by our families maid when me and her son went to Selma in 1965, we were 17. Then when I drove home she had already called my parents and got it again. Only time in my life I was told to go and cut someone a switch.

  • LiberalElite (5568 posts)
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    7. My mother threatened to but didn't. Maybe she should

    have, because I curse like a sailor.

    I feel much better since I've given up hope
  • tularetom (2162 posts)
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    8. LOL my mom quit doing that after my sister threw up all over her

    She threatened us with it sometimes but we knew her heart wasn’t in it after that.

    I went home with a waitress the way I always do  How was I to know she was with the russians, too?
  • faultindicator (973 posts)
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    9. As a kid the sight of a bar of soap kept me away for days.

    So did the cod liver oil. By the time I was eight it was obvious that hanging around the house had way too much risk.

    A reasonable request: Reduce daily TV viewing time by 1/2 hour starting now. Ask others to do the same, follow through with them, break the media habit. FI - Simple and straight forward, just like this place, solutions without the bullshit.
  • Rocco (626 posts)
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    10. I must have been a bad kid.

    I got it frequently, as well as the daily beating. It could have been because I was the oldest, and was expected to “set an example” for the rest of the kids. When I asked who was supposed to set an example for me, it was a great big WHAM!
    If I said a “dirty” word, I would get my mouth washed out with soap. That Castile soap. The nasty brown stuff. It was horrible. But my parents used this language all the time. I was just trying to act more mature. Maybe I was also dumb as a kid, because I when I got a 99 on my tests in school, I was interrogated as to why I didn’t get 100. Every time. I was no good as a kid.

    Oh well. Such is life. I vowed not to have kids, because the only thing that I knew was what my parents did, and I didn’t want any kids to get treated like that.


  • so far from heaven (13157 posts)
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    11. Who me?

    You are, of course, mistaking me for some one else.

    I was a perfect child in every fucking way.

    "When you're in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, 'Damn, that was fun.'" -Groucho Marx.
  • GoodWitch (956 posts)
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    12. My parents were immigrants so they didn't know about soaping mouths

    We got hit with dad’s leather belt

    Make America THINK again
  • Pastiche (529 posts)
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    13. I was eight years old

    I repeated the skinny going around school, that Nancy Newcome like to look at boys’ wieners.

    I could not say the word wiener until I was almost fifty years old.


  • Pakhet (221 posts)
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    14. We didn't curse, but got our mouths washed out for 'back talk'

    I learned to like the taste of Dial

    Never be cruel, and never be cowardly, and if you are, always make amends. The Doctor
  • Lynetta (679 posts)
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    15. I had to have a friend tell me what they all meant in 6th grade. So no.

    The men said J C, and G D but not the other stuff.

    Family rule. “Swearing is a sign of a poor vocabulary,  intellectual laziness and a suspect work ethic.”

    I did eventually find myself in a far a away place that I found out that sometimes swearing was the only thing that applied so I am a reformed prude.