My parents got divorced when I was in high school. It still affects me to this day as a middle aged adult, which is another post for another time. I moved out the minute I graduated high school. Or more accurately my dad got remarried and moved out on me a month before I graduated. So I've pretty much lived on my own with various levels of roommates since then. I had moments of short term renting a room for free from them during and after college, but very temporarily in an effort to save up money to go live abroad for awhile.
My dad and I had a very good relationship when I was that age for the most part. I lived with him after the divorce and he only got mad at me when I failed to call and check in with him past curfew, even though I was out with my older brother. This was when cell phones were emerging so we didn't have them yet, but there were home phones and pay phones galore that I could have used.
So back the title of the post. My dad did NOT teach me to cuss. In fact cussing was more likely considered a sin in my house growing up. However when your parents commit the mortal sin of divorce, well you can always keep that in your back pocket to throw that in their face when convenient. I got a job waiting tables my senior year of high school thanks to my brother. And that is where and when I really learned to cuss like a sailor. When no one shows up to work for a shift and 3 of you are left to wait on the whole restaurant, and it's slammed, and the kitchen manager is a bitch to you, well you learn how to cuss pretty quickly to manage through the stress. This was back in a time when they didn't not seat open tables just because people didn't show up for work. You just did the best you could and the manager rolled up his sleeves to help and we powered through it and made good money. F yeah!
Well I started slipping up around my dad during college and he thought it best to warn me that my potty mouth wasn't attractive and I'd have a hard time finding a husband. Joke was on him, because I married a kick ass man that loves me and my potty mouth. And he's a pretty f-ing hot good cusser too! I've slipped up enough around my daughter that I'm very self-aware that I'm the one likely teaching my her how to cuss. She's not learning it at school. For now she knows not to say that at school or teach her friends how to cuss. She has been open enough to tell me when she has overheard some of her friend's older brother's friends cuss and ask about it.
Then there was the time that my dad came by my apartment in or after college, and I was busy and it wasn't very picked up. But I went over to other people's places, they didn't come by my place. He awkwardly told me I was going to have a hard time finding a husband if I didn't learn how to keep things picked up. But the thing is I wasn't searching for a husband at that time in my life so I didn't really care. I knew when I was ready to settle down, I could pick up after myself so as not to scare the right man off. I think my dad thought I was a slob, but my place never smelled like my brother's stinky feet closet, so there was nothing dead or decaying underneath my mess. Thinking back, I'm not sure why he was preoccupied with my ability to get a husband. I was in no rush and not a drain on him any more than he'd signed up for.
Now on to tattoos. When my brother was a freshman in college he asked my dad about piercing his ear to which my dad responded that any and all financial support would be cut off if he did. Even though at the time he was going to school on loans that I guess my dad co-signed for but that was it. The debt was still my brother's. My brother liked to say shocking things for a reaction, not actually do them. So I learned that you don't run things past dad that you know he'll disapprove of. So I got a tattoo in a reasonably well hidden spot and kept it hidden pretty well until the one day when I accidentally exposed it and someone else saw it and ratted me out to him. He got pissed, and made some kind of comment referencing what he told my brother. I don't remember my exact response, but that's probably when I pulled out 'you got divorced and then moved out on me before I graduated high school, so if this is the worst thing I do or that happens to me, then you are f-ing lucky as a parent.' And we never spoke of it again. Because he witnessed the tragedy that became of one of my best friends. He watched the struggles some of his friends have been through with their kids. He's still an f-ing lucky parent in spite of my cussing, cleaning challenges, and tattoo, and he knows it.
Anyways I share this because 20 plus years later in hind sight they are funny memories to me and I know he was looking out for me and wanted the best for me at the time. But with each passing year of my young adult life, he gained new perspective that he wasn't expecting to gain. I know he's proud of the person I've become and thankful that me and my tattoo are still around to have more awkward conversations.
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